The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist - Memorial
The Lord's Forerunner in life as in death
The Jordan, filled with fear at thy coming in the flesh, was driven back trembling, and John, fulfilling the ministry of the Spirit, drew back in awe. The ranks of angels stood amazed, beholding thee in the streams baptized in the flesh. And all those in darkness were filled with light, singing the praise of thee who art made manifest and givest light to all.
The memory of the just is praised, but thou art well please, O Forerunner, with the testimony of the Lord. For thou hast verily been shown forth as more honoured than the prophets since thou wast counted worthy to baptize in the stream him whom they foretold. Therefore, having mightily contended and suffered for the truth, with joy thou hast preached also to those in hell the good tidings of God made manifest in the flesh, who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1,29) and grants us great mercy.
The glorious martyrdom of the Forerunner has been a step in the work of salvation since even in the dwelling place of the dead he announced the coming of the Savior. Let Herodias now groan, she who is guilty of the impious murder, for it was neither love God’s law nor life eternal that she loved but the illusions of a moment.