On this day Saint John the Baptist, son of Zacharias the priest, became a martyr by the order of King Herod. When St.John, the prophet, rebuked Herod because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip whom he had taken to be his wife, and said to him, "It is not right for thee to take thy brother's wife," Herod took the Saint and cast him into prison, for he was afraid of him. When Herod's birthday came, he gave a a supper for the lords of his kingdom, and the chief estates of Galilee, and his brother's daughter came in, and danced and pleased him. He promised her anything she might ask for, even as much as half his kingdom. She went unto her mother and said unto her, "What shall I ask?" Her mother said, "Ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter." When Herod heard this, he was exceedingly sorry. But because of his promise and those who were sitting with him, he would not reject her request. He therefore commanded his servants to cut off the head of Saint John and they gave it to the damsel and the damsel gave it to her mother. (Mark 6:20-28) There was great consternation that day, and their joy soon turned into sorrow. It was even said that when the holy head of St.John was cut off, it flew up into the air, out of the hands of the soldiers, and it cried out saying, "It is not right for thee to take thy brother's wife." It is also said that the head is present at Homs in Syria. The disciples of St.John came and took his holy body and laid it in a grave until the days of Pope Athanasius, whom God commanded to uncover the body.
May his blessings be with us all. Amen.