Saint John the Baptist

Patron of: French Canada, Knights Hospitaller, Puerto Rico

Celebrated: 24. June



Full biography:

St. John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse, and practised rituals conferring strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this. John is regarded as a prophet in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith and Mandaeism. Most biblical historians agree that John baptised Jesus at "Bethany beyond the Jordan," by wading into the water with Jesus from the eastern bank. John anticipated a messianic figure who would be greater than himself, and, in the New Testament, Jesus is the one whose coming John foretold. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming. Some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John. In the Gospel accounts of John's death, Herod has John imprisoned for denouncing his marriage, and John is later executed by beheading. John condemned Herod for marrying Herodias the former wife of his brother Philip, in violation of Old Testament Law. Later her daughter, Salome dances before Herod, who offers her a faask for the head of John the Baptist, which is delivered to her on a plate. The beheading of St. John the Baptist is a standard theme in Christian art, in which John's head is often depicted on a platter. He is also depicted as an ascetic wearing camel hair, with a staff and scroll inscribed Ecce Agnus Dei, or bearing a book or dish with a lamb on it. In Orthodox icons, he often has angel's wings, since Mark 1:2 describes him as a messenger.


O God, who hast made this day to be honorable in our eyes by the commemoration of blessed John the Baptist, grant unto Thy people the grace of spiritual joy, and direct the minds of all Thy faithful into the way of everlasting salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen