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The Beheading of John the Baptist

Divine Liturgy - Friday August 29th at 9:30 am

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The Beheading of the Prophet, Forerunner of the Lord, John the Baptist: The Evangelists Matthew (Mt.14:1-12) and Mark (Mark 6:14-29) provide accounts about the martyric end of John the Baptist in the year 32 after the Birth of Christ.

Following the Baptism of the Lord, St John the Baptist was locked up in prison by Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch (ruler of one fourth of the Holy Land) and governor of Galilee. (After the death of king Herod the Great, the Romans divided the territory of Palestine into four parts, and put a governor in charge of each part. Herod Antipas received Galilee from the emperor Augustus).

The prophet of God John openly denounced Herod for having left his lawful wife, the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas, and then instead cohabiting with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Luke 3:19-20). On his birthday, Herod made a feast for dignitaries, the elders and a thousand chief citizens. Salome, the daughter of Herod, danced before the guests and charmed Herod. In gratitude to the girl, he swore to give her whatever she would ask, up to half his kingdom.

The vile girl on the advice of her wicked mother Herodias asked that she be given the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod became apprehensive, for he feared the wrath of God for the murder of a prophet, whom earlier he had heeded. He also feared the people, who loved the holy Forerunner. But because of the guests and his careless oath, he gave orders to cut off the head of St John and to give it to Salome.

According to Tradition, the mouth of the dead preacher of repentance once more opened and proclaimed: “Herod, you should not have the wife of your brother Philip.” Salome took the platter with the head of St John and gave it to her mother. The frenzied Herodias repeatedly stabbed the tongue of the prophet with a needle and buried his holy head in a unclean place. But the pious Joanna, wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, buried the head of John the Baptist in an earthen vessel on the Mount of Olives, where Herod had a parcel of land. (The Uncovering of the Venerable Head is celebrated (February 24). The holy body of John the Baptist was taken that night by his disciples and buried at Sebastia, there where the wicked deed had been done.

After the murder of St John the Baptist, Herod continued to govern for a certain time. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, later sent Jesus Christ to him, Whom he mocked (Luke 23:7-12).

The judgment of God came upon Herod, Herodias and Salome, even during their earthly life. Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way in such a way that her body was in the water, but her head was trapped above the ice. It was similar to how she once had danced with her feet upon the ground, but now she flailed helplessly in the icy water. Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck.

Her corpse was not found, but they brought the head to Herod and Herodias, as once they had brought them the head of St John the Baptist. The Arab king Aretas, in revenge for the disrespect shown his daughter, made war against Herod. The defeated Herod suffered the wrath of the Roman emperor Caius Caligua (37-41) and was exiled with Herodias first to Gaul, and then to Spain.

The Beheading of St John the Baptist, a Feast day established by the Church, is also a strict fast day because of the grief of Christians at the violent death of the saint. In some Orthodox cultures pious people will not eat food from a flat plate, use a knife, or eat food that is round in shape on this day.

Today the Church makes remembrance of Orthodox soldiers killed on the field of battle, as established in 1769 at the time of Russia’s war with the Turks and the Poles.

ALSO, Please Join Us for Regular Weekly Divine Liturgy 

Sunday, August 31st at 10:00 am

 

 

                   Who We Are 

 

     We are a family church of many cultures with intergenerational worship; we have a full liturgical life throughout the Church year, with many opportunities for joyful fellowship and enduring growth. Our vision is to “manifest the Kingdom of God by proclaiming and living the Orthodox Christian Faith.” Orthodox Christianity is for everyone — come and see!

 

     Located at the north end of California's San Joaquin Valley, St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to His promise of salvation to all mankind. The services of our mission-parish are located in the heart of Merced, in the beautiful Chapel at Mercy Medical Center's “Dominican Campus” on M Street, just south of Bear Creek. Committed to serving Christ and His Holy Church, the people of St. Mary Magdalene welcome and encourage all visitors to be our guests, especially those who are truly seeking the path of salvation. 

 

Father David's Sermons 

Click a link below to hear a sermon:

 "Our Identity" 

July 13, 2014: Sunday of the Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils

 

"Risking for the Kingdom"  

August 10, 2014: Sunday After the Transfiguration of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

 

"St. Cosmas the Aetolian and Discipleship" 

August 24, 2014: 2nd Sunday After the Dormition of the Most-Holy Theotokos

 

   Audio Archives HERE

Schedule of Services

 

 

Sunday

8:00 AM -- Matins

 

 9:40 AM -- Office of the Hours (precedes the Divine Liturgy)

 

10:00 AM -- Divine Liturgy (the main Sunday service) 

 

After services we gather for brunch and fellowship.

 

Tuesdsay

7:00 PM - Office of Vespers

 

7:45 - 9:00 PM Bible Study: Acts of the Apostles

 

Saturday

 

5:00 PM -- Office of Vespers, or Vigil

(worship preparing us for the Lord’s Day)

 

Services for Feast Days

     St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church keeps a full schedule of services for the major feast days of the Church Year. On the eve of the Feast Day, we serve Vespers or Vigil. On the day of the Feast, we serve the Divine Liturgy (Holy Eucharist). The schedule for Feast Days is found on the Calendars & Schedule pageClick HERE.

Directions & Location

 

     St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church holds services at the Chapel of Mercy Outpatient Center (also called "Dominican Campus") located at 2740 M Street, Merced, CA 95340, between 27th Street and Bear Creek Drive.  The entrance to the chapel is from the Bear Creek Side (north side). Go to the Driving Directions page for a map and detailed directions. Click HERE.

 

 

Reading and Listening
Readings from Daily Worship Services - 08/28/14

Scripture Readings

Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9

Wisdom of Solomon 5:15-6:3

Wisdom of Solomon 4:7-15

Matthew 11:27-30

Galatians 5:22-6:2

Luke 6:17-23

2 Corinthians 7:1-10

Mark 1:29-35


 

Listen to the Weekday Gospels and Epistles

by clicking here ---> 

 

Ancient Faith Radio
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Today We Celebrate
Saint Job of Pochaev - 08/28/14

Saint Job of Pochaev died on October 28, 1651, and his relics were transferred to the church of the Holy Trinity on August 28, 1659. A second uncovering of the relics took place on August 28, 1833. In the year 1902, the Holy Synod decreed that on this day the holy relics of St Job be carried around the Dormition cathedral of the Pochaev Lavra after the Divine Liturgy.


 

The icon of St. Mary Magdalene at the top of each page used by permission of Maria Tsimboka, the iconographer,
and the K-W Gift Gallery, the North American distributor of this artist's work.





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