May 25 The Third Finding of the Head of Forerunner and Baptist of Our Lord, John

Bulletin as of May 24 2024

The third discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John happened around the year 850. The head of St. John the Forerunner was first found on the Mount of Olives where it had been hidden by Joanna, wife of Chusa, after the saint’s beheading; and found the second time in the city of Emesia during a time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of St. John Chrysostom. It was transferred to Komana during the Saracen raids (about 820) and was hidden in the ground during a period of iconoclast persecution. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatius (847-857) saw in a vision the place where the head of St. 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. 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.


Like a heavenly treasure hidden in a field, Christ revealed your head to us, O prophet. Having gathered together at its discovery, we sing hymns to the Savior who delivers us by your prayers.


O heavenly light and divine pillar in the world, O lampstand of the sun, the lightbearer and divine head of the Forerunner was discovered and revealed to the whole world. It sanctifies those who in faith venerate it and who cry out: O most wise Baptizer of Christ, save all of us. 

Readings for the feast


2nd Corinthians 4: 6-15

Brothers and sisters: God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ. This treasure we possess in earthen vessels to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way possible, but we are not crushed; full of doubts, we never despair. We are persecuted but never abandoned; we are struck down but never destroyed. Continually we carry about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be revealed. While we live we are constantly being delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh. Death is at work in us, but life in you. We have the spirit of faith of which the scripture says, “Because I believed, I spoke out.” We believe and so we speak, knowing that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up along with Jesus and place both us and you in his presence. Indeed, everything is ordered to your benefit, so that the grace bestowed in abundance may bring greater glory to God because they who give thanks are many.


Matthew 11: 2-15

At that time when John, in prison, heard about the works Christ was performing, he sent a message by his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you ‘He who is to come’ or do we look for another?” And reply, Jesus said to them: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind recover their site, cripples walk, lepers are cured, the deaths here, dead men are raised to life, and the poor have the good news preached to them. Blest is the man who finds no stumbling block in me.”

As the messengers set off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out to the wasteland to see — a reed swaying in the wind? Tell me, what did you go out to see – someone luxuriously dressed? Remember, those who dress luxuriously are to be found in royal palaces. Why then did you go out — to see a prophet? A prophet indeed, and something more! It is about this man that the Scripture says, ‘I send my messenger ahead of you to prepare your way before you.’

I solemnly assure you, history has not known a man born of woman greater than John the baptizer. Yet the least born into the kingdom of God is greater than he. From John the baptizer‘s time until now the kingdom of God has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. All the prophets as well as the law spoke prophetically until John. If you are prepared to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who was certain to come. Heed carefully what you hear!”

Readings for the day


Romans 1: 7b-12

Brothers and sisters: Grace and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because your faith is heralded throughout the world. The God I worship in the spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son will bear witness that I constantly mention you in prayer, always pleading that somehow by God’s will I may at last find my way clear to visit you. For I long see and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–rather, what I wish is that we may be mutually encouraged by our common faith. 


Matthew 5: 42-48

The Lord said: “Give to the man who begs from you. Do not turn your back on the borrower. You have heard the commandment, ‘You shall love your countryman but hate your enemy.’ My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly Father, for his sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust. If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that? Do not tax collectors do as much? And if you greet your brothers only, what is so praiseworthy about that? Do not pagans do as much? In a word, you must be made perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications –

Friday, May 24 –

  • 8:00 PM