Scripture Readings (KJV)
(Matins Gospel, Forerunner)
17And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.
18And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
19And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
20When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
21And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
22Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
23And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
24And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
25But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.
26But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
29And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
30But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
1In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
9And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
10Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.
11Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
12And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
Genesis 5.1-24 (Vespers)
1This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
4And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
6And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
7And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
8And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
9And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:
10And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:
11And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
12And Cainan lived seventy years, and begat Mahalaleel:
13And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
14And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
15And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
16And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:
17And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
18And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:
19And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
20And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
21And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
Proverbs 6.3-20 (Vespers)
3Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
12A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
13He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
14Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
15Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
20My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
2 Corinthians 4.6-15
6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
2Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
7And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
8But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
9But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
10For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
13For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
14And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
15He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
First (4th c.) and Second (9th c.) Findings of the Precious Head of St John the Baptist
After the Forerunner was beheaded at the order of Herod and his illicit wife Herodias, his head was discarded in what the Synaxarion calls “an unseemly location,” presumably a privy. According to some, it was secretly recovered by Joanna, one of the Myrrhbearing women, and given honorable burial near Jerusalem. There it was found, through a revelation of the Forerunner, by two monks who had come to Jerusalem to worship at the tomb of our Savior (the first finding). Putting the head in a bag, the monks returned home. On the way, they met an indigent potter from Emesa. That night the Forerunner appeared to the poor man and instructed him to make off with the relic. He returned with it to Emesa and immediately began to prosper in his business. Just before he died, he put the holy relic in a chest, which he left to his sister with these instructions: never to open it without instructions from the one hidden inside it; and to pass it on to a pious man beloved of God. Thus the Head of the Baptist passed through many generations, eventually being concealed in a cave near a monastery founded during the reign of Marcian (450-457), whose abbot was the godly Marcellus.
The blessed Forerunner appeared several times to Marcellus, embracing him and once even giving him a pot of honey. The Baptist ordered Marcellus to follow a star which led him to the cave and came to rest in front of a niche in the wall. Marcellus dug there and came upon a marble slab, under which was a large jar containing the precious Head. The holy relic was taken with rejoicing to the cathedral in Emesa,where it worked many wonders. In the reign of Michael III (842-867), it was taken to Constantinople. It was at this translation that the present Feast was instituted.
The version given here is that of St Symeon Metaphrastes. Other sources give substantially different accounts.
The Prologue observes: “It is important and interesting to note that, while he was alive, John did not work a single miracle (Jn 10:41), but to his relics was given the blessed power of working miracles.”
Saint Aethelberht (Ethelbert), first Christian King of Kent (616)
In 597, a party of forty missionary monks, led by St Augustine of Canterbury (May 28), was sent to Britain by the holy Pope Gregory the Great, to bring the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ to the English people. Aethelberht, who had been King of Kent for thirty-six years, received the monks favorably, allowed them to preach in his kingdom, and invited them to establish their headquarters in Canterbury, his capital city, which already contained a small, ruined church dedicated to St Martin of Tours in Roman times.
The king himself was converted and received holy Baptism at the hands of St Augustine; a crowd of his subjects followed his example. When St Augustine was consecrated bishop, Aethelberht allowed him to be made Archbishop of Canterbury and gave his own palace to serve as a monastery. The king worked steadily for the conversion of the neighboring kindoms, and in 604 established an episcopal see in London. Unlike some Christian rulers, he refused to see anyone converted forcibly.
Saint Aethelberht reposed in peace in 616, after reigning for fifty-six years. He was buried in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, which he had established. Many miracles were worked at his tomb, where a lamp was kept lit perpetually until the monastery was disbanded by the Protestants in 1538.