Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Tuesday-Saint John the Forerunner
And today happens to be his birthday, too!
On Tuesdays Orthodox Christians commemorate St. John the Forerunner. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets, and was given the honor of baptizing our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.
So he links the Old Testament Church to the New Testament Church.
Here are the hymns to commemorate him:
Troparion: The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficiaent for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more venerable than the prophets, since thou wast granted to baptize in the running waters Him Whom they proclaimed. Wherefore, having contested for the truth, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in hades: that God hath appeared in the flesh, taking away the sin of the world and granting us great mercy.
Kontakion: O Prophet of God and Forerunner of grace, having obtained thy head from the earth as a most sacred rose, we ever receive healings; for again, as of old in the world, thou preachest repentance.
The thing that stands out to me while looking at the daily commemorations that we go through each week (and this is in addition to the "saint of the day" that cycles through on a yearly basis), is that these commemorations are a constant reminder of the COMMUNITY in which we find ourselves. More to come on that subject as the week progresses.
Why on earth, you ask, does he have angel wings in the icon? He was, after all a man of flesh and blood.
Yes, indeed. The angel wings are to portray that he lived "the angelic life" of extreme asceiticsm. Often this phrase is used to describe very great ascetics.