August 29, 2015

The Forgotten Forerunner (Photios Kontoglou)

By Photios Kontoglou

Today as I write, August 29th, it is the commemoration of Saint John the Forerunner. Last night we chanted Vespers devoutly in a chapel, and there were only a few women and two or three men. This morning we chanted liturgy and again there were a few pilgrims. The shops were open, everyone worked as if it was not the feast of the greatest saint of our religion. In truth does the hymn say: "The memory of the just is celebrated with hymns of praise, but the Lord's testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner."

With eulogize and reverence did Orthodox Christians once celebrate the Forerunner, but now the testimony of the Lord suffices. This testimony will remain unto the ages, whether people celebrate him or not, whether he is remembered or forgotten. And the testimony is this: that Saint John the Forerunner is "the greatest man born of a woman," according to the words of Christ Himself. This is why our Church ordained for his icon to be next to the icon of Christ on the iconostasis of every Orthodox church....

Do we not have time to celebrate such a saint? But we do have time to celebrate and feast on food and drink like Herod, in a time when thousands of our brethren go hungry. It was during such a feast that the Forerunner was martyred, and we all know the story.

Source: Excerpt translated by John Sanidopoulos.