Retablo Series. Saint John the Baptist


Feast of Saint John the Baptist

St. John the Baptist is featured as a santo de bulto in a niche, located on the second level, second statue from left of the main altar retablo. The birth of saint is uncertain but Gospel suggests that the Prophet was born six months before Christ.

He is even portrayed in various western art works as a child or toddler beside the infant Jesus and Blessed Mary (see works of Raphael, da Vinci and Botticelli). As an adult, his statue is often represented as a bearded man dressed in animal skin (smoother lamb or coarser camel hair) and sometimes carrying a slender cross/staff or a lamb symbolizing his capacity as a shepherd of the faithful.

June 24 is his feast day which is the day of his birth, not his death.

He is considered as one of the first martyrs when he was beheaded by a tyrannical ruler but we celebrate his feast on his nativity. “The commemoration of St. John’s  Nativity is one of the oldest feasts introduced into both the Greek and Latin liturgies to honor a saint. But why is the feast proper, as it were, of St. John on the day of his nativity, whereas with other saints it is the day of their death? Because it was meant that the birth of him who, unlike the rest, was ‘filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb’, should be signalized as a day of triumph” (Souvay 1910). Simply put, St. John’s day of birth is a sign that our Messiah is coming.

Sources:

Souvay, Charles. “St. John the Baptist.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New
York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910.

https://www.academia.edu/25769270/Medina_I-1_GATHERING_THE_UNCOLLECTED_ACCOUNTING_AND_CURATING_SILANGS_HERITAGE