Sunday, August 15, 2010
The Exhortationist John the Baptist
St. John the Baptist is the father of Exhortationists. He is revered by Christians and Muslims as father of Ascetism and foremost of the witnesses to Christ.
The Beheading of John the Baptist
Mark 6:14-29 (New King James Version)
14. Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”
15. Others said, “It is Elijah.”
And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.”
16. But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!”
17. For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her.
18. Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
19. Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;
20. for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21. Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.
22. And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”
23. He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24. So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”
And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”
25. Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26. And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.
27. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison,
28. brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
29. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.
The Relic of John the Baptist
Article by M+G+R Foundation
On June 24th the Birth of John the Baptist is Celebrated and on February 24th the Discovery of the Head of St. John the Baptizer is Celebrated.
St. John, the forerunner of our Lord, was beheaded by King Herod at the instigation of his wife Herodias. Joanna, wife of Chuze, Herod's steward (Luke 8:3) recovered John's head and buried it with honor.
The relic was passed through private hands until it came to rest, by divine providence, in the care of Bishop Ouranios of Cappadocia (what is now central Turkey).
In the ninth century it was translated to Constantinople (what is now Istanbul, Turkey). The finding and veneration of this precious relic is a testimony to the importance of St. John, who is revered by Christians and Muslims as father of ascetics and foremost of the witnesses to Christ.
The images of the relics, kept amongst the richest treasures of the Muslim Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
Following we have transcribed what appears on the plaques next to the Relic's Case.
On the plaque by the relics found at the Treasury of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul - Turkey - can be read:
"The skull of St. John the Baptist was originally in the possession of the Byzantine and fell into Ottoman hands after the conquest. This relic was presented by Mehmed II (1451-81) to Mara Despena, daughter of the Serbean King.
Subsequently it became the property of Cezayioli Hasan Pasa and after his death brought to the palace around 1790."
"The (right) arm of St. John the Baptist and its case belonged to the Byzantine prior to the conquest. In 1484, Bayezed II (1481-1512) sent it as a gift to the knights of Rhodes. It was later discovered in Lefkose Castle in Cyprus and brought back to Istanbul in 1585"
The Muslims have greatly revered John the Baptist for centuries. Why? His greatest "contribution" was to announce and to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus Christ.