Сhristians of Eastern tradition celebrate Nativity of John the Baptist on July 7
On July 7, New Style (June 24 Old Style) the Eastern Churches celebrate the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The memory of John the Baptist or John the Forerunner occupies a special place in the eastern liturgical tradition. Among the other feasts the one of St. John the Baptist is honored the most – six feasts are celebrated in his honor during the year.
They include the Feast of the Conception, Christmas, Beheading, First and Second Discovery of the Forerunner's Head, and the Council of St. John the Baptist after Epiphany. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist is the largest of all festivals in his honor.
St. John the Baptist was a messenger of God to inform people about the coming of the Messiah and his living presence on earth. He pointed to the Savior and baptized him in the Jordan River. This saint taught, preached, baptized, denounced the sins, and upheld justice. His life was a continuous offering. The saint bravely took martyrdom for Christ and his holy teaching. By order of Herod Antipas John the Baptist was beheaded.
The Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist dates back to the fourth century. Sermons on this feast are found in the works of St. John Chrysostom, Ambrose and Augustine.
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist coincides with the holiday of Midsummer, celebrated in pre-Christian times. At different times, the Church tried to overcome pagan traditions celebrating the Nativity of John the Baptist, but this attempt was not entirely successful. Many Christian holidays now combine Christian and pagan traditions.
Countless shrines were consecrated in honor of St John the Baptist, the saint’s life events also has been represented in iconography.