Saint John the Baptist, also known as Saint John theForerunner, was the son of the priest, Zechariah, and his wife, Elizabeth, the cousin of the Most Holy Mother of God. The Gospel according to Saint Luke tells of his miraculous conception from elderly and barren parents. The Gospels all point to him as the “voice crying out wilderness, prepare ye the way of theLord,” in the prophecy of Isaiah. They also tell of how the Lord Jesus came toSt. John to be baptised by his hand. This event revealed the Holy Trinity as the Holy Spirit came down “in the shape of a dove” to rest on Christ, and the voice of the Father was heard saying “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
The prophet was later imprisoned by the wicked king, Herod Antipas. John has rebuked the king for marrying Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip. Herodias demands his execution, but Herod, who "liked to listen" to John, is reluctant to do so because he fears him, knowing he isa "righteous and holy man" The Gospel accounts then describes how Herodias's unnamed daughter dances before Herod, who is pleased and offers her anything she asks for in return. When the girl asks her mother what she should request, she is told to demand the head of John the Baptist. Reluctantly, Herod orders the beheading of John, and his head is delivered to her, at her request, on a plate. John's disciples take the body away and bury it in a tomb.
The Hymns of the Church teach that, after his martyrdom, St.John also prepared the way of the Lord by preaching the Lord’s coming Resurrection to the dead in Hades.The Cross of Saint John is white on a red field, the white cross representing his holiness while the red represents the spilled blood of his martyrdom. Interestingly, this flag is also Russia’s version of the Cross of St. George.
Saint John is commemorated on September 7/20