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Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John

I Century
The son of Zacharias and Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist (or the Forerunner) was related to Jesus whom he baptized and recognized as the Christ. John is said to have been born at Ain-Karim, southwest of Jerusalem, and nothing is known of his life until he began his public ministry as a preacher on the banks of the Jordan c. 27 BC. He dressed like an Old Testament prophet and is considered to have been the last of them and the first of the Apostles. He ate locust and honey; his preaching drew crowds, and he baptized many penitents. (Some modern scholars believe he was a member of a proto-monastic community at Qumran.) Andrew and possibly Peter, as well as the sons of Zebedee, were originally John's disciples. John criticized the marriage of Herod Antipas to his sister-in-law, Herodias, and Herod imprisoned him, probably at the Machærus Fortress on the Dead Sea. Herod beheaded him at the request of Herodias' daughter, whom Josephus identifies as Salome, after the king had promised the girl anything if she would dance for him. Herodias suggested the fulfillment of the promise. John was believed to have been buried at Sebaste in Samaria. Julian the Apostate desecrated the site and is said to have scattered the relics.

Karen Rae Keck

See also Theophany.

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