Today, June 19, is the Feast of St. John the Baptist (also called the Forerunner), and Bishop Athenogenes.
John the Baptist is prominent in each of the four Gospels. He is associated with the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and is considered to be the “forerunner” to Jesus the Messiah. He baptized those who repented their sins, and he preached of the coming of one after him who is greater than he and would baptize not with water but with the Spirit. In the third chapter of Matthew, John is reluctant to baptize Jesus and does so only after encouragement from Jesus. The Armenian Church considers St. John the Baptist as one of the two prime intercessors to Jesus, the other being the Blessed Mother.
Athenogenes, a bishop and theologian was burned to death along with ten of his disciples in Sebastia, Armenia, during the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian. Athenogenes wrote a hymn of praise proclaiming the divinity of the Holy Spirit. He is remembered as singing this hymn as he went into the flames.
Posted from Armenian Prelacy’s (Eastern) Crossroads E-Newsletter