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Christian Saints

St. John the Baptist


St. John the Baptist, son of St. Elisabeth and the priest Zacharias, announces and precedes the coming of the Messiah and is therefore known as the Precursor. His story is told in the Gospels: Matthew 3: 1-17; 14:1-12; Mark 1:1-12; 6:7-29; Luke 3:1-20; John 1:29-34.The future apostles Peter and Andrew were numbered among his disciples.
       When time came, John the Baptist appeared in Judaea. He was wearing a 'rough coat of camel's hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locust and wild honey. (Matthew 3:4). John proclaimed: "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is upon you!' And people from jerusalem, Judaea, and the Jordan valley hurried to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. (Mathew 3:5-6). John baptized Jesus and recognized him as the Messiah.
       King Herod was much disturbed by the activities of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ.
       John was imprisoned for censuring the incestuous marriage between Herod Antipas and Herodias, the wife of his brother. Herod would have liked to put John the Baptist to death, but he was afraid of the people, in whose eyes John was a prophet.
       At Herod's birthday party the daughter of Herodias, Salome, danced before the guests, and Herod was so delighted that gave an oath to fulfill any of her wishes. Prompted by her mother, Salome asked for the head of St. John the Baptist be presented to her on a dish. At this the king was distressed, but because of his oath he ordered the request be granted, and had John beheaded in prison. The head was brought on a dish and given to the girl; and she carried it to her mother.
Then Johns disciples came and took away the body, and buried it. (Matthew 14: 1-12).
       Since the Middle ages John the Baptist is usually depicted wearing sheepskin, carrying a stick topped by a crucifix, a medallion with a lamb, or accompanied by a white lamb.

See: Fra Bartolommeo The Annunciation, with Saints Margaret, Mary Magdalene, Paul, John the Baptist, Jerome and Francis, The Holy Family with St. John the Baptist.
Giovanni Bellini. Head of St. John the Baptist.
Jacopo Bellini. St. John the Baptist Preaching.
Hieronymus Bosch Mary and St. John at the Foot of the Cross, St. John the Baptist.
Botticelli Virgin and Child Enthroned between Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist; Madonna and Child and the Young St. John the Baptist, The Virgin and Child with John the Baptist.
François Boucher. The Baby Jesus and the Infant Saint John.
Agnolo Bronzino. St. John the Baptist.
Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The Sermon of St. John the Baptist.
Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The Testimony of John the Baptist.
Robert Campin Heinrich von Werl and St. John the Baptist.
Caravaggio St. John the Baptist, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Baptist, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist, Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist.
Andrea del Castagno. Madonna and Child with Angels, SS. John the Baptist and Jerome, and Two Youths from the Pazzi Household.
Cima da Conegliano. The Virgin and Mary between St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen.
Cimabue Madonna and Child with the Baptist and St. Peter.
Francesco del Cossa. St. John the Baptist. Side panel of the Grifoni Polyptych.
Dionysius. St. John the Baptist.
Domenico Veneziano. St. John in the Desert. St. John the Baptist and St. Francis. The Madonna and Child Enthroned with SS. Francis, John the Baptist, Zenobius and Lucy.
Jan van Eyck The Birth of John the Baptist.
El Greco The Holy Family with St. Anne and the Young John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist and St. Francis.St. John the Baptist.
Gentile da Fabriano. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Nicholas of Bari, St. John the Baptist, St. George.
Giotto. Birth and Naming of John the Baptist. The Feast of Herod.
Giusto de' Menabuoi. The Birth of John the Baptist.
Alexander Ivanov Head of John the Baptist.
Georges de La Tour St. John the Baptist in the Desert.
Leonardo da Vinci St. John the Baptist, John the Baptist.
Filippino Lippi St. John the Baptist, Madonna and Child Enthroned with St. John the Baptist, St. Victor, St. Bernard and St. Zenobius ("Altarpiece of the Otto di Pratica").
Fra Filippo Lippi The Feast of Herod: Salome's Dance, The Adoration, with the Infant Baptist and St. Bernard.
Andrea Mantegna. Holy Family with St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist as a Child.
Masaccio The Beheading of St. John the Baptist.
Masolino Herod's Banquet.
Hans Memling St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalen, Altar of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist.
Anton Raphael Mengs. St. John the Baptist.
Michelangelo Tondo Pitti - Virgin and Child with the Young St. John, Doni Tondo - The Holy Family with St. John the Baptist.
Pietro Perugino. Madonna and Child Enthroned with St. John the Baptist and St. Sebastian.
Piero della Francesca. St. Sebastian and St. John the Baptist.
Pontormo. Birth of St. John the Baptist.
Nicolas Poussin St. John Baptizing, Holy Family with John the Baptist and St. Elizabeth.
Raphael The Boy Baptist in the Desert.
Sir Joshua Reynolds. Child Baptist in the Wilderness.
Russian Icon. St. John the Baptist.
Luca Signorelli. The Birth of St. John the Baptist.
Titian St. John the Baptist, Salome.
Rogier van der Weyden St. John Altarpiece. The Birth of St. John the Baptist, Beheading of St. John the Baptist.

Recommended reading:
The Book of Saints: The Lives of the Saints According to the Liturgical Calendar by George Angelini, Victor Hoagland (Editor). Regina Press, Malhame & Company, 1986.
The Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards. Tyndale House Publishers, 1992.
John the Baptist and Jesus: A Report of the Jesus Seminar by W. Barnes Tatum. Polebridge Press, 1994.
The Immerser: John the Baptist Within Second Temple Judaism (Studying the Historical Jesus) by Joan E. Taylor. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997.
Voices in the Wilderness, They Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Historical Novel with Maps, Edited Scrolls, and Sources
by Aubrey Richardson. Aubrey Richardson, 1999.
The Friend of the Bridegroom: On the Orthodox Veneration of the Forerunner by Sergius Bulgakov, Boris Jakim (Translator). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003.
 

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