1. The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.
On this day, the forerunner and great prophet, St. John the Baptist, son of Zacharias the priest, was martyred by the order of King Herod. When St. John rebuked Herod because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Phillip whom he had taken as a wife, he said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." (Mark:6:18) Herod seized the Saint and cast him into prison; however, he feared John.
An opportune day came when Herod, on his birthday, gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers and the chief men of Galilee. And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced and pleased Herod. He promised her anything she might ask for, even as much as half of his kingdom. She went to her mother and asked 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 did not want to refuse 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 said that when the holy head of St. John was cut off, it flew up off their hands into the air, and it cried out saying, "It is not right for you to take your brother's wife." It is also said that the head now is present at Homs in Syria.
As of the holy body, the disciples of St. John took it and laid it in a grave until the days of Pope Athanathius, when God Willed to uncover his body.
His blessings be with us all. Amen.
2. The Martyrdom of St. Dasya the Soldier.
On this day also, St. Dasya the soldier, who was a native of the city of Tanda, was martyred. Arianus, governor of Ansena, inflicted great tortures on this Saint because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, he cut off his head, thus St. Dasya received the crown of martyrdom.
His blessings be with us all and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.