The Orthodox Church has the custom to commemorate after the great feasts of the Lord the saints and prophets who contributed to each sacred event. On the feast day of the Synaxis of John the Baptist, we venerate the Holy Prophet John the Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, who baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by placing his hand on him and bore witness to the revelation of the Holy Trinity.
Our Lord Jesus Christ referred to him as the greatest of the prophets. He was related to Jesus through the Mother of God. His parents, Priest Zechariah and Righteous Elisabeth had him six months before the birth of Jesus. They conceived him after many years of barrenness. Archangel Gabriel came to his father at the temple to announce his forthcoming birth. Through multiple and fervent prayers, he was endowed with plentiful gifts of the Holy Spirit.
He began his public ministry at 30 years of age, after a long time spent in preparation in strict fasting and prayer. Locusts were his main food, and the bare land was his bed. He prepared the ground for Jesus' ministry by announcing to the people the imminent coming of the Messiah and His kingdom and calling on them to repent. For his ministry, the church hymns call him "a bright star outshining the light of all the other stars". His prophecy on the coming of Jesus is likened to the dawn of the day of grace.
Saint John the Baptist died as a martyr six months after the baptism of Christ, at the behest of King Herod's daughter Salome and on orders of the king. As we read in the biblical account, Salome had asked that Saint John's severed head be brought to her on a silver platter. He concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens the era of the New Testament.
St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco is one of the most venerated and loved Saints in the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as in other Orthodox Churches all around the world.
The new martyrs found themselves in circumstances that most people today could barely imagine. Yet people who keep their faith at their most terrible times and obey God's commandments receive His help.
We are preparing to celebrate the memory of a saint who showed us beyond all doubt that sainthood is still a worthy goal to pursue, even in our hectic times. His name is Saint John of Shanghai and San-Francisco.
The unprecedented historic phenomenon of holiness became the main result of the bloody twentieth century in Russia. It is difficult to find anything comparable to the feat of these people in the whole history of the world.
This week, we are preparing to celebrate the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene, a dedicated disciple of Jesus Christ, the first to witness the resurrection of Christ and sent by Him to proclaim the news to the world.
On the 8th of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates a very special feast — the day of Saint Peter and Fevronia. These two saints from the 13th century are considered the patron saints of family, love, and fidelity.
Saint Seraphim’s life was marked by various signs and wonders testifying to his election from very early in life. At the age of seven Prokhor Moshnin (the birth name of the saint) fell from a tall bell tower but God delivered him unharmed.