Friday, June 24, 2011

John the Baptist, airbrushed

Interesting, he is not included in the ancient Roman Canon, he is elsewhere in the Usus Antiquior where he follows "beáta et gloriósa semper Vírgine Dei genitríce María, cum beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andréa, et ómnibus sanctis...". Which presumably indicates a growing devotion to him developing after the formalisation of the Roman Canon, certainly by the sixth century images and the inclusion of his name is everywhere and feasts are multiplied. By the sixth century in many churches he is depicted, if not in the central apse paired with the Mother of God, then he is often in the side aisle over what some suggest is the men's side of the church.

All this suggests a strong popular devotion to him, which now has dissappeared from the Church, like the morning mist. Except on his feastdays in the Usus Recentior there is no reference to him at all outside of the Lectionary, he's been airbrushed.

9 comments:

Doodler said...

to be fair he does get a good bit of publicity in weeks 2 and 3 of Advent!

Steve said...

Isn't there an ancient extant group that still follows John the Baptist?

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Mandeans of Iraq claim his heritage. They have been undervery great persecution in their native laand recently. Traditionally, they were fine gold smiths.

Mike Forbes+

Charles G said...

I'm not sure what you mean when you say there is no reference to John the Baptist in the ancient Roman Canon:

"For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, (Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia) and all the saints."

Perhaps you mean he's omitted from the earliest versions of the Canon?

Fr. D. said...

Have you forgotten, Father, that he heads up the second list of saints in the Roman Canon?

Fr Mark said...

Father, I am sorry to contradict you, but he is the first saint mentioned in the second list of saints, in the paragraph Nobis quoque peccatoribus, before Stephen Mathias Barnabas etc. It is true that he is not mentioned with his usaul epithet "Baptista", but that is probably because it is his martyrdom which is focused upon here (hence his mention before Stephen). The first list (communicantes et memoriam venerantes...)contains the Twelve (minus Judas but with Paul) and martyr saints, while the second list has only martyrs, including apostolic figures like Barnabas and Mathias who were not of the twelve. Who else would be the "John" named therein, heading the list as he does?

Father DeViese said...

Actually, John the Baptist IS in the ancient Roman Canon. He is the John that begins the second litany following "Nobis quoque peccatoribus...". And the feast of his birth was celebrated as early as the fourth century. St. Augustine even wrote a sermon for the day.

Dilly said...

Mandaeans are the sect followers of John the Baptist.

Fr Ray Blake said...

How very stupid of me, a senior moment? JB not in the RC!!!!