With the Forerunner we sing: Blessed art thou, O Lord

HE will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Luke 1:17.

**

A BUSH unburnt by fire upon the mountain (Ex 3:1-6), a Chaldean furnace dropping with dew (Az 1:26-27), proclaim thee, O Bride of God: for unconsumed thou didst receive the immaterial fire divine in the material of thy womb; therefore, we sing praise to him who was born from thee: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

Ministering the baptism, O Forerunner, and publicly performing the mysteries before God given to thee, thou wast offered as a sacrifice, consecrated as an innocent lamb (Mt 14:3-12);* therefore, with one voice we sing with thee: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

* A similar phrase is used of John’s father Zechariah on his feast, September 5. He too was murdered: see Mt 23:35.

An icon of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

An icon of St John the Forerunner and Baptist

Having become a new Elijah (Mk 1:6; 4[2] Kgs 1:8; cf. Mal 4:5, Mk 9:13), with boldness O Forerunner didst thou publicly rebuke even kings when they were lawless (Mt 14:1-12), shewing thy immaterial life, as thou art thrice-blessed: therefore we sing with thee, O Prophet: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

Thou who are more than the prophets (Mt 11:7-10), O Forerunner, and didst inherit as a gift the divine honour of the Apostles of Christ, thou who art the fulfilment of the Law (Mt 11:13; Rom 13:10) didst also appear plainly as the first fruits of new grace; wherefore with thee, thrice-blessed, we sing: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

Theotokion.

LET us all fittingly offer up hymns of praise in hymns with all devotion to the all-holy Lady, who received God: because she bore God the Only-begotten, who appeared to us men, to whom we faithful with one voice sing: Blessed art thou, O God of our Fathers.

**

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.

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.

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 the Syrian. Source.

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