On September 11 (August 29 O.S.), the holy Church commemorates the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Even though not numbered among the twelve great feasts of the Orthodox Church, nonetheless it is a very important holiday. As usual, the All-Night Vigil and Divine Liturgy were celebrated as is usual on such feasts in the monastery.
As is customary in the Russian Orthodox Church, on this feast, all Orthodox warriors, fallen in battle in the defense of the Orthodox faith, the tsars and the fatherland, were commemorated at the Great Entrance. A strict fast day was observed in recognition that due to unbridled passion on this day one of the most horrendous events in human history was committed, the killing of the man of God, of whom our Lord Himself stated that no better man was ever born of a woman.
Let this be a lesson to all of us, to contemplate the results of unbridled and unlawful passion. For Americans especially, this feast will always be linked to the worse act of terrorism every committed on American soil, the tragedy of “9/11,” when almost 3,000 innocent victims lost their lives. One cannot help but wonder why God allowed this to happen in a country where it seems that all is obtainable, all is up for the taking.