“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.”
Synaxis: January 7th
Apolytikion: The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner; for thou hast proved to be truly even more Venerable than the Prophets, since thou was 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: The Jordan accepted Your presence in the flesh and reversed its course in fear. John, fulfilling the Spiritual ministry, fell back in awe. The ranks of Angels, seeing You in the flesh, Baptized in the River, were amazed, and all who were in darkness were filled with light, praising You Who appeared and enlightened all.
Megalynarion: With your hand you Baptised, O Baptiser, leading Israel through the sea, of all the Prophets you showed to be the highest, wherefore we praise your Divine Grace.
Doxastikon: O Forerunner and incarnate Lamp of the Saviour, the offspring of a barren woman, and friend of Him Who was born of a Virgin, who leaped for joy to worship Him as a babe in the womb, and who Baptized Him in the waters of the Jordan, entreat Him, we pray you, O Prophet, that we might escape from the coming storms of this life.
Poem about Saint John, by Fr Pavlos Papadopoulos: Behind the Prophet, see the Ascetic. Behind the Baptist, see the Virgin. Behind the Great, see the Humble. Behind the Saint, see John. Behind every Saint of the Church, there is a whole life of struggles, efforts, tears. There is hidden a life of Prayer and Asceticism, simplicity and obscurity. It is not that which we know of Saint John the Baptist and the Forerunner of Our Lord. It is that which we do not know about him that contributes to making him Great before men and Saints. It is all that Our Triune God knows of him. This fascinates me about Saint John… that he is an incredible wild flower that adorns the world, and that the world does not know…
Below is an Icon of Christ with his beloved Saint Zacharias and Saint Elizabeth with their son Saint John the Baptist, together with Saint Joachim and Saint Anna, and their daughter Panagia.