Beheading: August 29th
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 Glorious Beheading of the Forerunner was a certain Divine dispensation, that the coming of the Saviour might also be preached to those in Hades. Let Herodias lament, then, that she demanded a wicked murder; for she loved not the Law of God, nor eternal life, but one false and fleeting.
Hymn: O Forerunner of the Saviour, you censured the king that he might not work lawlessness, through the games of a lawless woman, but Herod fell upon you and cut off your head. Because of this, your name is praised from the rising of the sun until its setting. As one having boldness before the Lord, entreat ceaselessly that our Souls be saved.
Hymn: John, who outran Your Birth and Your Passion, came through a sword to the lowest parts of the Earth as Prophet and Messenger of Your entrance also there, crying as voice of the Word, you dead, highly exalt the Giver of life, you blind, the Giver of light, you prisoners, the Deliverer Christ.
Saint John was the Forerunner of Christ on Earth, and he died before Him so he would be His forerunner in Hades too. The Beheading of Saint John occurred before the Crucifixion of Christ so Saint John could prepare all for the coming of Christ in Hades.