The Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist
Author: Mrs. Myriam Van Lerberghe-Thibaut
The Solemnity of Saint John (June, 24) is placed six months before Christmas (December, 24-25). The original office of Saint John was parallel to the one of Christmas, with its proper Mass at night, Mass at dawn and Mass at day. During the Middle Ages this parallel frame was reduced. Christmas only continues to have the three different forms.
Saint John the Baptist has no longer so important a place in the practice of faith as he used to have in the church of old and the Middle Ages. In those times Saint John the Baptist was one of the most important figures next to Jesus Christ. One can still see this at the iconostases in the orthodox churches: Christ is the principal icon, with at the right the Mother of God and at the left Saint John the Baptist.
Saint John is also a key figure between the Old and the New Testament: still standing in the world of the Old Testament, he is last and the greatest prophet who enjoyed the privilege not only to foretell Christ but to indicate Him as well. The absolutely unique position is also clear when looking to the place the Solemnity has in the liturgical year: the Solemnity of Saint John the Baptist, on June, 24 is as it were a summer-Christmas.
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