St. John the Baptist August 29th
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, c.1607, Source: WikiArt
St. John followed in the footsteps of the great prophets of the Old Testament, calling upon the people to repent and be ready for the coming Messiah. He baptised with water but spoke of the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). He pointed Jesus out as the promised Lamb of God (John 1:35-37) and baptised him (Matthew 3:13-17). He had a great following among the people but he always directed away from himself and lived an ascetic lifestyle. His life was centred on God and on his calling.
Herod, despite fearful of John’s popularity among the people, had John beheaded after an oath he made to Herodias at his birthday party (Matthew 14:1-12).
St. John’s cult is exceedingly ancient in both the East and West and he was particularly popular during the middle ages. St. John is believed to be buried in Samaria.
He is the Patron Saint of the Knights Hospitaller and is believed to protect pilgrims to and from the Holy Land.