11 September 2020 (MIA)
Macedonian Orthodox Church Calendar
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist
Herod Antipas, son of the elder Herod, who was the slayer of the children of Bethlehem at the time of the birth of the Lord Jesus, was ruler of Galilee at the time when John the Baptist was preaching. This Herod was married to the daughter of Aretas, an Arabian prince. But Herod, an evil sprout of an evil root, put away his lawful wife and unlawfully took unto himself Herodias as his concubine, the wife of his brother Philip, who was still living. John the Baptist stood up against this lawlessness and strongly denounced Herod who then cast John into prison. At the time of a banquet in his court in Sebastia in Galilee Salome, the daughter of Herodias and Philip, danced before the guests. The drunken Herod was so taken by this dance that he promised Salome that he would give her whatever she asked of him, even though it be half of his kingdom. Being persuaded by her mother, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist. Herod gave the order and John was beheaded in prison and his head brought to him on a platter. John’s disciples took the body of their teacher by night and honourably buried it and Herodias pierced the tongue of John with a needle in many places and buried the head in an unclean place. What later happened to John the Baptist’s head can be read on February 24. However, God’s punishment quickly befell this group of evil doers. Prince Aretas, in order to cleanse his daughter’s honour, attacked Herod with his army and defeated him. The defeated Herod was sentenced by the Roman Caesar, Caligula, to exile at first to Gaul and later to Spain. As exiles, Herod and Herodias lived in poverty and humiliation until the earth opened up and swallowed them. Salome died an evil death on the Sikaris (Sula) river. The death of St. John occurred before the Pascha [Passover] but its celebration on August 29 was established because, on that day, a church which had been built over his grave in Sebastia by Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena was consecrated. In this church the relics of John’s disciples, Eliseus and Audius, were also placed.
John Gabriel Perboyre
One of eight children born to Pierre Perboyre and Marie Rigal. At age 16 he followed his brother Louis to the seminary, and entered the Congregation of the Mission of Saint Vincent on Christmas Day 1818. Ordained in Paris on September 23, 1825. Professor of theology. Seminary rector. Assistant director of novices. His brother died on a mission to China, and John Gabriel asked to replace him. In March 1835 he sailed for China, and began his mission in Macao in June 1836. A widespread persecution of Christians began in 1839, the same year England had attacked China. Father John Gabriel was denounced to the authorities by one of his catechumens, arrested, tried on September 16, 1839, tortured by hanging by his thumbs and flogging with bamboo rods, and condemned to death on September 11, 1840. Martyr. China’s first saint. He was born on January 6, 1802 at Le Puech, near Mongesty, Cahors diocese, southern France. He died September 11, 1840 at China; murdered by being lashed to a cross on a hill named the “red mountain”, then strangled with a rope. He was beatified on November 10, 1889 by Pope Leo XIII and canonised on June 2, 1996 by Pope John Paul II.