On Monday, September 11, 2023, the commemoration of the beheading of the Holy Forerunner and Baptist John was held by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
On this day, the Church, drawing from the Gospels, remembers that John the Forerunner was “the greatest among those born of women”, in accordance with the word of the Lord (Luke 7:28), preaching a baptism of repentance in the wilderness of Judea and also baptized the Lord into the Jordan River, (Mark 1, 2-11).
This one scolded Herod because he lived with Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herod imprisoned him, but he was afraid to kill him because the crowd revered John. However, on one of the days, “he made a dinner for his birthday”, to which dinner he invited a magnate and a thousand princes. At this dinner, Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced and Herod liked her so much that he promised to give her up to half of his kingdom.
Salome took advice from her mother and asked for John’s head on a platter. Herod was sorry, but he did not want to deny her “because of his oaths and co-conspirators”. For this reason, he sent a speculator to the prison, who cut off the head of the Holy Forerunner, and brought it to the girl as a reward for her dance and the girl gave it to his mother (Mark 6, 17-26).
On this mourning holiday, the Patriarchate celebrated in the Holy Church of the Holy Forerunner in the Old City of Jerusalem, recently renovated by the Hegoumen and Master of Ceremonies Archimandrite Bartholomew with Great Vespers on Sunday evening and the Divine Liturgy in the morning. The Liturgy was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan Benedictos of the Diocesarea, with the co-celebration of the assistant Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem Archimandrite Polycarpos, the Archimandrites Claudius and Amfilochios, Meletios and other Priests. The chanting was delivered by the left Byzantine singer of the Church of the Resurrection Mr Angelos Giannopoulos as the service was attended by many faithful Orthodox Christians, locals, and pilgrims.
As for the Liturgy, Archimandrite Bartholomew offered a fasting treat to the Episcopal entourage and the congregation, as the memory of Saint John is honored through a strict fast.
On the commemoration of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist the Divine Liturgy was also celebrated a the place where this horrendous event took place, in Sebasteia of Samaria. The Liturgy was officiated by the Hegoumen of Jacob’s well, Archimandrite Ioustinos with the co-celebration of the Hegoumen of Rafeidia Archimandrite Leontios.
Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem