The memory of the righteous is celebrated with hymns of praise, /
but the Lord’s testimony is sufficient for you, O Forerunner. /
You were shown in truth to be the most honorable of the prophets, /
for you were deemed worthy to baptize in the streams of the Jordan Him whom they foretold. /
Therefore, having suffered for the truth with joy, /
you proclaimed to those in hell God who appeared in the flesh, /
who takes away the sin of the world, and grants us great mercy.
The prophet of God John openly denounced Herod for having left his lawful wife, the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas, and then instead cohabiting with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19-20). On his birthday, Herod made a feast for dignitaries, the elders and a thousand chief citizens. Salome, the daughter of Herod, danced before the guests and charmed Herod. In gratitude to the girl, he swore to give her whatever she would ask, up to half his kingdom.
The vile girl on the advice of her wicked mother Herodias asked that she be given the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod became apprehensive, for he feared the wrath of God for the murder of a prophet, whom earlier he had heeded. He also feared the people, who loved the holy Forerunner. But because of the guests and his careless oath, he gave orders to cut off the head of St John and to give it to Salome....