Saint John the Baptist was a Jewish preacher and ascetic. He drew large crowds on the banks of the River Jordan, demanding from them repentance and baptism in view of the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God. Jesus was one of those whom he baptized. He was killed by Herod Antipas, whom he had denounced for his marriage. The historian Josephus writes that Herod had John killed for fear that John might raise a rebellion. Jesus' own ministry followed John's, and some of Jesus' early followers had been followers of John. Like Jesus, John preached at a time of political, social, and religious conflict, and he prophesied that fire was coming to destroy the wicked.
Relics: St. Demetrios Church, Neo Phaleron, Piraeus; Benaki Museum, Athens; Topkapi Museum, Constantinople