John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Overview
John the Baptist (c. 6 BC – c. AD 36) was an itinerant
Itinerant minister
Itinerant minister is a Christian evangelist who preaches the basic Christian redemption message while traveling around to different groups of people within a relatively short period of time...

 preacher
Preacher
Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

 and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 as a relative of Jesus
Desposyni
The term Desposyni refers to alleged blood relatives of Jesus. The term was coined by Sextus Julius Africanus, a writer of the early 3rd century. Some scholars argue that Jesus' relatives held positions of special honor in the Early Christian Church...

, who led a movement of baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 at the Jordan River. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes
Essenes
The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

, and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this.
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Encyclopedia
John the Baptist (c. 6 BC – c. AD 36) was an itinerant
Itinerant minister
Itinerant minister is a Christian evangelist who preaches the basic Christian redemption message while traveling around to different groups of people within a relatively short period of time...

 preacher
Preacher
Preacher is a term for someone who preaches sermons or gives homilies. A preacher is distinct from a theologian by focusing on the communication rather than the development of doctrine. Others see preaching and theology as being intertwined...

 and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 as a relative of Jesus
Desposyni
The term Desposyni refers to alleged blood relatives of Jesus. The term was coined by Sextus Julius Africanus, a writer of the early 3rd century. Some scholars argue that Jesus' relatives held positions of special honor in the Early Christian Church...

, who led a movement of baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 at the Jordan River. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes
Essenes
The Essenes were a Jewish sect that flourished from the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century CE which some scholars claim seceded from the Zadokite priests...

, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

, and practiced rituals corresponding strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this. John is regarded as a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 in Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, and Mandaeism
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

.

Most biblical scholars agree that John baptized Jesus
Baptism of Jesus
The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus Christ's public ministry. This event is recorded in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In John 1:29-33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode...

 at "Bethany
beyond the Jordan," by wading into the water with Jesus from the eastern bank. John the Baptist is also mentioned by Jewish historian Josephus
Josephus on Jesus
This article is part of the Jesus and history series of articles.Josephus was a renowned 1st-century Jewish historian...

, in Aramaic Matthew, in Pseudo-Clementine, and in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. Accounts of John in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 appear compatible with the account in Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

. There are no other historical accounts of John the Baptist from around the period of his lifetime.

John anticipated a messianic
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 figure who would be greater than himself, and, in the New Testament, Jesus is the one whose coming John foretold. Christians commonly refer to John as the precursor or forerunner of Jesus, since John announces Jesus' coming. John is also identified with the prophet Elijah. Some of Jesus' early followers had previously been followers of John.

Gospel narrative



All four canonical Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s record John the Baptist's ministry, as does the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews
Gospel of the Hebrews
The Gospel of the Hebrews , commonly shortened from the Gospel according to the Hebrews or simply called the Hebrew Gospel, is a hypothesised lost gospel preserved in fragments within the writings of the Church Fathers....

. They depict him as proclaiming Christ's arrival. In the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 (Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

, Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, and Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

), Jesus is baptized by John.

Birth and infancy



The Gospel of Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 includes an account of John's infancy, introducing him as the son of Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

, an old man, and his wife Elizabeth
Elizabeth (Biblical person)
Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth or Elisheva...

, who was barren. According to this account, the birth of John was foretold by the angel Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 to Zachariah, while Zachariah was performing his functions as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. Since Zachariah is described as a priest of the course of Abijah
Abijah
Abijah or Abiah or Abia is a Biblical unisex name that means Aviya or "my Father is Yahweh" in Hebrew. In the Old Testament the name Abijah was borne by several characters:Women...

 and his wife, Elizabeth, as one of the daughters of Aaron, this would make John a descendant of Aaron
Aaron
In the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, Aaron : Ααρών ), who is often called "'Aaron the Priest"' and once Aaron the Levite , was the older brother of Moses, and a prophet of God. He represented the priestly functions of his tribe, becoming the first High Priest of the Israelites...

 on both his father's and mother's side.

The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was conceived when Elizabeth was about six months pregnant, and when her cousin Mary came to tell her about her news, Elizabeth's unborn child "jumped for joy" in her womb. There is no mention of a family relationship between John and Jesus in the other Gospels, and the scholar Raymond E. Brown
Raymond E. Brown
The Reverend Raymond Edward Brown, S.S. , was an American Roman Catholic priest, a member of the Sulpician Fathers and a major Biblical scholar of his era...

 has described it as "of dubious historicity". Géza Vermes
Geza Vermes
Géza Vermes or Vermès is a British scholar of Jewish Hungarian origin and writer on religious history, particularly Jewish and Christian. He is a noted authority on the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient works in Aramaic, and on the life and religion of Jesus...

 has called it "artificial and undoubtedly Luke's creation". On the basis of the account in Luke, the Catholic calendar placed the feast of John the Baptist on June 24, six months before Christmas.

Zachariah had lost his speech at the behest and prophecy of the angel Gabriel, and it was restored on the occasion of Zachariah naming John.

The many similarities between the accounts of the birth of John and that of Samuel in the Old Testament have led scholars to suggest that the Gospel of Luke story of the birth of John and of the annunciation and birth of Jesus are modeled on that of Samuel.

Ministry



All four canonical gospels relate John's preaching and baptism in the River Jordan. Most notably he is the one who recognizes Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 as the Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

 and baptizes him. The baptism marks the beginning of Jesus' ministry
Ministry of Jesus
In the Christian gospels, the Ministry of Jesus begins with his Baptism in the countryside of Judea, near the River Jordan and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry...

. The Gospels of Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

, Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

 and (most clearly) Luke
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel According to Luke , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension.The...

 relate that Jesus came from Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 to John in Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 and was baptized by him, whereupon the Spirit descended upon Jesus and a voice from Heaven told him he was God's Son
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

. The Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 does not record John's baptizing Jesus, but John introduces Jesus to his disciples
Disciple (Christianity)
In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. While Jesus attracted a large following, the term disciple is commonly used to refer specifically to "the Twelve", an inner circle of men whose number perhaps represented the twelve tribes of Israel...

 as the "Lamb of God
Lamb of God
The title Lamb of God appears in the Gospel of John, with the exclamation of John the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" in John 1:29 when he sees Jesus....

" (John 1:29-36).

Considered by Christians to be without sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

, Jesus nevertheless received John's baptism, which was for the repentance
Repentance
Repentance is a change of thought to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged. In religious contexts it usually refers to confession to God, ceasing sin against God, and resolving to live according to religious law...

 of sins (Mark 1:4). This is addressed in the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

's account, which portrays John's refusal to baptize Jesus, saying, "I need to be baptized by you." Jesus persuades John to baptize him nonetheless (Matthew 3:13
Matthew 3:13
Matthew 3:13 is the thirteenth verse of the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. The verse introduces the section describing the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist....

-15
Matthew 3:15
thumb|The Baptism of Christ, by [[Piero della Francesca]], [[1449]]Matthew 3:15 is the fifteenth verse of the third chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament. Jesus has come to John the Baptist to be baptized, but John balked saying that he should be the one baptized...

).
The Gospel of John reports that Jesus' disciples were baptizing and that a debate broke out between some of the disciples of John and another Jew about purification. In this debate John argued that Jesus "must become greater," while he (John) "must become less" . The Gospel of John then points out that Jesus' disciples were baptizing more people than John (John 4:2). Later, the Gospel relates that Jesus regarded John as "a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light" (John 5:35).
The Book of Acts portrays the disciples of John as eventually merging into the followers of Jesus (Acts 18:24-19:6), a development not reported by the Gospels except for the early case of Andrew
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

, Simon Peter's brother (John 1:35-42).

However, some scholars such as Harold W. Attridge
Harold W. Attridge
Harold W. Attridge has been the Dean of the Yale Divinity School since 2002. His educational background includes an A.B. from Boston College, a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. from Harvard...

 contend that John's status as a "self-conscious and deliberate forerunner of Jesus" is likely to be an invention by early Christians, arguing that "for the early church it would have been something of an embarrassment to say that Jesus, who was in their minds superior to John the Baptist, had been baptized by him."

Death



In the Gospel accounts of John's death, Herod has John imprisoned for denouncing his marriage, and John is later executed by beheading. John condemned Herod for marrying Herodias
Herodias
Herodias was a Jewish princess of the Herodian Dynasty. Asteroid 546 Herodias is named after her.-Family relationships:*Daughter of Aristobulus IV...

, the former wife of his brother Philip, in violation of Old Testament Law. Later Herodias' daughter Salome
Salome
Salome , the Daughter of Herodias , is known from the New Testament...

 dances before Herod, who offers her a favour in return. Herodias tells her to ask for the head of John the Baptist, which is delivered to her on a plate (Mark 6:14-29). The first century Jewish historian Josephus gives a slightly different account in his Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus writes that Herod had John arrested because John had so many followers that Herod feared they might begin a rebellion. Herod later had him executed (Ant. 18.116-118). It is possible that both accounts are true. Josephus writes about John's death in a section detailing some of Herod's political dealings. Herod regarded John as a threat, he spoke against Herod and had many followers, so Herod wanted to get rid of him. The Gospels recall the teaching of John, that he called for Israel to purify herself through baptism (Matthew 3:1-12). So the Gospels' description of John's death focuses on the final reason Herod had for arresting John, which was religious. So it may have been that Herod wanted John arrested because he was a political threat, and John's condemnations of Herod's marriage was "the final straw". See James D.G. Dunn, Jesus Remembered pp377–379.

John the Baptist and Old Testament prophecy



Christians believe that John the Baptist had a specific role ordained by God as forerunner or precursor of Jesus, who was the foretold Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

. The New Testament Gospels speak of this role. In Luke 1:17 the role of John is referred to as being "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In Luke 1:76 as "...thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways" and in Luke 1:77 as being "To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins."

There are several passages within the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 which are interpreted by Christians as being prophetic
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 of John the Baptist in this role. These include a passage in the Book of Malachi
Book of Malachi
Malachi is a book of the Hebrew Bible, the last of the twelve minor prophets and the final book of the Neviim...

 3:1 that refers to a prophet who would prepare the way of the Lord:
and also at the end of the next chapter in Malachi 4:5-6 where it says,
The Jews of Jesus' day expected Elijah to come before the Messiah; indeed, some modern Jews continue to await Elijah's coming as well, as in the Cup of Elijah the Prophet in the Passover Seder
Passover Seder
The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in...

. This is why the disciples ask Jesus in Matthew 17:10, 'Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?.' The disciples are then told by Jesus that Elijah came in the person of John the Baptist,
These passages are applied to John in the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

. The Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 indicates that John the Baptist denied this,

Josephus


An account of John the Baptist is found in all extant manuscripts of the Jewish Antiquities (book 18, chapter 5, 2) by Flavius Josephus (37–100):
As with other passages in Josephus relating to Christian themes concern remains over whether the passage was part of Josephus's original text or instead a later addition - it can be dated back no further than the early 3rd century when it is quoted by Origen
Origen
Origen , or Origen Adamantius, 184/5–253/4, was an early Christian Alexandrian scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church. As early as the fourth century, his orthodoxy was suspect, in part because he believed in the pre-existence of souls...

 in Contra Celsum. According to this passage, the execution of John was blamed for a defeat Herod suffered c. AD 36. Divergences between the passage's presentation and the Biblical accounts of John include baptism for those whose souls have already been "purified beforehand by righteousness" is for purification of the body, not general repentance of sin (Mark 1:4). Biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan
John Dominic Crossan
John Dominic Crossan is an Irish-American religious scholar and former Catholic priest known for co-founding the Jesus Seminar. Crossan is a major figure in the fields of biblical archaeology, anthropology and New Testament textual and higher criticism. He is also a lecturer who has appeared in...

 differentiates between Josephus's account of John and Jesus like this: "John had a monopoly, but Jesus had a franchise." To get baptized, Crossan writes, you went only to John; to stop the movement one only needed to stop John (therefore his movement ended with his death). Jesus invited all to come and see how he and his companions had already accepted the Government of God, entered it and were living it. Such a communal praxis was not just for himself, but could survive without him, unlike John's movement.

Early Jewish Christian sects


Among the early Judaistic Christian groups the Ebionites
Ebionites
Ebionites, or Ebionaioi, , is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites...

 held that John, along with Jesus and James the Just
James the Just
James , first Bishop of Jerusalem, who died in 62 AD, was an important figure in Early Christianity...

 - all of whom they revered - were vegetarians. Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis
Epiphanius of Salamis was bishop of Salamis at the end of the 4th century. He is considered a saint and a Church Father by both the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches. He gained a reputation as a strong defender of orthodoxy...

 records that this group had amended their Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, known today as the Gospel of the Ebionites
Gospel of the Ebionites
Gospel of the Ebionites is the conventional name given to the description by Epiphanius of Salamis of a gospel used by the Ebionites. All that is known of the gospel text consists of seven brief quotations found in Chapter 30 of a heresiology written by Epiphanius known as the Panarion...

, to change where John eats "locusts" to read "honey cakes" or "manna
Manna
Manna or Manna wa Salwa , sometimes or archaically spelled mana, is the name of an edible substance that God provided for the Israelites during their travels in the desert according to the Bible.It was said to be sweet to the taste, like honey....

".

Eastern Orthodox Church



The Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 faithful believe that John was the last of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s, thus serving as a bridge between that period of revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 and the New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

. They also teach that, following his death, John descended into Hades
Hades
Hades , Hadēs, originally , Haidēs or , Aidēs , meaning "the unseen") was the ancient Greek god of the underworld. The genitive , Haidou, was an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades". Eventually, the nominative came to designate the abode of the dead.In Greek mythology, Hades...

 and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming, so he was the Forerunner of Christ in death as he had been in life. According to Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

, John the Baptist appears at the time of death to those who have not heard the Gospel
Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

 of Christ, and preaches the Good News to them, that all may have the opportunity to be saved. Orthodox churches will often have an icon
Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 of St. John the Baptist in a place of honor on the iconostasis
Iconostasis
In Eastern Christianity an iconostasis is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church. Iconostasis also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church...

, and he is frequently mentioned during the Divine Services. Every Tuesday throughout the year is dedicated to his memory.

The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 remembers Saint John the Forerunner on six separate feast days, listed here in order in which they occur during the church year
Liturgical year
The liturgical year, also known as the church year, consists of the cycle of liturgical seasons in Christian churches which determines when feast days, including celebrations of saints, are to be observed, and which portions of Scripture are to be read. Distinct liturgical colours may appear in...

 (which begins on September 1):
  • September 23 — Conception of St. John the Forerunner
  • January 7 — The Synaxis
    Synaxis
    In Eastern Christianity , a Synaxis is an assembly for liturgical purposes, generally through the celebration of Vespers, Matins, Little Hours, and the Divine Liturgy....

     of St. John the Forerunner. This is his main feast day, immediately after Theophany on January 6 (January 7 also commemorates the transfer of the relic of the right hand of John the Baptist from Antioch
    Antioch
    Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

     to Constantinople
    Constantinople
    Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

     in 956)
  • February 24 — First and Second Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
  • May 25 — Third Finding of the Head of St. John the Forerunner
  • June 24 — Nativity of St. John the Forerunner
  • August 29 — The Beheading of St. John the Forerunner


In addition to the above, September 5 is the commemoration of Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

 and Elisabeth
Elizabeth (Biblical person)
Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth or Elisheva...

, St. John's parents. The Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 observes October 12 as the Transfer of the Right Hand of the Forerunner from Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 to Gatchina
Gatchina
Gatchina is a town and the administrative center of Gatchinsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located south of St. Petersburg by the road leading to Pskov...

 (1799).

Catholic Church




The Roman Catholic Church commemorates St. John the Baptist on two feast days:
  • June 24 – Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    Nativity of St. John the Baptist
    The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of John the Baptist, a prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah in the person of Jesus and who baptized Jesus.-Significance:Christians have long interpreted the life of John the Baptist as a preparation for...

  • August 29 – Beheading of St. John the Baptist
    Beheading of St. John the Baptist
    The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist is a holy day observed by various Christian churches which follow liturgical traditions...


Relics



The burial-place of John the Baptist was at Sebaste
Sebastia, Nablus
Sebastia is a Palestinian village of over 4,500 inhabitants, located in the Nablus Governorate of the West Bank some 12 kilometers northwest of the city of Nablus. The village's total area is 4,810 dunums, the built up area of which comprises 150 dunums...

 in Samaria
Samaria
Samaria, or the Shomron is a term used for a mountainous region roughly corresponding to the northern part of the West Bank.- Etymology :...

, and mention is made of his relics being honored there around the middle of the 4th century. The historians Rufinus
Tyrannius Rufinus
Tyrannius Rufinus or Rufinus of Aquileia was a monk, historian, and theologian. He is most known as a translator of Greek patristic material into Latin—especially the work of Origen.-Life:...

 and Theodoretus record that the shrine
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

 was desecrated
Desecration
Desecration is the act of depriving something of its sacred character, or the disrespectful or contemptuous treatment of that which is held to be sacred or holy by a group or individual.-Detail:...

 under Julian the Apostate
Julian the Apostate
Julian "the Apostate" , commonly known as Julian, or also Julian the Philosopher, was Roman Emperor from 361 to 363 and a noted philosopher and Greek writer....

 around 362, the bones being partly burned. A portion of the rescued relics were carried to Jerusalem, then to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, where on May 27, 395, they were laid in the basilica
Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 that was newly dedicated to the Forerunner
Forerunner
-Religious:*Forerunner, title of St. John the Baptist, forerunner of Jesus*Jesus in Islam, forerunner of Muhammad *Shaykh Ahmad, forerunner of Bábism *Sayyid Kazim Rashti, forerunner of Bábism...

 on the former site of the temple of Serapis. The tomb at Sebaste continued, nevertheless, to be visited by pious pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s, and St. Jerome bears witness to miracles being worked there.

What became of the head of John the Baptist is difficult to determine. Nicephorus
Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos
Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos, latinized as Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus , of Constantinople, the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, flourished around 1320....

 and Symeon Metaphrastes
Symeon Metaphrastes
Symeon the Metaphrast was the author of the 10 volume medieval Greek menologion, or collection of saint's lives. He lived in the second half of the 10th century...

 say that Herodias had it buried in the fortress of Machaerus
Machaerus
Machaerus is a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river on the eastern side of the Dead Sea...

 (in accordance with Josephus). Other writers say that it was interred in Herod's palace at Jerusalem; there it was found during the reign of Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, and thence secretly taken to Emesa, in Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

, where it was concealed, the place remaining unknown for years, until it was manifested by revelation
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

 in 453. However, the decapitation cloth of St. John is kept at the Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral
Aachen Cathedral, frequently referred to as the "Imperial Cathedral" , is a Roman Catholic church in Aachen, Germany. The church is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe and was known as the "Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen" during the Middle Ages...

. The Coptic Christian Orthodox Church also claim to hold the relics of St. John the Baptist. These are to be found in a monastery in Lower Egypt between Cairo and Alexandria. It is possible, with permission from the monks, to see the original tomb where the remains were found. An obscure and surprising claim relates to the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is a metropolitan county within the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England with a population of 2.2 million. West Yorkshire came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972....

, United Kingdom, where the Baptist's head appears on the official coat-of-arms. A legend first recorded in the late 16th century and reported in William Camden
William Camden
William Camden was an English antiquarian, historian, topographer, and officer of arms. He wrote the first chorographical survey of the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and the first detailed historical account of the reign of Elizabeth I of England.- Early years :Camden was born in London...

's Britannia accounts for the town's place-name, as 'halig' (holy) and 'fax' (face), by stating that the first religious settlers of the district brought the 'face' of John the Baptist with them.

Several different locations claim to possess the severed head of John the Baptist. Among them: Umayyad Mosque
Umayyad Mosque
The Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus or formerly the Basilica of Saint John the Baptist , is located in the old city of Damascus, is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world...

 in Damascus; San Silvestro in Capite
San Silvestro in Capite
The Church of Saint Sylvester in Capite is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and titular church in Rome dedicated to Pope Saint Sylvester I. Built in the 8th century as a shrine for the relics of the saints and martyrs from the Catacombs, the church is the National church of Great Britain.The Latin...

 in Rome; and the Residenz Museum in Munich, Germany (official residence of the Wittelsbach
Wittelsbach
The Wittelsbach family is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.Members of the family served as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria , Counts Palatine of the Rhine , Margraves of Brandenburg , Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland , Elector-Archbishops of Cologne , Dukes of...

 rulers of Bavaria from 1385 to 1918). Further heads, no longer available, were once held by the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 at Amiens Cathedral
Amiens Cathedral
The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens , or simply Amiens Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and seat of the Bishop of Amiens...

 in France (brought home by Wallon de Sarton from the Fourth Crusade
Fourth Crusade
The Fourth Crusade was originally intended to conquer Muslim-controlled Jerusalem by means of an invasion through Egypt. Instead, in April 1204, the Crusaders of Western Europe invaded and conquered the Christian city of Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire...

 in Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

), at Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 in Turkey (fate uncertain), and the parish church at Tenterden in Kent, where it was preserved up until the Reformation.

The saint's right hand, with which he baptised Jesus, is claimed to be in: the Serbian Orthodox
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

 Cetinje monastery
Cetinje Monastery
The Cetinje Monastery is the most famous Serb Orthodox monastery in Montenegro. It is located in Cetinje and is the seat of the Metropolitanate of Montenegro and the Littoral and its name derives from Saint Peter of Cetinje...

 in Montenegro
Montenegro
Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

; Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace
The Topkapı Palace is a large palace in Istanbul, Turkey, that was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign....

 in Istanbul; and also in the Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

n skete
Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

 of the Forerunner
Prodromos (Mount Athos)
The Romanian Skete Prodromos is a Romanian cenobitic skete belonging to the Great Lavra Monastery, located in the eastern extremity of the Eastern Orthodox Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Athos, between the Aegean Sea in the East and the peak of Athos rising 2033 m in the West, nearby the...

 on Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

. The saint's left hand is allegedly preserved in the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. John at Chinsurah, West Bengal, where each year on "Chinsurah Day" in January it blesses the Armenians of Calcutta. A crypt and relics said to be John's and mentioned in 11th and 16th century manuscripts, were discovered in 1969 during restoration of the Church of St. Macarius at the Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great
Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great
The Monastery of Saint Macarius is a Coptic Orthodox monastery located in Wadi El Natrun, Beheira Governorate, about 92 km north west of Cairo, and off the highway between Cairo and Alexandria.-Ancient History:...

 in Scetes, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

; Additional relics are claimed to reside in Gandzasar Monastery
Gandzasar monastery
Gandzasar monastery is a 10-13th century Armenian monastery situated in the Mardakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh, near the village of Vank. "Gandzasar" means treasure mountain or hilltop treasure in Armenian. The monastery holds relics believed to belong to St. John the Baptist and St Zechariah,...

's Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in Nagorno Karabakh;

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, latter-day revelation confirms the biblical account and also makes known additional events in the ministry of John the Baptist. According to this belief, revelation reveals that John was "ordained by an angel," when he was 8 days of age, to overthrow the kingdom of the Jews and to prepare a people for the Lord. They also claim that he was baptized while yet in his childhood.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

 teaches that John the Baptist appeared on the banks of the Susquehanna River
Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River is a river located in the northeastern United States. At long, it is the longest river on the American east coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, and with its watershed it is the 16th largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United...

 near Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Harmony Township is a township in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 558 at the 2000 census.-Geography:According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of , of which, of it is land and of it is water.-History:Harmony, Pennsylvania, is...

 (present-day Oakton
Oakton
-Places:USA*Oakton, Georgia*Oakton, Kentucky*Oakton, Missouri*Oakton, North Carolina*Oakton, Virginia*Oakton, West Virginia...

) as a resurrected being to Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery
Oliver Cowdery
Oliver H. P. Cowdery was, with Joseph Smith, Jr., an important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836, becoming one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, and the Second Elder of...

 on May 15, 1829, and ordained them to the Aaronic priesthood. According to LDS doctrine, John the Baptist's ministry has operated in three dispensations: he was the last of the prophets under the law of Moses; he was the first of the New Testament prophets; and he was sent to confer the Aaronic priesthood in our day, the dispensation of the fulness of times
Dispensation of the fulness of times
In Christianity, the dispensation of the fulness of times is thought to be a world order or administration in which the heavens and the earth are under the political and/or spiritual government of Jesus...

. They also believe John's ministry was foretold by two prophets whose teachings are included in the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement that adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2600 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr...

: Lehi and his son, Nephi
Nephi
According to the Book of Mormon, Nephi was the son of Lehi, a prophet, founder of the Nephite people, and author of the first two books of the Book of Mormon, First and Second Nephi.- Early life :Nephi was the fourth of six sons of Lehi and Sariah...

 (Book of Mormon 1 Nephi 11:27; Nephi 31:4-18;).

Islam


John is also honored as a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as Yaḥyā ibn Zakarīyā , translated literally as "John, son of Zechariah". He is believed by Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s to have been a witness to the word of God
Revelation
In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing, through active or passive communication with a supernatural or a divine entity...

, and a prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

 who would herald the coming of Jesus. His father Zechariah was also an Islamic prophet. Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic tradition maintains that John was one of the prophets that Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 met on the night of the Mi'raj
Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj , are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey...

, his ascension through the Seven Heavens. It is said that he met John and Jesus in the second heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

, where Muhammad greeted his two 'brothers' before ascending with archangel
Archangel
An archangel is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible...

 Gabriel
Gabriel
In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

 to the third heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

. John's story was also told to the Abyssinian
Aksumite Empire
The Kingdom of Aksum or Axum, also known as the Aksumite Empire, was an important trading nation in northeastern Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite Iron Age period ca. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD...

 king during the Muslim refugees' Migration to Abyssinia
Migration to Abyssinia
The migration known as the first Hijarat was made in two groups totalling more than a hundred persons. According to Islamic tradition, eleven male and five female Sahabah, the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution in the Kingdom of Aksum in of in the...

. According to the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, John was one on whom God sent peace on the day that he was born and the day that he died.

Name


John's name in Arabic, Yahya, was present in Arabia before the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 was revealed.Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 exegetes frequently connected the name with the meaning of "to quicken" or "to make alive" in reference to John's mother's barrenness, which was cured by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, as well as John's preaching, which, as Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s believe, "made alive" the faith of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 accords the significance of John's name to the fact that it was a new name for mankind, in that no one previously had been named "John". Other scholars hold that John's name, which they state connects with the meaning of "He shall live", referred to his legacy, in that his memory will remain in the mind of the faithful for the generations to come.

John in the Qur'an


In the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

 frequently mentions Zechariah's continuous praying for the birth of son. Zechariah's wife, mentioned in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 as Elizabeth
Elizabeth (Biblical person)
Elizabeth is also spelled Elisabeth or Elisheva...

, was barren and therefore the birth of a child seemed impossible. As a gift from God, Zechariah was given a son by the name of "John", a name specially chosen for this child alone. In accordance with Zechariah's prayer, God made John and Jesus, who according to exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 was born six months later, renew the message of God, which had been corrupted and lost by the Israelites. As the Qur'an says:

John was exhorted to hold fast to the Scripture and was given wisdom by God while still a child. He was pure and devout, and walked well in the presence of God. He was dutiful towards his parents and he was not arrogant or rebellious. John's reading and understanding of the scriptures, when only a child, surpassed even that of the greatest scholars of the time. Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

 narrates that Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 sent John out with twelve disciples, who preached the message before Jesus called his own disciples. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 says of John:

John was a classical prophet, who was exalted high by God, for his bold denouncing of all things sinful. Furthermore, the Qur'an speaks of John's gentle pity and love for all creatures and his humble attitude towards life, for which he was granted the Purity of Life:
John is also honored highly in Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

 as well as Islamic mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

, primarily because of the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

's description of John's chastity and kindness. Sufis have frequently applied commentaries on John's passages on the Qur'an, primarily concerning God-given gift of "Wisdom" which he acquired in youth as well as his parallels with Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

. Although several phrases used to describe John and Jesus are virtually identical in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, the manner in which they are expressed is different.

Mandaean view



John the Baptist plays a large part in some Mandaean writings, especially those dating from the Islamic period. They view John as the only true Messiah
Messiah
A messiah is a redeemer figure expected or foretold in one form or another by a religion. Slightly more widely, a messiah is any redeemer figure. Messianic beliefs or theories generally relate to eschatological improvement of the state of humanity or the world, in other words the World to...

.

Bahá'í view


There are numerous quotations in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh
Bahá'u'lláh , born ' , was the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. He claimed to be the prophetic fulfilment of Bábism, a 19th-century outgrowth of Shí‘ism, but in a broader sense claimed to be a messenger from God referring to the fulfilment of the eschatological expectations of Islam, Christianity, and...

, Founder of the Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 mentioning John the Baptist. He is regarded by Bahá'ís as a lesser Prophet. Bahá'u'lláh claimed that his Forerunner, the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

, was the spiritual return of John the Baptist. In his letter to Pope Pius IX, Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

"O followers of the Son! We have once again sent John unto you, and He, verily, hath cried out in the wilderness of the Bayán
Persian Bayán
The Persian Bayán is one of the principal scriptural writings of the Báb, the founder of Bábi religion, written in Persian. The Báb also wrote a shorter book in Arabic, the Arabic Bayán.- Content:...

: O peoples of the world! Cleanse your eyes! The Day whereon ye can behold the Promised One and attain unto Him hath drawn nigh! O followers of the Gospel! Prepare the way! The Day of the advent of the Glorious Lord is at hand! Make ready to enter the Kingdom. Thus hath it been ordained by God, He Who causeth the dawn to break."


However, Bahá'ís consider the Báb
Báb
Siyyid `Alí Muḥammad Shírází was the founder of Bábism, and one of three central figures of the Bahá'í Faith. He was a merchant from Shíráz, Persia, who at the age of twenty-four claimed to be the promised Qá'im . After his declaration he took the title of Báb meaning "Gate"...

 to be a greater Prophet (Manifestation of God
Manifestation of God
The Manifestation of God is a concept in the Bahá'í Faith that refers to what are commonly called prophets. The Manifestations of God are a series of personages who reflect the attributes of the divine into the human world for the progress and advancement of human morals and civilization...

) and thus possessed of a far greater station than John the Baptist.

Gnostic and anthroposophic views


In Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, John the Baptist was a "personification" of the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 prophet Elijah. Elijah did not know the True God (as opposed to the Abrahamic God), and thus had to be reincarnated
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 in Gnostic theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. As predicted by the Old Testament prophet Malachi
Malachi
Malachi, Malachias or Mal'achi was a Jewish prophet in the Hebrew Bible. He had two brothers, Nathaniel and Josiah. Malachi was the writer of the Book of Malachi, the last book of the Neviim section in the Jewish Tanakh...

, Elijah must "come first" to herald the coming of Jesus Christ. Modern anthroposophy
Anthroposophy
Anthroposophy, a philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner, postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world accessible to direct experience through inner development...

, initiated by Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

, concurs with the idea that the Baptist was a reincarnation of Elijah, in line with the Synoptic Gospels
Synoptic Gospels
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes exactly the same wording. This degree of parallelism in content, narrative arrangement, language, and sentence structures can only be...

 (e.g. Mark 9:11-13, Matthew 11:13-14, Luke 7:27), although the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 explicitly denies this (John 1:21). Furthermore, after his beheading at Machaerus
Machaerus
Machaerus is a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river on the eastern side of the Dead Sea...

 his soul is said to have become the inspiring group genius of Christ's disciples. According to Steiner, the painter Raphael and the poet Novalis
Novalis
Novalis was the pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg , an author and philosopher of early German Romanticism.-Biography:...

 were more recent incarnations of John the Baptist.

Unification church


The Unification Church
Unification Church
The Unification Church is a new religious movement founded by Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon. In 1954, the Unification Church was formally and legally established in Seoul, South Korea, as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity . In 1994, Moon gave the church...

 teaches that God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 intended that John help Jesus during his public ministry in Judea. In particular, John should have done everything in his power to persuade the Jewish people that Jesus was the Messiah. He was to become Jesus' greatest disciple. John's failure to do so was the chief obstacle to the fulfillment of Jesus' mission.

In art


The beheading of St. John the Baptist
Beheading of St. John the Baptist
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist is a holy day observed by various Christian churches which follow liturgical traditions...

 is a standard theme in Christian art, in which John's head is often depicted on a platter, which represents the request of Herod's stepdaughter, Salome
Salome
Salome , the Daughter of Herodias , is known from the New Testament...

. He is also depicted as an ascetic wearing camel hair, with a staff and scroll inscribed Ecce Agnus Dei, or bearing a book or dish with a lamb on it. In Orthodox
Orthodox Christianity
The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

 icons, he often has angel's wings, since Mark 1:2 describes him as a messenger.
The Baptism of Christ was one of the earliest scenes from the Life of Christ
Life of Christ
The Life of Christ as a narrative cycle in Christian art comprises a number of different subjects, which were often grouped in series or cycles of works in a variety of media, narrating the life of Jesus on earth, as distinguished from the many other subjects in art showing the eternal life of...

to be frequently depicted in Early Christian art, and John's tall thin, even gaunt, and bearded figure is already established by the 5th century. Only he and Jesus are consistently shown with long hair from Early Christian times, when the apostles generally have trim classical cuts; in fact John is more consistently depicted in this way than Jesus. In Byzantine art
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 the composition of the Deesis
Deesis
In Byzantine art, and later Eastern Orthodox art generally, the Deësis or Deisis , is a traditional iconic representation of Christ in Majesty or Christ Pantocrator: enthroned, carrying a book, and flanked by the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist, and sometimes other saints and angels...

came to be included in every Eastern Orthodox church, as remains the case to this day. Here John and the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 (Mary) flank a Christ Pantocrator
Christ Pantocrator
In Christian iconography, Christ Pantokrator refers to a specific depiction of Christ. Pantocrator or Pantokrator is a translation of one of many Names of God in Judaism...

 and intercede for humanity; in many ways this is the equivalent of Western Crucifixion
Crucifixion
Crucifixion is an ancient method of painful execution in which the condemned person is tied or nailed to a large wooden cross and left to hang until dead...

s on rood
Rood
A rood is a cross or crucifix, especially a large one in a church; a large sculpture or sometimes painting of the crucifixion of Jesus.Rood is an archaic word for pole, from Old English rōd "pole", specifically "cross", from Proto-Germanic *rodo, cognate to Old Saxon rōda, Old High German ruoda...

s and elsewhere, where John the Evangelist
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

 takes the place of John the Baptist (except in the idiosyncratic Isenheim Altarpiece
Isenheim Altarpiece
The Isenheim Altarpiece is an altarpiece painted by the German artist Matthias Grünewald in 1506-1515. It is on display at the Unterlinden Museum at Colmar, Alsace, now in France....

). John the Baptist is very often shown on altarpieces designed for churches dedicated to him, or where the donor patron was named for him or there was some other connection of patronage - John was the patron saint of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, among many other cities, which means he features among the supporting saints in many important works.
A number of narrative scenes from his life were often shown on the predella
Predella
A predella is the platform or step on which an altar stands . In painting, the predella is the painting or sculpture along the frame at the bottom of an altarpiece...

 of altarpieces dedicated to John, and other settings, notably the large series in grisaille
Grisaille
Grisaille is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome, usually in shades of grey. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles in fact include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco...

 fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 in the Chiostro del Scalzo, which was Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

's largest work, and the frescoed Life by Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

 in the Tornabuoni Chapel
Tornabuoni Chapel
The Tornabuoni Chapel is the main chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. It is famous for the extensive and well-preserved fresco cycle on its walls, one of the most complete in the city, which was created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and...

, both in Florence. There is another important fresco cycle by Filippo Lippi
Filippo Lippi
Fra' Filippo Lippi , also called Lippo Lippi, was an Italian painter of the Italian Quattrocento .-Biography and works:...

 in Prato Cathedral
Prato Cathedral
The Cathedral of Prato is the main Catholic church of Prato, Tuscany, Central Italy and seat of the bishop. It is dedicated to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. It is one of the most ancient churches in the city, existing already in the 10th century and having been built and in several...

. These include the typical scenes: the Annunciation to Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

, John's birth, his naming by his father, the Visitation, John's departure for the desert, his preaching in the desert, the Baptism of Christ, John before Herod, the dance of Salome
Salome
Salome , the Daughter of Herodias , is known from the New Testament...

, and his beheading.

His birth, which unlike the Nativity of Jesus
Nativity of Jesus in art
The Nativity of Jesus has been a major subject of Christian art since the 4th century. The artistic depictions of the Nativity or birth of Jesus, celebrated at Christmas, are based on the narratives in the Bible, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and further elaborated by written, oral and...

 allowed a relatively wealthy domestic interior to be shown, became increasingly popular as a subject in the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, with depictions by Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....

 (?) in the Turin-Milan Hours
Turin-Milan Hours
The Turin-Milan Hours is an incomplete illuminated manuscript, despite its name not strictly a book of hours, of exceptional quality and importance, with a very complicated history both during and after its production...

 and Ghirlandaio in the Tornabuoni Chapel being among the best known. His execution, a Church feast-day, was often shown, and by the 15th century scenes such as the dance of Salome became popular, sometimes, as in an engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

 by Israhel van Meckenem
Israhel van Meckenem
Israhel van Meckenem , also known as Israhel van Meckenem the Younger, was a German printmaker and goldsmith.He was the most prolific engraver of the fifteenth century and an important figure in the early history of old master prints. He was active from 1465 until his death.-Life:His birth date is...

, the interest of the artist is clearly in showing the life of Herod's court, given contemporary dress, as much as the martyrdom of the saint. Salome bearing John's head on a platter equally became a subject for the Northern Renaissance taste for images of glamorous but dangerous women (Delilah
Delilah
Delilah appears only in the Hebrew bible Book of Judges 16, where she is the "woman in the valley of Sorek" whom Samson loved, and who was his downfall...

, Judith and others), and was often painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

 and engraved by the Little Masters
Little Masters
The Little Masters , were a group of German printmakers who worked in the first half of the 16th century, primarily in engraving. They specialized in very small finely detailed prints, some no larger than a postage stamp...

. These images remained popular into the Baroque, with Carlo Dolci
Carlo Dolci
Carlo Dolci was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Florence, known for highly finished religious pictures, often repeated in many versions.-Biography:...

 painting at least three versions. John preaching, in a landscape setting, was a popular subject in Dutch art from Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish renaissance painter and printmaker known for his landscapes and peasant scenes . He is sometimes referred to as the "Peasant Bruegel" to distinguish him from other members of the Brueghel dynasty, but he is also the one generally meant when the context does...

 and his successors.
As a child (of varying age), he is sometimes shown from the 15th century in family scenes from the life of Christ such as the Presentation of Christ, the Marriage of the Virgin
Marriage of the Virgin
The Marriage of the Virgin is the subject in Christian art depicting the marriage of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. The marriage is not mentioned in the canonical Gospels but is covered in several apocryphal sources, and later redactions, notably the 14th century compilation the Golden Legend...

and the Holy Kinship
Holy Kinship
Holy Kinship was a popular theme in religious art throughout Germany and the Low Countries, especially during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Holy Kin were the extended family of Jesus descended from his maternal grandmother St. Anne. According to this tradition, St...

. Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

's versions of the Virgin of the Rocks
Virgin of the Rocks
The Virgin of the Rocks is the name used for both of two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for two significant details...

were influential in establishing a Renaissance fashion for variations on the Madonna and Child that included John, probably intended to depict the cousin's reunion in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, when after Jesus's Flight to Egypt John was believed to have been carried to join him by an angel. Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 in particular painted many compositions of the subject, such as the Alba Madonna
Alba Madonna
The Alba Madonna is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael, depicting Mary, Jesus and John the Baptist, in a typical Italian countryside. John the Baptist is holding up a cross to Jesus, which the baby Jesus is grasping. All three figures are staring at the cross...

, La belle jardinière
La belle jardinière
La belle jardinière, also known as Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist, is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael. It was commissioned by the Sienese patrician Fabrizio Sergardi and shows Mary, Christ and the young John the Baptist...

, Aldobrandini Madonna
Aldobrandini Madonna
The Aldobrandini Madonna is a painting from about 1509-1510 oil by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael. The picture is of the Virgin Mother, Christ child and infant John the Baptist, one of many paintings by Raphael with this trio...

, Madonna della seggiola
Madonna della seggiola
The Madonna della seggiola or Madonna della sedia is a Madonna painting by the Italian renaissance artist Raphael, dating to c. 1513-1514 and housed in the Palazzo Pitti collection in Florence...

, Madonna dell'Impannata
Madonna dell'Impannata (Raphael)
The Madonna dell'Impannata is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael....

, which were among his best known works. John was also often shown by himself as an older child or adolescent, usually already wearing his distinctive dress and carrying a long thin wooden cross - another theme influenced by Leonardo
St. John the Baptist (Leonardo)
St. John the Baptist is an oil painting on walnut wood by the artist Leonardo da Vinci. Completed from 1513 to 1516, when the High Renaissance was metamorphosing into Mannerism, it is believed to be his last painting. The original size of the work was 69x57 cm. It is now exhibited at the Musée du...

, whose equivocal composition, reintroducing the camel-skin dress, was developed by Raphael Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 and Guido Reni
Guido Reni
Guido Reni was an Italian painter of high-Baroque style.-Biography:Born in Bologna into a family of musicians, Guido Reni was the son of Daniele Reni and Ginevra de’ Pozzi. As a child of nine, he was apprenticed under the Bolognese studio of Denis Calvaert. Soon after, he was joined in that...

 among many others. Often he is accompanied by a lamb, especially in the many Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

s which needed this attribute as he wore normal clothes. Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

 painted an especially large number of works including John, from at least five largely nude youths
John the Baptist (Caravaggio)
John the Baptist was the subject of at least eight paintings by the Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio ....

 attributed to him, to three late works on his death - the great Execution
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (Caravaggio)
The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist is an oil painting by the Italian artist Caravaggio. According to Andrea Pomella in Caravaggio: An Artist through Images , the work is widely considered to be Caravaggio's masterpiece as well as "one of the most important works in Western...

in Malta, and two sombre Salomes with his head, one in Madrid
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist (Madrid) (Caravaggio)
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist , c. 1609, is a painting by the Italian master Caravaggio in the Palacio Real, Madrid.The early Caravaggio biographer Giovanni Bellori, writing in 1672, records the artist sending a Salome with the Head of John the Baptist from Naples to the Grand Master of...

, and one in London.

Amiens cathedral, which holds one of the alleged heads of the Baptist, has a biographical sequence in polychrome relief, dating from the 16th century. This stresses the execution and the disposal of the saint's remains.
The death of John remained a popular subject throughout the Baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 period.
A remarkable Pre-Raphaelite portrayal is Christ in the House of His Parents
Christ in the House of His Parents
Christ in the House of His Parents is a painting by John Everett Millais depicting the Holy Family in Saint Joseph's carpentry workshop. The painting was extremely controversial when first exhibited, prompting many negative reviews, most notably one written by Charles Dickens...

 by John Everett Millais
John Everett Millais
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.-Early life:...

. Here the Baptist is shown as a child, wearing a loin covering of animal skins, hurrying to bring a bowl of water to soothe the injured hand of Jesus. Artistic interest enjoyed a considerable revival at the end of the 19th century with Symbolist painters such as Gustave Moreau
Gustave Moreau
Gustave Moreau was a French Symbolist painter whose main emphasis was the illustration of biblical and mythological figures. As a painter of literary ideas, Moreau appealed to the imaginations of some Symbolist writers and artists.- Biography :Moreau was born in Paris. His father, Louis Jean Marie...

 and Puvis de Chavannes (National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

). Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

's play Salome
Salome (play)
Salome is a tragedy by Oscar Wilde.The original 1891 version of the play was in French. Three years later an English translation was published...

was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Beardsley
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was an English illustrator and author. His drawings, done in black ink and influenced by the style of Japanese woodcuts, emphasized the grotesque, the decadent, and the erotic. He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement which also included Oscar Wilde and James A....

, giving rise to some of his most memorable images.

In poetry

  • The Italian Renaissance
    Italian Renaissance
    The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

     poet Lucrezia Tornabuoni
    Lucrezia Tornabuoni
    Lucrezia Tornabuoni was a daughter of Francesco di Simone Tornabuoni and Nanna di Niccolo di Luigi Guicciardini. Her brother was Giovanni Tornabuoni.- Biography :...

     chose John the Baptist as one of biblical figures on which she wrote poetry.

As a patron saint


Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, his beheading is said to have taken place in Machaerus
Machaerus
Machaerus is a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river on the eastern side of the Dead Sea...

 in central Jordan.

Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, and its capital city San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan , officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista , is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of...

 bears his name. In 1521, the island was given its formal name "San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico", following the usual custom of christening the town with both its formal name and the name which Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

 had originally given the island, honouring John the Baptist. The indistinct use of "San Juan Bautista" and "Puerto Rico" for calling both the city and the island led to a reversal in practical use by most inhabitants due largely to a map-making error. Therefore by 1746 the name for the city (Puerto Rico) had become that of the entire island, while the name for the island (San Juan Bautista) had become the name for the city. The official motto for the island of Puerto Rico also references the saint, Joannes Est Nomen Eius (translated, "John is his name").

He is also a patron saint of French Canada
French Canada
French Canada, also known as "Lower Canada", is a term to distinguish the French Canadian population of Canada from English Canada.-Definition:...

, and Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

. The Canadian cities of St. John's, Newfoundland
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

 (1497) and Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

 (1604) were both named in his honor. In the UK Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of Penzance
Penzance
Penzance is a town, civil parish, and port in Cornwall, England, in the United Kingdom. It is the most westerly major town in Cornwall and is approximately 75 miles west of Plymouth and 300 miles west-southwest of London...

, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

. His feast day is June 24, celebrated in Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 as the Fête Nationale du Québec
Fête nationale du Québec
Quebec's National Holiday is celebrated annually on June 24, St. John the Baptist DayIn Quebec, the national holiday is a paid statutory public holiday covered under the Act Respecting Labour Standards...

, and in Newfoundland as Discovery Day
Discovery Day
Discovery Day is the name of several holidays commemorating the discovery of land, gold, and other significant national discoveries.-The Bahamas:...

.

Also on the night from June 23 to 24, Saint John is celebrated as the patron saint of Porto
Porto
Porto , also known as Oporto in English, is the second largest city in Portugal and one of the major urban areas in the Iberian Peninsula. Its administrative limits include a population of 237,559 inhabitants distributed within 15 civil parishes...

, the second largest city in Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

. An article from June 2004 in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, remarked that "Porto's Festa de São João
Festa de São João
Every year, on the 24th June, the city of Porto, in the north of Portugal, becomes lively and seemingly crazy. Thousands of people come to the city centre and to the most traditional neighborhoods to pay a tribute to Saint John the Baptist, in a party that mixes sacred and profane traditions .The...

 is one of Europe's liveliest street festivals, yet it is relatively unknown outside the country".

He is also patron of the Knights Hospitaller
Knights Hospitaller
The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta , also known as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta , Order of Malta or Knights of Malta, is a Roman Catholic lay religious order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature. It is the world's...

 of Jerusalem, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, Florence, and Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, Italy.

John is patron saint of Xewkija-Gozo, Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

, which remember him with a great feast on the Sunday nearest to June 24.

The Baptistines
Baptistines
Baptistines were the name given to a number of Roman Catholic religious orders dedicated to Saint John the Baptist....

 are the name given to a number of religious orders dedicated to the memory of John the Baptist. Saint John is also the patron saint of Lian, Batangas
Lian, Batangas
Lian is a second class municipality in the Province of Batangas, Philippines. According to thelatest census, it has a population of 44,925 people in 8,215 households.The patron of Lian is Saint John the Baptist.- Barangays :...

, Calamba City, Laguna, San Juan, Metro Manila
San Juan, Metro Manila
The City of San Juan or simply San Juan is a city in Metro Manila in the Philippines. Before the creation of Metro Manila, it was part of Rizal Province. Currently the smallest city in the region and the country in terms of area, San Juan is one of the smallest among the cities and municipalities...

 (Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

) and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston
Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the southern United States and comprises the entire state of South Carolina, with Charleston as its see city. Currently, the diocese consists of 92 parishes and 24 missions...

 which comprises the entire state of South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

. St. John the Baptist is (along with St. John the Evangelist) claimed as a Patron Saint by the fraternal society of Free and Accepted Masons
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 (better known as the Freemasons).

Festivity


In many Mediterranean countries the summer solstice
Summer solstice
The summer solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet's semi-axis in a given hemisphere is most inclined towards the star that it orbits. Earth's maximum axial tilt to our star, the Sun, during a solstice is 23° 26'. Though the summer solstice is an instant in time, the term is also...

 is dedicated to St. John. The associated ritual is very similar to midsummer
Midsummer
Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place on a day between June 21 and June 24, and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between different...

 celebrations in the Anglo-Saxon tradition.

Locations, churches, and other establishments in his name





  • Armenian Apostolic Monastery
    Armenian Apostolic Church
    The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

     of Gandzasar
    Gandzasar monastery
    Gandzasar monastery is a 10-13th century Armenian monastery situated in the Mardakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh, near the village of Vank. "Gandzasar" means treasure mountain or hilltop treasure in Armenian. The monastery holds relics believed to belong to St. John the Baptist and St Zechariah,...

    , Nagorno Karabakh
  • Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, a 4th century Armenian
    Armenian Apostolic Church
    The Armenian Apostolic Church is the world's oldest National Church, is part of Oriental Orthodoxy, and is one of the most ancient Christian communities. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD, in establishing this church...

     monastery in the Taron province
    Taron (historic Armenia)
    Taron was a canton of the Turuberan province of Greater Armenia, now in the Muş Province, Turkey. It was divided into four districts: Mamikonian, Palauni, , Artokh Taron was a canton of the Turuberan province of Greater Armenia, now in the Muş Province, Turkey. It was divided into four districts:...

     of historic Armenia
    Armenia
    Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

     that contained the relics of Saint John the Baptist (which were moved there from Caeserea)
  • Maronite Catholic
    Maronite Church
    The Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch is an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Holy See of Rome . It traces its heritage back to the community founded by Maron, a 4th-century Syriac monk venerated as a saint. The first Maronite Patriarch, John Maron, was elected in the late 7th...

     Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Beit Mery
    Beit Mery
    Beit Mery is a Lebanese town overlooking the capital Beirut. The town has been a summer mountain resort since the times of the Phoenicians and later the Romans Romans The name derives from Aramaic and it means "The house of my Lord or Master"...

    , Lebanon
    Lebanon
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

  • Romanian Skete Prodromos
    Prodromos (Mount Athos)
    The Romanian Skete Prodromos is a Romanian cenobitic skete belonging to the Great Lavra Monastery, located in the eastern extremity of the Eastern Orthodox Monastic State of the Holy Mountain Athos, between the Aegean Sea in the East and the peak of Athos rising 2033 m in the West, nearby the...

     (the name is the Greek for "The Forerunner") on Mount Athos
    Mount Athos
    Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

    , holding relics believed to be of John the Baptist
  • St John's College of The University of Oxford, Oxford
    St John's College, Oxford
    __FORCETOC__St John's College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford, one of the larger Oxford colleges with approximately 390 undergraduates, 200 postgraduates and over 100 academic staff. It was founded by Sir Thomas White, a merchant, in 1555, whose heart is buried in the chapel of...

    , England
  • Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico
    Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

     was originally named San Juan Bautista; San Juan
    San Juan, Puerto Rico
    San Juan , officially Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista , is the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of...

     (then called Puerto Rico) is now its capital city.
  • St. John's, Newfoundland
    St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
    St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

    , was founded on his feast day June 24, 1497.
  • Exactly 34 years later San Juan del Río
    San Juan del Río
    N20 23 23 W99 59 49San Juan del Río is a city and administrative seat of the surrounding San Juan del Río Municipality in the central Mexican state of Querétaro. The population in July, 2007 is calculated in 128,270 for the city and 217,980 for the municipality.The city and municipality both rank...

    , Querétaro
    Querétaro
    Querétaro officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Querétaro de Arteaga is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided into 18 municipalities and its capital city is Santiago de Querétaro....

    , Mexico
    Mexico
    The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

     was founded on June 24, 1531.
  • Saint John, New Brunswick
    Saint John, New Brunswick
    City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

     was named after the Saint John River which was named by Samuel de Champlain
    Samuel de Champlain
    Samuel de Champlain , "The Father of New France", was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608....

  • Fête nationale du Québec
    Fête nationale du Québec
    Quebec's National Holiday is celebrated annually on June 24, St. John the Baptist DayIn Quebec, the national holiday is a paid statutory public holiday covered under the Act Respecting Labour Standards...

     — also known as la St- Jean-Baptiste — is the provincial holiday of Quebec
    Quebec
    Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

    , celebrated on June 24 of every year
  • Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island
    Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

    , a Canadian
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     province, was originally called Île de St-Jean or St. John's Island.
  • St. John's University
    St. John's University (New York City)
    St. John's University is a private, Roman Catholic, coeducational university located in New York City, United States. Founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1870, the school was originally located in the borough of Brooklyn in the neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant...

     located in Queens, New York; St. John's is the second largest Roman Catholic university in the United States.
  • Mission San Juan Bautista
    Mission San Juan Bautista
    Mission San Juan Bautista was founded on June 24, 1797 in what is now the San Juan Bautista Historic District of San Juan Bautista, California. Barracks for the soldiers, a nunnery, the Jose Castro House, and other buildings were constructed around a large grassy plaza in front of the church and...

    , one of the original 18th century missions in northern California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

    .
  • The City of San Juan in Metro Manila
    Metro Manila
    Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...

    , the Philippines. Also known by its formal name Sn Juan del Monte, the Pinaglabanan church is dedicated to this saint.
  • 12th century cathedral in Kamień Pomorski
    Kamien Pomorski
    Kamień Pomorski is a town in the West Pomeranian Voivodeship of northwestern Poland. The capital of Kamień County, the town had 9,129 inhabitants as of June 30, 2008.- History :...

     (Poland) with a famous 17th century organ
    Organ (music)
    The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

  • St. John Ambulance
    St. John Ambulance
    St John Ambulance, branded as St John in some territories, is a common name used by a number of affiliated organisations in different countries dedicated to the teaching and practice of medical first aid and the provision of ambulance services, all of which derive their origins from the St John...

     and the Venerable Order of St. John.
  • Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (commonly referred to as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta)
  • The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University and Saint John's Abbey
    Saint John's Abbey
    Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota is a Benedictine monastery affiliated with the American Cassinese Congregation. The Abbey was established following the arrival in the area of monks from Saint Vincent Abbey of Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 1856. Saint John's is the second-largest...

     in Collegeville, MN.
  • St. John's wort is named after St. John because it is traditionally harvested on his feast day, June 24.
  • The city of Sveti Ivan Zelina
    Sveti Ivan Zelina
    -Geography:Sveti Ivan Zelina is north-east from Zagreb, connected: by A4 highway , then state road Sv.Helena - Sveti Ivan Zelina,-Population:...

     and the village of Sveti Ivan Žabno
    Sveti Ivan Žabno
    Sveti Ivan Žabno is a municipality in the Koprivnica-Križevci County in Croatia. According to the 2001 census, there are 5,628 inhabitants in the area, Croats forming an absolute majority at 98%....

     in Croatia
    Croatia
    Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

     were named after John the Baptist. Both have churches dedicated to him.

Famous churches

  • Two different Churches of St. John the Baptist in Ein Karem, traditional place of his birth
  • Basilica of St. John Lateran
    Basilica of St. John Lateran
    The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran , commonly known as St. John Lateran's Archbasilica and St. John Lateran's Basilica, is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope...

  • St. John the Baptist of Coventry
    Coventry
    Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

  • St. John the Baptist of Burford
    Burford
    Burford is a small town on the River Windrush in the Cotswold hills in west Oxfordshire, England, about west of Oxford, southeast of Cheltenham and only from the Gloucestershire boundary...

    , a large parish church reflecting the wealth generated by the town's wool trade, and substantially completed in the 15th century.
  • The parish church adjoining Stokesay Castle
    Stokesay Castle
    Stokesay Castle is a fortified manor house in Stokesay, a mile south of the town of Craven Arms, in southern Shropshire. It was built in the late 13th century...

    , one of the very few constructed under the Commonwealth
    Commonwealth of England
    The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

    .
  • St. John the Baptist
    Basilica of St. John the Baptist
    The Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador is the metropolitan cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John's, Newfoundland and the mother church and symbol of Roman Catholicism in Newfoundland....

     in St. John's
    St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
    St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

    , Newfoundland
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

     (Basilica-cathedral)
  • St. John the Baptist
    Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (St. John's)
    The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is located in the city of St. John's, Newfoundland. This parish in the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador was founded in 1699 in response to a petition drafted by the Anglican townsfolk of St. John's and sent to the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev....

     in St. John's
    St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
    St. John's is the capital and largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador, and is the oldest English-founded city in North America. It is located on the eastern tip of the Avalon Peninsula on the island of Newfoundland. With a population of 192,326 as of July 1, 2010, the St...

    , Newfoundland
    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

     (Anglican Cathedral)
  • San Giovanni Battista of Cesena
    Cesena
    Cesena is a city and comune in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, south of Ravenna and west of Rimini, on the Savio River, co-chief of the Province of Forlì-Cesena. It is at the foot of the Apennines, and about 15 km from the Adriatic Sea.-History:Cesena was originally an Umbrian...

     (cathedral)
  • San Giovanni Battista of Rimini
    Rimini
    Rimini is a medium-sized city of 142,579 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa...

     (cathedral)
  • San Giovanni Battista  Turin
    Turin
    Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

     (cathedral)
  • Saint-Jean-Baptiste d'Audresselles
    Audresselles
    Audresselles is a commune south of Cape Gris Nez in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France.The commune covers about 2000 acres of cultivated lands, two beaches, and seashore cliffs...

  • St. John's Cathedral of Valletta
    Valletta
    Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's...

  • Greek Orthodox Church of St John the Baptist Located on Ha-Notsrim street in the Christian Quarter, Old Jerusalem
  • Church of St. John the Baptist, Mudgee, New South Wales
    New South Wales
    New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

    , Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

  • St. John's (Episcopal) Church, Elizabeth, New Jersey
    Elizabeth, New Jersey
    Elizabeth is a city in Union County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 124,969, retaining its ranking as New Jersey's fourth largest city with an increase of 4,401 residents from its 2000 Census population of 120,568...

    , where the youngest signer of the United States Constitution is buried, Jonathan Dayton, and the 1769 wedding site of the parents of Elizabeth Ann Seton
    Elizabeth Ann Seton
    Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church . She established Catholic communities in Emmitsburg, Maryland....

     (first American Roman Catholic saint)
  • Chapel of St. John the Baptist (Capela de São João Baptista), 18th century, at the time an expensive chapel in Europe. It is in the Igreja de São Roque (Lisbon)
    Igreja de São Roque (Lisbon)
    The Igreja de São Roque in Lisbon was the earliest Jesuit church in the Portuguese world, and one of the first Jesuit churches anywhere. It served as the Society’s home church in Portugal for over 200 years, before the Jesuits were expelled from that country...

  • Cathedral of St John the Baptist, Warsaw, Poland. Coronation and Burial Site of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, last King of Poland.
  • Monastery of St John The Baptist Bigorski, Macedonia. Built in 1020, destroyed by the Turks in the 16th century and then rebuilt in 1743. Famous for its iconostasis.
  • Cathedral of St John the Baptist
    Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Charleston)
    The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, located in Charleston, South Carolina. The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, D.D., the thirteenth Bishop of Charleston, was ordained and installed on March 25, 2009.The first brownstone...

     in Charleston
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

    , South Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

  • St. John the Evangelist Parish (Bergenfield, NJ)

Film and television portrayals


John the Baptist has appeared in a number of screen adaptations of the life of Jesus. Actors who have played John include Robert Ryan
Robert Ryan
Robert Bushnell Ryan was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains.-Early life and career:...

 in King of Kings (1961), Mario Socrate in The Gospel According to St. Matthew
The Gospel According to St. Matthew (film)
The Gospel According to St. Matthew is a 1964 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection....

(1964), Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

 in The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Greatest Story Ever Told
The Greatest Story Ever Told is a 1965 American epic film produced and directed by George Stevens and distributed by United Artists. It is a retelling of the story of Jesus Christ, from the Nativity through the Resurrection. This film is notable for its large ensemble cast and for being the last...

(1965), David Haskell
David Haskell
David Michael Haskell was an American film, stage and television actor and singer.-Career:Haskell is best remembered for his dual performance in the 1970s in the New York City, New York, Off-Broadway musical-theatre production Godspell and its subsequent film adaptation Godspell: A Musical Based...

 in Godspell
Godspell (film)
Godspell, released in 1973, is the film adaptation of the Off-Broadway musical Godspell created by John-Michael Tebelak.Set in modern New York City, the film stars Victor Garber as Jesus and David Haskell as John the Baptist/Judas...

(1973), Michael York
Michael York (actor)
Michael York, OBE is an English actor.-Early life:York was born in Fulmer, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, the son of Florence Edith May , a musician; and Joseph Gwynne Johnson, a Llandovery born Welsh ex-Royal Artillery British Army officer and executive with Marks and Spencer department stores...

 in Jesus of Nazareth (1977), and Andre Gregory
Andre Gregory
Andre William Gregory is an American theatre director, writer and actor.Gregory studied at Harvard University.During the 1960s and 1970s, Gregory directed a number of avant-garde productions developed through ensemble collaboration, the most famous of which was Alice In Wonderland , based on Lewis...

 in The Last Temptation of Christ
The Last Temptation of Christ (film)
The Last Temptation of Christ is a 1988 drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the controversial 1953 novel of the same name by Nikos Kazantzakis. It stars Willem Dafoe as Jesus Christ, Harvey Keitel as Judas Iscariot, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, David Bowie as...

(1988).

See also

  • Baptism of Jesus
    Baptism of Jesus
    The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus Christ's public ministry. This event is recorded in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In John 1:29-33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode...

  • Biblical narratives and the Qur'an
  • Chronology of Jesus
    Chronology of Jesus
    The chronology of Jesus aims to establish a historical order for some of the events of the life of Jesus in the four canonical gospels. The Christian gospels were primarily written as theological documents rather than historical chronicles and their authors showed little interest in an absolute...

  • Cultural and historical background of Jesus
    Cultural and historical background of Jesus
    Most scholars who study the Historical Jesus and Early Christianity believe that the Canonical Gospels and life of Jesus must be viewed as firmly placed within his historical and cultural context, rather than purely in terms of Christian orthodoxy...

  • Ebionites
    Ebionites
    Ebionites, or Ebionaioi, , is a patristic term referring to a Jewish Christian sect or sects that existed during the first centuries of the Christian Era. They regarded Jesus as the Messiah and insisted on the necessity of following Jewish religious law and rites...

  • Elijah
  • Johannite
    Gnosticism
    Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

  • Legends and the Qur'an
  • Messengers from John the Baptist
    Messengers from John the Baptist
    The Messengers from John the Baptist is an episode in the life of Jesus that appears in and .In the New Testament this episode takes place after the Baptism of Jesus when John the Baptist is in prison and hears of the works performed by Jesus...

  • Prophets of Islam
    Prophets of Islam
    Muslims identify the Prophets of Islam as those humans chosen by God and given revelation to deliver to mankind. Muslims believe that every prophet was given a belief to worship God and their respective followers believed it as well...

  • Stories of The Prophets
    Stories of The Prophets
    Stories of The Prophets or Qasas al-anbiya is a famous work of Islamic literature, written by the Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir. In the book, Kathir has compiled all accounts of information regarding various prophets and messengers through Islamic history...



Books on John the Baptist

  • Brooks Hansen
    Brooks Hansen
    Brooks Hansen is an American novelist, screenwriter, and illustrator best known for his 1995 book The Chess Garden. He has also written one young adult's novel. He lives with his family in Carpinteria, California. He was the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005.-Works:* Boone ...

     (2009) John the Baptizer: A Novel. New York: W. W. Norton
    W. W. Norton
    W. W. Norton & Company is an independent American book publishing company based in New York City. It is well known for its "Norton Anthologies", particularly the Norton Anthology of English Literature and the "Norton Critical Editions" series of texts which are frequently assigned in university...

    . ISBN 978-0-393-06947-1
  • Murphy, Catherine M. (2003) John the Baptist: Prophet of Purity for a New Age. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. ISBN 0-8146-5933-0
  • Taylor, Joan E. (1997) The Immerser: John the Baptist within Second Temple Judaism. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-4236-4
  • W. Barnes Tatum (1994) John the Baptist and Jesus: A Report of the Jesus Seminar., Sonoma, California: Polebridge Press, 1994, ISBN 0-944344-42-9
  • Webb, Robert L. (1991) John the Baptizer and Prophet: a Socio-Historical Study. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59752-986-0 (first published Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991)

Accounts in ancient literature

  • Josephus
    Josephus
    Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

    wrote that "...Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the remission of some sins, but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness." (Josephus, AJ, 18.5.2)

Islamic view

  • J.C.L Gibson, John the Baptist in Muslim writings, in MW, xlv (1955), 334-345

Passages in the Qur'an


External links