John the Baptist


July 6, 2022

John the Baptist (Ancient Greek: Ιωάννης ο Βαπτιστής, Latin: Ioannes Baptista) (circa 7 BC - 29 AD) was a Jewish itinerant preacher. An important religious figure in Christianity, Islam, and Baha'i. He is considered a prophet or messenger of God by these religions and revered as a saint in some Christian traditions, thus his Catholic or Orthodox name is Saint John the Baptist.

In the Bible

His figure appears in the New Testament. The Gospels portray him as a forerunner of Jesus, as John prepared the people for the coming of Jesus. According to the Gospel of Luke, he was a relative of Jesus on his mother's side. He was born six months before Jesus, his father Zacharias was a Jewish priest, and his mother Elizabeth. Zacharias was punished by God with silence, because when an angel told him that a son would be born, he did not believe it, because he was already very old; he remained silent until the birth of János. John lived in the wilderness before he began to preach. "He wore clothes of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and forest honey" and he often fasted. He preached to the people about the coming of Christ and preached repentance. He baptized people in the water of the Jordan River. This is where the sacrament of baptism for Christians comes from. Jesus himself went to him to be baptized, which John - who then recognized Jesus as the Savior - did not want to do at first, because he felt that he was unworthy, but Jesus said to him: "Let me now, because this is how it behooves us to fulfill all righteousness." Although King Herod respected and feared him because he considered him a holy man, he still accepted John because he condemned him for marrying his brother's widow, Herodias. As a result of the woman's manipulations, the king beheaded John (according to the Bible, when Herodias' daughter Salome danced in front of the king, and he promised to grant her any wish, and her mother instructed Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a tray.) According to Iosephus Flavius, he died a martyr's death in the fortress east of the Jordan, in the castle of Mahérusz. Jesus mentioned John the Baptist as the greatest man of his time.

In the Islamic tradition

The Koranic story of his birth is identical to the biblical one. The Koran provides several details about his life, including the fact that the animals did not hurt him because they recognized him as a holy man. The reason for his imprisonment here is that Herod wanted to marry his niece, Salome, and this was opposed by John; And Salomé plans her own murder, not on her mother's orders. During the construction of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus in 706, a basilica previously built in honor of John the Baptist was transformed under the supervision of the Palestinian emir Suleiman ibn Abd al-Malik, later Caliph, and - according to tradition - the builders placed John's head relic here.


Saint John the Baptist is the patron saint of French Canada, where several cities are named after him, as well as Florence in Italy and the Order of Malta. A disease was also named after him: St. John's dance, chorea (Latin: chorea Sancti Viti), and other popular names called vitus dance (chorea Sancti Viti), because this organ nerve problem occurred during the pagan fire dance on St. John's day, the big summer solstice festival. he took his victims en masse. The commemoration day of his martyrdom is August 29. Today's name of the holiday is the Feast of St. John the Baptist. Hungarian tradition calls it the day of János Nyakavágó and connects it with the anniversary of the disaster in Mohács. On the initiative of József Király, bishop of Pécs, the memorial day VII. Pope Pius declared it a farewell day in Mohács.

Documents surviving under his name

The life of John the Baptist

Other designations