My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE FORERUNNER AND
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
O PROPHET and Forerunner of Christ God’s coming to us, all we
who with longing now extol thee are at a loss to honor thee
worthily. For thy mother’s barrenness and father’s long silence, by
thine all-renowned and hallowed birth, were both ended, and the
Incarnation of the Son of God is preached unto all the world.
Kontakion Hymn. Third Tone
SHE that once was barren doth today bring forth Christ’s Forerunner, John,
the culmination and the crown of all of the Prophets. For when he, in River
Jordan, laid his hand on Him Whom the Prophets preached aforetime, he
was revealed as God the Word’s forechosen Prophet, His mighty preacher,
and His Forerunner in grace.
He that was greater than all who are born of women, the Prophet who received God’s testimony than he surpassed all the Prophets, was born of the aged and barren Elizabeth [Luke 1:7] and filled all his kinsmen, and those that lived round about, with gladness and wonder. But even more wondrous was that which followed on the eighth day when he was circumcised, that is, the day on which a male child receives his name. Those present called him Zacharias, the name of his father. But the mother said, "Not so, but he shall be called John." Since the child’s father was unable to speak, he was asked, by means of a sign, to indicate the child’s name. He then asked for a tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And immediately Zachrias’ mouth was opened, his tongue was loosed from its silence of nine months, and filled with the Holy Spirit, he blessed God of Israel. Who had fulfilled the promise made to their fathers, and had visioned them were sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, and had sent to them the light of salvation. Zacharias prophesied concerning the child also, saying that he would be a Prophet of the Most High and Forerunner of Jesus Christ. John’s birth was carried throughout all Israel, coming to Herod’s ears. So, when he sent men to kill all the infants around Bethlehem, he sent men off to Zachrariahs’s family house in the hills to slay John also. But Elizabeth had the child in good time. The king was enraged at this and sent an executioner to the Temple to kill Zacharias (for it was then his turn to serve in the Temple again). Zacharias was killed between the court and the Temple, and his blood clotted and solidified on the paving slabs, and remained as an enduring witness against Herod. Elizabeth hid herself and the child in a cave in the wilderness, where she soon died. The young John remained in the wilderness alone, in the care of God and His Angels. The child John, who was filled with grace, grew and waxed among in the Spirit; and he was in the wilderness until the day of his showing to Israel [Luke 1:57-80]. His name is a variation of the Hebrew "Johanan," which means "Yah is gracious." [Source: The Great Horologion and The Prologue from Ochrid]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George