John the Baptist : biography

c. 6 BC - c. 30 AD

====Eastern Orthodox Church====

The Eastern Orthodox faithful believe that John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge between that period of revelation and the New Covenant. They also teach that, following his death, John descended into Hades and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming, so he was the Forerunner of Christ in death as he had been in life. According to Sacred Tradition, John the Baptist appears at the time of death to those who have not heard the Gospel of Christ, and preaches the Good News to them, that all may have the opportunity to be saved. Orthodox churches will often have an icon of St. John the Baptist in a place of honor on the iconostasis, and he is frequently mentioned during the Divine Services. Every Tuesday throughout the year is dedicated to his memory.

The Eastern Orthodox Church remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate feast days, listed here in order in which they occur during the church year (which begins on September 1):

  • September 23 — Conception of St. John the ForerunnerIn late antiquity this feast in some churches marked the beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year; see Archbishop Peter (L'Huiller) of New York and New Jersey, "", in: Newspaper of the Diocese of New York and New Jersey, Fall 1992.
  • January 7 — The Synaxis of St. John the Forerunner. This is his main feast day, immediately after Theophany on January 6 (January 7 also commemorates the transfer of the relic of the right hand of John the Baptist from Antioch to Constantinople in 956)
  • February 24 — First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
  • May 25 — Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
  • June 24 — Nativity of St. John the Forerunner
  • August 29 — The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner

In addition to the above, September 5 is the commemoration of Zechariah and Elisabeth, St. John's parents. The Russian Orthodox Church observes October 12 as the Transfer of the Right Hand of the Forerunner from Malta to Gatchina (1799).

Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church commemorates St. John the Baptist on two feast days:

  • June 24 – Nativity of St. John the Baptist
  • August 29 – Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Some Catholics have held to a belief that John the Baptist never sinned, though this has never been a point of doctrine and is not binding in belief upon any adherent as is the sinlessness of Mary. In her Treatise of Prayer, Saint Catherine of Siena includes a brief altercation with the Devil regarding her fight due to Satan attempting to lure her with vanity and flattery. Speaking in the first person, Saint Catherine of Siena responds to the Devil with the following words:

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich mentioned in her mystical visions that Saint John the Baptist was pure, innocent and spotless from the womb of Saint Elizabeth and has never uttered a single lie in his earthy life.Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations, Vol. 1, p. 416. According to Emmerich's alleged visions received from Jesus Christ, Saint John the Baptist was the following:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that modern revelation confirms the biblical account of John and also makes known additional events in his ministry. According to this belief, John was "ordained by the angel of God" when he was eight days old "to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews" and to prepare a people for the Lord. Mormons also believe that "he was baptized while yet in his childhood."

The LDS Church teaches that John the Baptist appeared on the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania as a resurrected being to Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery on May 15, 1829, and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood.[D&C 13]; D&C 27:7–8Joseph Smith History 1:68–72 According to LDS doctrine, John's ministry has operated in three dispensations: he was the last of the prophets under the law of Moses; he was the first of the New Testament prophets; and he was sent to confer the Aaronic Priesthood in our day, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Mormons believe John's ministry was foretold by two prophets whose teachings are included in the Book of Mormon: Lehi and his son Nephi).

Living octopus

Living octopus

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