St John the Forerunner baptised Him whom the prophets preached

Today is the Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Forerunner, which fell yesterday.

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THE memory of the righteous man is with praises: but thou wast pleased with witness to the Lord, O Forerunner.

For truly thou wast destined to be more reverend than the Prophets, because thou wast accounted worthy to baptise him whom they preached.

Wherefore, having laboured for the truth, with joy didst thou preach to them that were in Hades the gospel of God made visible in the flesh, of him that taketh away the sin of the world and granteth unto us his great mercy.

Apolytikion on the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Forerunner (August 29)

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(Resp.—Glory to Thee, my Lord, for Thee—with joy Heaven and earth worship!)

MY thought bore me to Jordan,
and I saw a marvel when there was revealed
the glorious Bridegroom who to the Bride
shall bring freedom and holiness.

2.  I saw John filled with wonder,
and the multitudes standing about him,
and the glorious Bridegroom bowed down
to the Son of the barren that he might baptize Him.

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An icon of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

An icon of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

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3.  At the Word and the Voice my thought marvelled:
for lo! John was the Voice;
our Lord was manifested as the Word,
that what was hidden should become revealed.

4.  The Bride was espoused but knew not
who was the Bridegroom on whom she gazed:
the guests were assembled, the desert was filled,
and our Lord was hidden among them.

5.  Then the Bridegroom revealed Himself;
and to John at the voice He drew near:
and the Forerunner was moved and said of Him
“This is the Bridegroom Whom I proclaimed.” […]

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An icon of the Baptism of Christ (Theophany)

An icon of the Baptism of Christ (Theophany)

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48.  The heavenly ranks were silent as they stood,
and the Bridegroom went down into Jordan;
the Holy One was baptized and straightway went up,
and His Light shone forth on the world.

49.  The doors of the highest were opened above,
and the voice of the Father was heard,
“This is my Beloved in Whom I am well pleased.”
All ye peoples, come and worship Him.

50.  They that saw were amazed as they stood,
at the Spirit Who came down and bare witness to Him.
Praise to Thy Epiphany that gladdens all,
Thou in Whose revelation the worlds are lightened!

St Ephrem Syrus, “Fifteen Hymns for the Feast of the Epiphany”, Hymn XIV: Concerning our Lord and John. Source.

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