ByzCatholic, Feasts

Synaxis of John the Baptist

We celebrate the Synaxis of John on the day after Theophany (so January 7th).

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We have a lot of feast days for John the Baptist (also called John the Forerunner) in Byzantine Churches. First, we celebrate him for being the final prophet and for baptizing Christ. Then there are feasts for his conception, nativity, and beheading. Finally, there are feasts for the finding of his head the first two times, and then the finding of his head a third time! John the Forerunner is a model for the Desert Fathers, which makes him extra special for our Byzantine veneration.

We celebrate the feast of the Synaxis of John now, due to his role in Theophany. St. John the Forerunner baptized Jesus. This act brings the age of the Old Testament to a close, and marks the revelation of the Trinity.

Prayers for the Synaxis of John

Use these during your icon corner time! And at church if you can make it this day.

Troparion: (Tone 2)

The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise. But the testimony of the Lord is sufficient for thee, O Forerunner. Thou hast shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets. For thou were deemed worthy to baptize in the running waters Him whom they foretold. Therefore, having suffered for the truth with joy, thou didst rejoice to announce the good tidings even to those in Hades: that He who appeared in the flesh takes away the sin of the world and grants us great mercy.

Kontakion: (Tone 6)

The river Jordan, when accepting Your presence in the flesh, trembled and was driven back in fear. And John drew back in awe as he fulfilled the ministry of a prophet. The ranks of angels stood amazed, when they beheld You in the flesh being baptized in the streams. And all who were in darkness were filled with light, praising You who appeared and enlightened all.

Ways to Celebrate the Synaxis of John

If you haven’t got an icon of John the Baptist, now is the time to get one! Make John the Forerunner a part of your icon corner time.

Read Biblical passages related to John and Elijiah.

  • Matthew 3:1-17, 11:11, 17:11-13, Mark 1:1-45, Luke 1: 13-17, 1:57-66,  John 1:19-25, 10:41
  • Isaiah 40:3, Deuteronomy 18:15,1 Kings 17, 18, 19,  2 Kings 1: 10-12, 2:3-11

Celebrate the Synaxis of John by reading the Canticle of Zachariah, which is a part of morning prayer for Byzantine Catholics.

The Byzantine Life

If you enjoyed this week’s article, you might also be interested in reading about Theophany, the Nativity of John the Baptist, and The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.

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