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Beheading of John the Baptist. Where is the Head of Saint John the Baptist?

Saint John the Baptist was born in the city of Orini into the family of the priest Zacharias. His mother, Elizabeth, was a descendant of the tribe of Aaron. The birth of the prophet John took place six months before the birth of Jesus. But unfortunately, just like his Savior, he ended up with martyrdom. By reading this article, you will find out the hidden story of the beheading of John the Baptist.

From the Gospels, we know that Herod, at a feast celebrating his birthday, cut off the head of St John the Baptist at Herodias’ request. At the time, St John was imprisoned in Herod’s castle at Maheras. John rebuked Herod for his ungodly living with Herodias, his brother’s wife. In her hatred of death, Herodias advised Salomea, her daughter, who had danced and pleased the guests, especially Herod, to ask for the Baptist’s head as a reward. According to Church tradition, the head of St John had a unique history.

According to Christian tradition, the day St John’s head was cut off is considered a day of fasting and prayer. The feast day is likened to Passion Friday, and it is said that just as we fast every Friday as the day of crucifixion, so it is fitting to fast on this day. Along with this feast came several traditions and superstitions.

Read also: Questions about Jesus’ baptism.


Who died first, Jesus or John the Baptist?

Of course, the primary century Jewish student of history, Josephus, lets us know that John the Baptist kicked the bucket well after the year typically ascribed to the execution of Jesus. In light of his Antiquities of the Jews, we realize that the wedding occurred in 34 CE, and it tends to be expected that John was not detained until something like 35 CE. 

The biblical accounts say that John the Baptist passed on before Jesus Christ. Herod Antipas detained him for scrutinizing his union with his sibling’s previous spouse and held him in Galilee, where Herod’s significant other fooled Herod into having John guillotined, contrary to what Herod would usually prefer.

Ruler Aretas went after and crushed Antipas in 36 CE in vengeance for the slight to his little girl, whom Herod Antipas had separated. The Jews saw the loss as God’s discipline for his execution of John the Baptist, which more likely than not occurred quickly before this fight.

Read also: Beheading of John the Baptist. Where is the Head of Saint John the Baptist?

What year was John the Baptist executed?

Herod Antipas grinned and gestured with endorsement. His progression girl Salome* influenced and whirled before him and his birthday-celebration visitors, her effortless figure filling them with yearning. Aggravated by his faculties and mindset apart from everything else, Herod cried, “Ask me what you need – up to a large portion of my realm – and it is yours!” And he also swore a truly extraordinary pledge to affirm his guarantee.

A well-established custom asserts that John was executed on this day, August 29, presumably around the year A.D. 28. Glancing around at his visitors, he saw just something single. If he somehow managed to hide any hint of failure, he should satisfy his guarantee. He requested the execution.

What happened to John’s head? We don’t have the foggiest idea. His followers came and covered the body. Stays claimed to be his were subsequently taken to Alexandria, Egypt, and put in a uniquely assembled church.

Read also: Epiphany (holiday). Synaxis of St. John the Baptist


Why was John the Baptist beheaded?

As per Matthew 14:1-12 and Mark 6:14-29, Herodias, the spouse of King Herod Antipas, was liable for convincing her significant other to decapitate John the Baptist.

Mark 6:19 statement affirms that “Herodias breastfed resentment against John and needed to kill him.” The thought in the first Greek language is that Herodias effectively looked for John’s demise. Awaiting her opportunity, Herodias sat tight for a chance to act. 

Jumping all over the chance of Herod’s birthday celebration, Herodias set about her arrangement to have John the Baptist put ridiculously. Herodias’ girl’s exhibition enormously satisfied the lord and his visitors. Herod told the young lady, “Ask me for anything you like, and I will give it to you . . . up to a large portion of my realm!” (Mark 6:22-23, NLT). With these words, King Herod paraded his liberality and significance before his visitors; however, soon, he would profoundly lament this commitment.

Read also: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Meaning of Matthew 27:46


What did Salome do to John the Baptist?

Salome, the little girl of Herod II and Herodias, granddaughter of Herod the Great and stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, is known from the New Testament, where she isn’t named, and from a record by Flavius Josephus. In the New Testament, the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas requests and gets the head of John the Baptist. As per Josephus, she was first hitched to her uncle Philip the Tetrarch, after whose passing (AD 34), she wedded her cousin Aristobulus of Chalcis, subsequently becoming sovereign of Chalcis and Armenia Minor.

Salome played an essential role in the beheading of John the Baptist because she danced and ordered John to be killed. Salomé’s story was made the subject of a symbolist play by Oscar Wilde that was first restricted in London in 1892 while practices were in progress. Along these lines debuted in Paris in 1896 under the French name Salomé. Salome takes up John’s cut-off head and kisses it in the finale.

Since British regulation denied the portrayal of scriptural characters on stage at the time, Wilde composed the play initially in French and delivered an English interpretation (named Salome).

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Key Verse related to The Beheading of John’s Head

“His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.”

 Matthew 14:11 (NIV)

Beheading of John the Baptist

Why did Herod’s daughter want John’s head?

Salome, Herod’s little girl, had performed outstandingly before her dad and his visitors, inciting him to make a guarantee to her. He guaranteed her that he would satisfy any solicitation she made.

The young lady, Salome, wanted John’s head because her mother ordered her to. She went to her mom and illuminated what her dad had guaranteed her and that she was sitting tight for a reaction from her mom. Herodias demanded retribution on John the Baptist because of his sentence.

She educated her to illuminate her dad that she wanted the head of John the Baptist on a platter. He did nothing since he guaranteed her something and would not pull out of that promise. Galilee’s officers and persuasive men

Read also: The apostles of Jesus: How Jesus’ followers founded Christianity.


What did Salome do with John’s head?

Salome, with the Head of St. John the Baptist, didn’t put Guido Reni on the map. His seventeenth-century Italian frescos made him the imaginative sweetheart of Bologne. This painting catches a Bible story with a particular picture. Salome’s story spins around magnificence, commitment, and cold hating. These topics make Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist Reni’s work of art.

Salome desperately wanted the head of John the Baptist for fun and amusement at his expense and to offer it to her mother as a trophy. Salome’s mom then, at that point, obliged her to request St. John the Baptist’s head. This shows more detesting. The Queen felt decided by the Saint. She subsequently needed him dead. Salome felt obliged to her mom. Thus, she asked King Herod what her mom needed – St. John’s head. In this scene, we see the outcome.

Salome grips St. John’s hair while getting a handle on her magnificent pink dress. Her stone articulation shows that Salome’s gone to the dark side. This shift might have happened when she did the attractive dance for her stepfather. Or on the other hand, her heart might have iced into ice when she requested the Saint’s decapitation.

Read also: Saint Cyprian. Bishop and Martyr of Carthage


How many times was John’s head lost?

The head of St. John the Baptist was present here until the time of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helena when St. John the Baptist appeared to two monks and commanded them to dig up his honest head. 

According to Church tradition, the head of St. John had a unique history; it was lost and found three times. The first and second finding of the head is celebrated on 24 February, and the third finding of the head of St John the Baptist is observed on 25 May.

During the struggle against the holy icons, the head of St John was buried at Comane, from where it was brought to Constantinople by St Ignatius (860) in the time of Emperor Michael. This is the third and last discovery of the honored head.

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Where is the head of John the Baptist?

After a while, a wealthy and glorified landowner believed in Christ, renouncing his social position and all the vanity of this world; he became a monk, taking the name of Inochentius. Wishing to build a chapel and a small church, he dug deep and discovered a pot of earth ahead. He found it to be that of John the Baptist by divine revelation.

It is said that the head of John the Baptist was buried in the ground somewhere in the holy land in the city of Emesa. When he was nearing his passage to eternal life, the monarch, lest he should be found and defiled by the heathen multiplying in the area, took it away and hid it again in the same place.

The head of St John the Baptist was present here until the time of the Holy Emperors Constantine and Helena when St John the Baptist appeared to two monks and commanded them to dig up his honored head. 

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Primary Takeaways

  • Salome with the Head of St. John the Baptist feels like the occasion. After all, the dead Saint has an undeniably more significant briskness. His appearance additionally carries a lovely harmony to gen.
  • The exquisite Salome registers cold hating for her lousy demonstration. We see this in the manner she pulls at her skirt. Salome’s stretching endlessly in disdain. 
  • According to tradition, Saint Joan, the wife of Herod’s governor, is the one who took the head of Saint John the Baptist from Herodias’ court and buried it in Jerusalem, on Mount Elgon, in an earthen vessel.

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It is the last major feast of the church year, as a new year begins on 1 September. The day of the beheading of St John the Baptist is fast. We are asked to fast on this day, on the one hand, so as not to resemble Herod, who, because of his unmeasured hospitality, invited Salome to dance and, as a reward, offered her the head of St John the Baptist, and on the other hand to resemble the broken life of John.

This is the third and final discovery of the honored head. Some have argued that the day of the Beheading of St John the Baptist foreshadows Good Friday. And as we fast every Friday as the day of the crucifixion of the Lord, so we should fast on this day.

Thank you for participating in this article and for making this even more interactive; please play the following quiz to test your knowledge of this biblical feast. Have a nice day!

Bible Trivia about The Beheading of John the Baptist

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  • Scarre, A. M. (1910). The Beheading of John the Baptist by Mog Ruith. Ériu, 173-181.
  • Vette, N., & Robinson, W. (2019). The Origins of Mark 6: 14-29. The Biblical Annals9(2), 335-354.
  • Bikker, J. (2006). Is the Rijksmuseum’s first’Rembrandt’a Fabritius? Some Notes on” The Beheading of John the Baptist”. Oud Holland, 110-119.
  • NEUFELD, G. (1970). Rembrandt’s Beheading of John the Baptist. Oud Holland85(3), 177-179.
  • Weren, W. J. (2019). Herodias and Salome in Mark’s story about the beheading of John the Baptist. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies75(4).