St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

September 11, 2008 - The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

by Fr. Rodney Torbic


Violence is associated with September 11. Violence has been associated with September 11 ever since the Orthodox Church began commemorating the Beheading of St. John the Baptist on this date.

The terrorist attack on America occurred at a time Orthodox Christians were on their way to church. The terrorist attack occurred at a time Orthodox priests were preparing to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.

Believers emerged from the churches on September 11, 2001 to learn of the horrible devastation and loss of life. The pain continues to be felt. The horrible losses continue to be embedded in hearts, minds, and souls.

Families were changed forever. Friendships were changed forever. Nations were changed forever. The terrorist attack came centuries after St. John the Baptist was beheaded. The terrorist attack and the beheading share the same day.

St. John the Baptist shared a unique relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist." (Mt. 11:11)

The existence of violence these many centuries after the beheading of St. John is a strong reminder and is constant evidence of the need for the peace of God in each heart, home and mind.

It is not na´ve to pray to God for peace. Each Divine Liturgy includes a petition for the peace of the whole world. More prayers for peace are necessary. Current events at times give the appearance the world is becoming more hostile.

Soberness is necessary to fully assess the condition of the world at present. Listening carefully to God and praying fervently are necessary in these times of great peril.

The love of God was clearly revealed when Jesus was crucified. May God's healing power reduce the tension in the world. May peace increase dramatically and security be common in each country.

Each person has the power to pray fervently. Each person has the responsibility to do his or her part to make the world safer and more secure. Christians can make a difference by following Christ completely.

Christians can make a difference through prayer. The Holy Prophet Elijah demonstrated the power of prayer (I Kings 18:36-39) Each Christian praying each day can make a difference in the degree of violence.

Today is the day to pray there are no more terrorist attacks. Today is the day to pray for healing in the hearts and minds and souls that still ache from the losses of September 11, 2001.

Through the prayers of St. John the Baptist may the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us and save us.
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