Icon of the Beheading of the Forerunner (Dionysiou) – F106


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Egg Tempera


George the Cretan


16th c. (Mid)


Dionysiou Monastery, Mt. Athos, Greece


This 16th century icon is a part of a celebrated set of festal icons showing important events in the life of Jesus plus a few other renowned feasts of the year.  It was painted by George the Cretan for the Holy Monastery of Dionysiou on Mount Athos, and together they are known to be great examples of Post-Byzantine Greek iconographic art.  This icon is the 15th of that set of icons.

Seen here before the grey prison building behind him, St. John stretches forth his neck and head as an offering to Jesus Christ, of Whom he was the Baptist and Forerunner.  Herodias’s daughter holds the dish that will have his righteous head upon it, which she asked for when she had shamelessly danced before King Herod on his birthday, and Herod had imprudently vowed to give her whatever she asked because he was so pleased and lustful.   Often when sinners make rash vows even when impelled by sin, they are loath to break them, but quickly forget to follow the more important Commandments and ways of God.  Let us not follow such sin, but rather follow the good example of St. John to give whatever we can thankfully to Christ for a life with Him in Heaven.