the Wonderful Forerunner

Beheaded John
There are so many feasts and fasts that protestants have forgotten… I think it really has to do with “meat” vs “milk.” It has to do with endurance, running the race, and bearing fruit. It goes to the matter of “now that I’m saved, how shall I live?” I was talking with a woman who told me that her boss is a “bornagainchristian,” yet he believes that since “Jesus died on the cross for my sins” he is now free to do and behave as he chooses–knowing that his sins are forgiven. How much more misguided can someone be? Might as well be mormon…

Besides the Theotokos, here is an example of faithful for us

The early Christians used to meet on the name-day of a saint, which in practice usually was the day of his death. These gatherings took place either around the tomb of the saint or in the church, which kept and preserved his holy relics, or in churches with great historical and theological significance. Such a gathering, called a feast-day or festival (Panegyris), commemorates the memory of the saint. The faithful participate in these feasts to listen to an encomiastic speech praising the deeds or the martyrdom of the venerated saint, and in general to derive spiritual profit… The Church Fathers and the canons of the Church accepted this type of gathering, which still takes place, but they strongly warn against the “commercialization of such festivals” (Speros Vryonis, Jr., “The Panegyris of the Byzantine Saint,” The Byzantine Saint, 1981).

The Orthodox Church gives a special place to the honor and veneration of the Virgin Mary the Mother of God, the Angels, and St. John the Baptist. Concerning the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God, suffice it to say that the Third Ecumenical Council in Ephesus (431 A.D.) officially adopted the term Theotokos in her honor. There is a period of fasting (the first 14 days of August) and numerous feasts and hymns dedicated to her. Her image is traditionally painted above the Sanctuary and called “more spacious than the heavens” (Platytera). The Virgin Mary, being the mother of God, earnestly intercedes for us, for she gave her flesh to Christ in all humility and obedience, so that the Word of God could become man.

St. John the Baptist, whose icon is found on the Iconostasis [the beautiful wall of icons separating the Nave from the Sanctuary] of all Orthodox churches, was the prophet who baptized Christ and prepared His coming on earth; yet he suffered martyrdom for his holiness and obedience to the will of God. The Church has five feasts in honor of St. John the Baptist.


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