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6. The Nativity of John the Baptist.

Soon after the visit to them by the Mother of God, a son was born to the righteous Zacharias and Elizabeth. Neighbouring relatives of Elizabeth rejoiced with her over Godís mercy. On the eighth day, according to Jewish law, a name had to be given to the infant. The gathering of friends and relatives wanted to call him Zacharias after the name of his father. But Elizabeth said, "Not so; but he shall be called John."

They said, "There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name," and they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.

Zacharias asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all marvelled. His speech returned immediately, and he began praising God and prophesied by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that soon would come the Saviour, and that John would be His Forerunner to prepare people to receive the Saviour.

Fear came on all who heard about this miraculous event, and they marvelled saying about John, "What manner of child shall this be?"

The Lord guarded the child, and he grew, waxed strong in spirit, and was in the desert till the day of his showing unto Israel.

The birth of the Holy and Chief Prophet and Forerunner of Christ John is celebrated on the 24th of June (July 7, NS).

Note: See the Gospel of Luke, 1:57-80.

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