Third Finding of the Honorable Head of the Holy Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (ca. 850). . Hieromartyr Therapon, Bishop of Cyprus (14th c.). Hieromartyr Urban, Pope of Rome (230).
Third Finding of the Honorable Head of Saint John the Baptist
The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John occurred in about the year 850 (see the account of the First and Second Discoveries on February 24). The head of Saint John the Forerunner was found in the city of Emesia during a time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of Saint John Chrysostom (November 13).
It was transferred to Komana during the Saracen raids (about 820-820) and it was hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclastic persecution. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatius (847-857) saw in a vision the place where the head of Saint John the Forerunner was hidden. The patriarch communicated this to the emperor, who sent a delegation to Komana. There the head was found a third time around the year 850.
Afterwards the head was again transferred to Constantinople, and here on May 25 it was placed in a church at the court. Part of the head is on Mt. Athos. The Third Discovery of the Head of John the Baptist is commemorated on May 25.
Troparion for Midfeast of Pentecost, tone 8
In the middle of the Feast, O Savior, / Fill my thirsting soul with the waters of godliness, as You did cry to all: / If anyone thirst let him come to me and drink! / O Christ God, Fountain of our life, glory to You!
Troparion of the feast, tone 4
As a divine treasure hidden in the ground / Was your head revealed to us by Christ, O prophet and forerunner. / We have gathered in commemoration of this finding / With inspired hymns of praise to the Savior, / Who saves us from corruption through your prayers!
Kontakion of the feast, tone 4
By giving your venerable head to a sinful woman, / Herod broke the law of God. / But we behold it and cry out for joy, / And say to you, O forerunner: / Pray to the Lord that He may grant mercy to us all!
Kontakion for Midfeast of Pentecost, tone 4
Christ God, the Creator and Master of all / Cried to all in the midst of the Feast of the law: / Come and draw the water of immortality! / We fall before You and faithfully cry: / Grant us Your bounties, for You are the Fountain of our life!
Acts 12:1-11 (Epistle)
- Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church.
- Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
- And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
- So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
- Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.
- And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison.
- Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands.
- Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.”
- So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.
- When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
- And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”