May 25th (VI - 7)
Icon of the Third Discovery of the Head of the Fore-Runner and Baptist John
Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Fore-Runner and Baptist of the Lord, John (c. 850). Priestmartyr Pherapont, Bishop of Cyprus (IV). Martyr Celestine. Monk Olvian. Monk Sozontes. Monk Coronatus. Saint Theodore.
The Third Discovery of the Venerable Head of the Holy Prophet, Fore-Runner and Baptist of the Lord John occurred in about the year 850 (the account about the First and Second Discoveries is located under 24 February). During the time of unrest at Constantinople connected with the exile of Sainted John Chrysostom (Comm. 13 November), the head of Saint John the Fore-Runner was found in the city of Emesia. It was transferred from there during the time of Saracen raids (about 820-820) to Komana and there -- during a period of iconoclast persecution, it was hidden in the ground. When the veneration of icons was restored, Patriarch Ignatios (847-857) during the time of prayer at night was shown in a vision the place, where the head of Saint John the Fore-Runner was concealed. The hierarch communicated this to the emperor, who dispatched a delegation to Komana, and there the head was found a third time at the place decreed by the patriarch in about the year 850. Afterwards the head was again transferred to Constantinople, and here on 25 May it was placed in a church at the court. Part of the head is located at Athos. In memory of the Third Discovery of the Head of the Baptist of the Lord John, the celebration is on 25 May.
The Priestmartyr Pherapont, Bishop of Cyprus, pursued asceticism in a monastery, and afterwards he bore obedience in the dignity of bishop on the island of Cyprus. At the time of the persecution under Diocletian (284-305), Sainted Pherapont bravely confessed the Name of Christ and died a martyr's death. The relics of the priestmartyr were at first situated on Cyprus and were glorified by numerous miracles. But afterwards in the year 806, they were transferred to Constantinople. The cause of the transfer of the relics was the danger of invasion by the Saracens. It is significant that on the way, when the ship with the relics sailed to Constantinople, myrh began to flow from the relics, and travellers on the ship were miraculously saved during the time of a storm by their prayers to Saint Pherapont. Upon arrival at Constantinople, the relics of the priestmartyr were placed in a temple built in honour of the Icon of the Mother of God of Heleusa or "the Merciful" (celebration is done on 12 November).
In the year 806 the relics were again transferred into a temple built in honour of the Priestmartyr Pherapont, and from them there constantly flowed myrh, and miracles were worked. Through the prayers of Sainted Pherapont, the seriously ill are healed, and the dying restored to life.
© 1997 by translator Fr. S. Janos.