Beheading of St. John the Forerunner
The Orthodox Church commemorates the martyr’s death of the St. John, the Baptist of Christ, on September 11 known as the day of “Beheading of St. John the Forerunner.”
The day, albeit sorrowful, is one of the great feasts established by the Orthodox Church.
To pay honorable respects to the memory of the saint, known as a great faster and desert dweller, strict fasting was established on this day. The one-day fast should also remind us about the disastrous effects of addiction to wine and excess.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Holy Forerunner John that he is the greatest born of women and first among prophets.
As he baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan, Prophet John continued his ministry to the Lord calling people to repent. He openly denounced King Herod for having left his lawful wife, and cohabiting with Herodias, the wife of his brother.
Herod organized a banquet on his birthday where Salome danced before the guests that pleased the king. In gratitude, he swore to give her whatever she would ask. Upon the wicked advice of her mother, the dancer asked for a head of John the Baptist on a platter. But because of the guests and his careless oath, Herod gave orders to cut off the head of the holy prophet and to give it to Salome.
The lower side chapel of the Trinity Cathedral in the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery was dedicated to St. John the Baptist on the Third Finding of His Righteous Head. Therefore, all days commemorating the Forerunner of the Lord in Diveyevo are celebrated with special solemnity.
On the eve of the feast, Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan presided at the Vigil Service in the Trinity Cathedral. On the feast day, His Eminence celebrated an early-hour Divine Liturgy at the side chapel of St. John the Baptist.
At the end of the service, Hegumenia Sergiya (Konkova) thanked Met. Vikenty for presiding at the Divine Liturgy wishing him the intercession of the Mother of God and Venerable Seraphim in his archpastoral work and presented him with a prosphora bread and the icon of the “Vision of the Most Holy Mother of God to Venerable Seraphim near the spring.”
The head of the Tashkent Metropolitanate expressed his thanks to matushka hegumenia, clergy, and sisters of the monastery. Beforea delivering a homily, His Eminence read the address of Patriarch Kirill on the occasion of Sobriety Day. In his archpastoral address, Met. Vikenty used the example of St. John the Forerunner as a true disciple of Christ to explain how a gentle spirit and ability to turn the other cheek, spirit of forgiveness and generosity in our heart can help us reach the Kingdom of Heaven.