| or Call: 250-744-4357

Tweet Me!

St. John's Bio

John the Baptist was the precursor of Jesus Christ. A very well-known preacher, he urged the people to get ready for the coming of Christ. He asked people to repent for their sins and baptized those who repented in preparation for the Lord to come.


According to the Gospel of Luke, the birth of John was prophesied to his father Zachariah, by the angel Gabriel, while the former was performing his functions as a priest, in the temple of Jerusalem (Luke 1:1-23). Since Zachariah was a priest of the course of Abijah and his wife Elizabeth was one of the daughters of Aaron, John became a descendant of Aaron from both his paternal and maternal side. The Gospel recounts that the Theotokos came to inform Elizabeth about her pregnancy. At that time, Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy and her unborn baby 'jumped for joy' in the womb only. It was during her visit to Elizabeth that Mary was first called the Mother of God (Luke 1:43).   Ministry It is said that, at the age of thirty, John started to preach on the banks of the river Jordan. He preached against the evils of the time and attracted men to penance and baptism. His only message to people was to repent, as the Lord was coming. He baptized many people and, thus, was named John the Baptist. According to the Holy Scriptures, Christ also turned to John to attain baptism.The incident took place when John the Baptist's ministry was at its close. John instantly recognized the Lord and proclaimed Him to be the Messiah. John baptized Jesus, marking the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In turn, John inspired his followers to follow Christ.   Death After the baptism, Jesus is believed to have left to preach in Galilee, while John continued preaching in the Jordan valley. John's growing popularity and immense power created fright and fear in the minds of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Perea and Galilee. Following John's denunciation of his adulterous and incestuous wife Herodias, who was also the wife of his half brother Philip (Herod II), Antipas had him arrested and imprisoned at Machaerus Fortress, on the Dead Sea. On the other hand, Salome, the daughter of Herodias, impressed Antipas with a dance performance. Delighted by the girl's act, he vowed to grant her any wish. Salome, at the instigation of her mother, demanded the head of John the Baptist.    Prophecies Of John's Role According to the Old Testament,John the Baptist was ordained by God to be a forerunner or precursor to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. All the four canonical Gospels also address his role. The need for a forerunner to the Messiah was not exceptional. However, Christians were expecting Elijah, a well-known prophet at the time, to come rather than John the Baptist. As a result, the disciples refused to accept John, only to understand later that Elijah had come through John only, but in a spiritual or allegorical sense.   St. John & Christian Traditions According to eastern tradition, St. John was the last prophet who was acting as a bridge between the period of revelation and the New Covenant. It is also said that after death, he descended into Hades but kept on preaching about the coming of Jesus the Messiah. As per the Sacred Tradition, John the Baptist emerged at the time of death of people, who have not heard the Gospel of Christ to give them the good news about Christ's arrival.   Honors Most of the Eastern churches have an icon of St. John the Baptist on the iconostasis. His name is also mentioned during the Divine Services. All the Tuesdays of the year are dedicated to the memory of St. John the Baptist. Some Mediterranean countries also dedicate the summer solstice to St. John. The ritual performed in the solstice is analogous to midsummer celebrations on the Anglo-Saxon world, inspired in the Celtic festivity of Samhain. John the Baptist is also one of the saints, most frequently seen in the Christian art.

Feast Days
According to Luke, the Catholic calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas. However, there are six separate feast days that are dedicated to him. In chronological order, i.e. as per the church year, the feasts days fall on:

September 23 - Conception of St. John the Forerunner
January 7 - The Synaxis of St. John the Forerunner (It is the main feast day, immediately after Theophany, on January 6. The day also stands for 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 - Beheading of St. John the Forerunner (Note: June 24th and August 29th are celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church as the feast days of John the Baptist)

Some Icons of St. John the Baptist