Orthodox Calendar 2018
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January 7
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January 20
33rd Week after Pentecost. Saturday after the Theophany. Tone 7.
No fast.

Cовершается служба, не отмеченная в Типиконе никаким знакомAfterfeast of the Theophany. Совершается служба со славословиемSynaxis of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John.

New Hieromartyrs Paphnutius (Kostin), hieromonk of Optina Monastery (1938) and Nicholas (Parfenov), bishop of Atkarsk (1939).

St. Brannock (Brynach) of Braunton, England (6th c.). St. Cedd, bishop of Lastingham (664). New Martyr Athanasius of Attalia and Smyrna (1700).

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year
According to the Daily Church Readings from the Word of God
By St. Theophan the Recluse

St. Theophan the Recluse

Thursday (Synaxis of the Forerunner). [Acts 19:1–8; John 1:29–34]

Saint John bore witness of Christ Jesus, that He is in truth the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), that He is the promised Deliverer, awaited by all. Those who were near him heard this and believed. From them this witness passed on to the people, and everyone began to think that he of whom John bore witness was not an ordinary man. The Saviour pointed this out when in the last days in the temple, he proposed to the heads of the temple a question: whence was the baptism of John, from heaven or of men (cf. Mark 11:29)? They refrained from answering, because it was impossible for them not to see that John came baptizing with water not of himself. But if they were to say this, they would immediately have to acknowledge John’s testimony that the Promised One was before them, and therefore be compelled to submit to His teaching. But they did not want to submit, not for any well-founded reasons, but solely because of their prejudice. But their obstinacy does not in the least lessen the power of the witness of St. John. To this day, it is as certain as it was when it came forth from his mouth. We hearken unto John who shows us the true Deliverer; and through this we enliven our faith, as a faith which has tangible proof behind it.

Saturday after Theophany. [Eph. 6:10–17; Matt. 4:1–11]

The Apostle clothes Christians in the whole armour of God. It is appropriate that this follows the previous lesson. For, if someone, heeding the call of God, has taken on the beginning of a new life through God’s grace, providing for his own part all diligence (II Pet. 1:5), then he must not expect to rest on his laurels, but rather to struggle. He has left the world—for that the world will begin to press him. He was saved from the power of the devil—the devil will chase after him and set snares before him, to throw him off the path of good and drag him back to his domain. He has denied himself, denied selfishness together with a whole horde of passions. But this sin living in us will not suddenly relinquish its free and untrammelled existence as we live in self-pleasure, and every minute it will attempt under various pretexts to establish once more the same life routine that so richly filled and fed it earlier. These are three enemies, each with innumerable hordes; but the commander-in-chief is the devil, whilst his closest helpers are the demons. They run the show in a sinful life—the opponents of a spiritual life. That is why the Apostle arms the Christian against them as if there were no other enemies at all. He says: we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). If they did not exist, perhaps battles would not exist either. Likewise, as soon as they are repelled and struck down, it takes nothing to repel and defeat the others. So each of you look to see where you need to direct your arrows, or at least look to see from which side you particularly need to defend yourself. Then, defend yourself! The Apostle prescribed several weapons; but all of them have power only through the Lord. That is why experienced spiritual fighters have passed on to us this instruction: “Strike the enemy with the name of the Lord Jesus!”


The Nativity of St. John the Forerunner and Baptist of Christ

Six months before his appearing to the most holy Virgin Mary in Nazareth, the great Gabriel, archangel of the Lord, appeared to Zacharias the High Priest in the Temple in Jerusalem. Before he revealed the miraculous conception by a virgin who had not known a man, the archangel revealed the wondrous conceiving by an old and barren woman.

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

St. John of Shanghai

Being born exactly half a year before Christ, John the Forerunner by the exact time of his birth depicted his mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He was born at the time of the year (June 24) when the day begins to grow shorter after the summer solstice, whereas the Nativity of Christ occurs (December 25) when the day begins to grow longer after the winter solstice. These facts are an embodiment of the words spoken later, by the Forerunner, after the beginning of Christ's preaching: He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).

Homily on the Feast of the Beheading of St John, the Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord

St. Justin Popovic

What is this? Could it be that this world has become a madhouse? People do not want God, they do not want the greatest Righteous One in the whole world. Whom do you want? Whom would you prefer? Whom would you set in Christ’s stead? With whom would you replace St. John the Baptist? With yourselves?! О moth! О, tiny mortal insects! Yes, when people become maddened by pride, when out of egotistical pride they lose their reason, they have no need of God, they have no need of God’s Truth. They declare themselves to be gods. They present their petty, shallow, false likeness of truth as the great and salvific Truth.

The Untold Story of the Head of St. John the Baptist

Priest Maxim Massalitin

Unfortunately, few of the faithful have recourse to the help of such a lamp of grace as the precious head of St. John the Baptist, “the first among martyrs in grace”.[2] Many Orthodox Christians come to France, but not all of them know how many holy relics there are still on French soil despite the outrages committed against them during the French Revolution and subsequent forgetfulness of France’s Christian past.

Nativity of St John the Forerunner

God has given us the greatest of prophets, to show us how we should prepare ourselves to greet the Lord. Like John, we are to continue to remind ourselves of the prophetic words which awakens our barren soul from the slumber of sin. Like John, we are called to direct our lives toward repentance by which we are drawn into the embrace of the Giver of Life.

The Beheading of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

Our Lord Himself said that St. John was the greatest prophet “among those born of women” (Luke 7, 28). Some hearing these words are surprised. They ask: Surely, Christ Himself is the greatest man born of women? However, Christ was not born of a woman (i.e. a married female), he was born of a Virgin. Therefore, in obedience to our Lords words, that St. John is the greatest born of women, the Church duly honors him.

The Life of St. John the Baptist

St. Sebastian Dabovich

This John was called by God to be the forerunner of his Divine Son, to usher Him into the world, and to prepare mankind by repentance to receive the Redeemer, whom the prophets had foretold at a distance through every age from the beginning of the world, never ceasing to instill in the people of God faith and hope in Him by whom alone they were to be saved.

Homily on the Feast of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist

St. Justin Popovic

Today is a little Great Friday, a second Great Friday. For today the greatest man among those born of women, John, the Holy Forerunner and Baptiser of the Lord, is murdered.

Nativity of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist, John

Holy Fathers in Praise of St. John the Baptist

And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment; behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

The Beheading of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John

The Beheading of the Prophet, Forerunner of the Lord, John the Baptist: The Evangelists Matthew (Mt.14:1-12) and Mark (Mark 6:14-29) provide accounts about the martyric end of John the Baptist in the year 32 after the Birth of Christ.

Commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Beheading of the Precious Forerunner

St. John Chrysostom

But not without a purpose doth the evangelist signify the time, but to make thee observe also the haughtiness of the tyrant, and his thoughtlessness, in that not at the beginning did he inform himself about Christ, but after a very long time. For such are they that are in places of power, and are encompassed with much pomp, they learn these things late, because they do not make much account of them.

Third Finding of the Honorable Head of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John occurred in about the year 850.

St. Brannock of Braunton

Saint Brannock lived in the sixth century, and tutored the children of the Welsh ruler Brychan.

St. Cedd of Lastingham

Saint Cedd was a missionary and bishop who spread the faith throughout England during the seventh century.