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  1. #21
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    Leonaert Bramer, Decollazione del Battista, 1613

    Francesco Ubertini Verdi detto il “Bacchiaca”, Decollazione del Battista, 1539

    Onoraio Marinari, Salomé con la testa del Battista, XVII sec., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

    Alexander Ivanov, Testa del Battista, XIX sec., Russian Museum, San Pietroburgo

    Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, Salomé abbraccia la testa del Battista, 1896

    Pieter Paul Rubens, Decollazione del Battista, 1608-09, National Gallery, Londra

    Andrea di Bartolo Solario, Testa del Battista, 1507, Musée du Louvre, Parigi

    Cesare da Sesto, Salomé con la testa del Battista, 1510-20, National Gallery, Londra

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  2. #22
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    Francesco Del Cossa, SS. Pietro e Giovanni Battista (Polittico Griffoni), 1473, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milano

    Guercino, Salomé riceve la testa del Battista 1637-40, musée des Beaux-Arts, Rennes

    Giuseppe Caletti, Salomé riceve la testa del Battista, 1640-60, Musée du Louvre, Parigi

    Raffaello Sanzio, S. Giovanni Battista nel deserto indica la croce, 1516 circa, Musée du Louvre, Parigi

    Aelbert Bouts, Testa mozzata del Battista, XV sec., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    Francesco di Stefano Pesellino, Madonna in trono con Bambino tra i SS. Zenobio, Giovanni Battista, Antonio abate e Francesco d'Assisi, 1455-57, Musée du Louvre, Parigi

  3. #23
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    Herodias

    Herodias, daughter of Aristobulus -- son of Herod the Great and Mariamne -- was a descendant of the famous Hasmonean heroes, the Machabees, who had done so much for the Jewish nation. Having married Herod Philip, her own uncle, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, Herodias longed for social distinction, and accordingly left her husband and entered into an adulterous union with Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee, who was also her uncle (Jos., Ant., XVIII, v, 1, 4). St. John the Baptist rebuked Antipas for this union and thus aroused the hatred of Herodias, who by the dance of her daughter brought about the death of the prophet (Matthew 14-12; Mark 6:17-29). Josephus gives the main facts, but adds that John was put to death because Herod feared his influence over the people (Ant., XVIII, v, 2, 4). Schurer admits that here both the Evangelists and Josephus may be right; since all the motives mentioned may have urged Herod to imprison and murder John [Hist. (Eng. tr.) Div. I, V, ii, 25].

    When Agrippa, the brother of Herodias became king, she persuaded Antipas to go to Rome in search of the royal title, as his claim to it was far greater than that of her brother. Instead of a crown, however, he found awaiting him a charge of treason against the Romans, with Agrippa as chief accuser, who in advance had sent messengers to defeat the ambitious plans of Antipas. He was therefore banished to Lyons in Gaul. At the same time Herodias, spurning the kind offers of the emperor, preferred exile with Antipas to a life of splendour in the palace of her brother Agrippa (Jos., Ant., XVIII, vii). This generosity, if we may so style it, came from her Hasmonean blood, but her cruelty she inherited from her grandfather Herod (see HEROD under ANTIPAS).

    Bibliography

    JOSEPHUS, Ant., XVIII, v, vii; IDEM, de Bell. jud., I, xxviii, II, ix; also authorities mentioned under HEROD.

    Fonte: The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VII, New York, 1910

  4. #24
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    Herod

    (Greek Herodes, from Heros.)

    Herod was the name of many rulers mentioned in the N.T. and in history. It was known long before the time of the biblical Herods. (See Schürer, "Hist. of the Jewish People", etc., Div. I, v. I, p. 416, note.) The Herods connected with the early history of Christianity are the following:

    I. HEROD THE GREAT

    Herod, surnamed the Great, called by Grätz "the evil genius of the Judean nation" (Hist., v. II, p. 77), was a son of Antipater, an Idumæan (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, vi, 2). The Idumæans were brought under subjection by John Hyrcanus towards the end of the second century B. C., and obliged to live as Jews, so that they were considered Jews (Jos., "Ant.", XIII, ix, 4). Yet Antigonus called Herod a half-Jew (Jos., "Ant.", XIV, xv, 2, and note in Whiston), while the Jews, when it furthered their interests, spoke of Herod their king as by birth a Jew (Jos., "Ant." XX, viii, 7). Antipater, the father of Herod, had helped the Romans in the Orient, and the favour of Rome brought the Herodian family into great prominence and power. Herod was born 73 B. C., and he is first mentioned as governor of Galilee (Jos., "Ant.", XIV, ix, 2). Here the text says he was only fifteen years old, evidently an error for twenty-five, since about forty-four years later he died, "almost seventy years of age" (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xxxiii, 1). His career was more wonderful than that of many heroes of fiction. Among the rapidly changing scenes of Roman history he never failed to win the goodwill of fortune's favourites. In 40 B. C. the young Octavian and Antony obtained for him from the Roman senate the crown of Judea, and between these two powerful friends he went up to the temple of Jupiter to thank the gods of Rome. Antigonus was beheaded in 37 B. C., and from this date Herod became king in fact as well as in name. He married Mariamne in 38 B. C., and thereby strengthened his title to the throne by entering into matrimonial alliance with the Hasmoneans, who were always very popular among the Jews (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xii, 3).

    The reign of Herod is naturally divided into three periods: 37-25 B. C., years of development; 25-13, royal splendour; 13-4, domestic troubles and tragedies. During the first period he secured himself on the throne by removing rivals of the Hasmonean line. He put to death Hyrcanus, grandfather of Mariamne, and Aristobulus her brother, whom though but seventeen years old he had appointed high-priest. Their only offence was that they were very popular (Jos., "Ant.", XV, vi, 1, iii, 3). Mariamne also was executed in 29 B. C.; and her mother Alexandra, 28 B. C. (Jos., "Ant", XV, vii; "Bel. Jud.", I, xxii). As Herod was a friend to Antony, whom Octavian defeated at Actium 31 B. C., he was in great fear, and set out for Rhodes like a criminal with a halter around his neck to plead with the conqueror; but Cæsar confirmed him in the kingdom, with a grant of additional territory (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xx).

    Herod and his children were builders. Having the reins of government well in hand, and having wreaked vengeance upon his enemies, he adorned his kingdom by building cities and temples in honour of the emperor and of the gods. Samaria was built and called Sebaste, from the Greek name for Augustus. Cæsarea with its fine harbour was also built; and, being a Greek in his tastes, Herod erected theatres, amphitheatres, and hippodromes for games, which were celebrated at stated times even at Jerusalem (Jos., "Ant." XV, viii, 1, XVI, v, 1; "Bel. Jud.", I, xxi, 1, 5). As he builds temples to the false gods -- one at Rhodes, for instance, to Apollo (Jos., "Ant.", XVI, v, 3) -- we may judge that vanity rather than piety suggested the greatest work of his reign, the temple of Jerusalem. It was begun in his eighteenth year as king (Jos., "Ant." XV, xi, 1), i.e. about 22 B. C. (Grätz, "Gesch. d. Jud." V, iii, 187). In Josephus (Bel. Jud., I, xxi, 1) the text has the fifteenth year, but here the historian counts from the death of Antigonus, 37 B. C., which gives the same date as above. The speech of Herod on the occasion, though full of piety, may be interpreted by what he said to the wise men: "that I also may come and adore him" (Matt., ii, 8; Jos., "Ant.", XV, xi, 1). The temple is described by Josephus ("Ant.", XV, xi; cf. Edersheim, "The Temple its Ministry and Services", i and ii), and the solidity of its architecture referred to in the New Testament (Matthew 24:1; Mark 13:1). In John, ii, 20, forty-six years are mentioned since the building was undertaken, but it requires some juggling with figures to make this number square with the history of either the second temple, or the one built by Herod (see Maldonatus, who thinks the text refers to the second temple, and MacRory, "The Gospel of St. John", for the other view).

    The horrors of Herod's home were in strong contrast with the splendour of his reign. As he had married ten wives (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xxviii, 4 -- note in Whiston) by whom he had many children, the demon of discord made domestic tragedies quite frequent. He put to death even his own sons, Aristobulus and Alexander (6 B. C.), whom Antipater, his son by Doris, had accused of plotting against their father's life (Jos., "Ant.", XVI, xi). This same Antipater, who in cruelty was a true son of Herod, and who had caused the death of so many was himself accused and convicted of having prepared poison for his father, and put to death (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xxxiii, 7). The last joy of the dying king was afforded by the letter from Rome authorizing him to kill his son; five days later, like another Antiochus under a curse, he died. The account of his death and of the circumstances accompanying it is so graphically given by Josephus ("Ant.", XVII, vi, vii, viii; "Bel. Jud.", I, xxxiii), who follows Nicholas of Damascus, Herod's friend and biographer, that only an eye-witness could have furnished the details. In the hot springs of Callirrhoe, east of the Dead Sea, the king sought relief from the sickness that was to bring him to the grave. When his end drew near, he gave orders to have the principal men of the country shut up in the hippodrome at Jericho and slaughtered as soon as he had passed away, that his grave might not be without the tribute of tears. This barbarous command was not carried into effect; but the Jews celebrated as a festival the day of his death, by which they were delivered from his tyrannical rule (Grätz, "Gesch. d. Jud.", III, 195 -- "Hist." (in Eng.), II, 117). Archelaus, whom he had made his heir on discovering the perfidy of Antipater, buried him with great pomp at Herodium -- now called Frank Mountain -- S. E. of Bethlehem, in the tomb the king had prepared for himself (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 2, 3; "Bel. Jud.", I, xxxiii, 8, 9).

    The death of Herod is important in its relation to the birth of Christ. The eclipse mentioned by Josephus (Ant., XVII, vi, 4), who also gives the length of Herod's reign -- thirty-seven years from the time he was appointed by the Romans, 40 B. C.; or thirty-four from the death of Antigonus, 37 B. C. (Ant., XVII, viii, 1)-- fixes the death of Herod in the spring of 750 A. U. C., or 4 B. C. Christ was born before Herod's death (Matthew 2:1), but how long before is uncertain: the possible dates lie between 746 and 750 A. U. C. (see a summary of opinions and reasons in Gigot, "Outlines of N. T. Hist.", 42, 43).

    Herod's gifts of mind and body were many. "He was such a warrior as could not be withstood . . . . fortune was also very favourable to him" (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", I, xxi, 13), yet "a man of great barbarity towards all men equally and a slave to his passions; but above the consideration of what was right" (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 1). His ruling passions were jealousy and ambition, which urged him to sacrifice even those that were nearest and dearest to him: murder and munificence were equally good as means to an end. The slaughter of the Innocents squares perfectly with what history relates of him, and St. Matthew's positive statement is not contradicted by the mere silence of Josephus; for the latter follows Nicholas of Damascus, to whom, as a courtier, Herod was a hero. Hence Armstrong (in Hastings, "Dict. of Christ and the Gospels", s. v. "Herod") justly blames those who, like Grätz (Gesch. d. Jud., III, 194 -- Hist. (Eng.), II, 116), for subjective reasons, call the evangelist's account a later legend. Macrobius, who wrote in the beginning of the fifth century, narrates that Augustus, having heard that among the children whom Herod had ordered to be slain in Syria was the king's own son, remarked: "It is better to be Herod's swine than his son" (Saturn., II, 4). In the Greek text there is a bon mot and a relationship between the words used that etymologists may recognize even in English. The law among the Jews against eating pork is hinted at, and the anecdote seems to contain extra-biblical elements. "Cruel as the slaughter may appear to us, it disappears among the cruelties of Herod. It cannot,then, surprise us that history does not speak of it" [Maas, "Life of Christ" (1897), 38 (note); the author shows, as others have done, that the number of children slain may not have been very great].

    II. ARCHELAUS

    Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, was, with Antipas his brother, educated at Rome (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, i, 3), and he became heir in his father's last will (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 1). After the death of his father he received the acclamations of the people, to whom he made a speech, in which he stated that his title and authority depended upon the good will of Cæsar (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 4). The death of Herod having delivered the Jews from his tyrannical rule, they petitioned Cæsar to put them under the jurisdiction of the presidents of Syria. He, however, not willing to set aside Herod's will, gave to Archelaus the half of his father's kingdom, with the title of ethnarch, the royal title to follow should he rule "virtuously". The N. T. says that he reigned (Matthew 2:22), and in Josephus (Ant., XVII, viii, 2, ix, 2) he is called king, by courtesy, for the Romans never so styled him. His territory included Judea, Samaria, and Idumæa with the cities of Jerusalem, Cæsarea, Sebaste, and Joppa (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, xi, 2, 4, 5). He soon aroused opposition by marrying his brother's wife -- a crime like that of Antipas later -- and having been accused of cruelty by his subjects, "not able to bear his barbarous and tyrannical usage of them", he was banished to Vienne, Gaul, A. D. 7 in the tenth year of his government (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, ix, xiii, 1, 2). The N . T. tells us that Joseph, fearing Archelaus, went to live at Nazareth (Matthew 2:22, 23); and some interpreters think that in the parable (Luke 19:12-27) our Lord refers to Archelaus, whom the Jews did not wish to rule over them, and who, having been placed in power by Cæsar, took vengeance upon his enemies. "Whether our Lord had Archelaus in view, or only spoke generally, the circumstances admirably suit his case" (MacEvilly, "Exp. of the Gosp. of St. Luke").

    III. ANTIPAS

    Antipas was a son of Herod the Great, after whose death he became ruler of Galilee. He married the daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia, but later lived with Herodias, the wife of his own half-brother Philip. This union with Herodias is mentioned and blamed by Josephus (Ant., XVIII, v) as well as in the New Testament, and brought Antipas to ruin. It involved him in a war with Aretas in which he lost his army, a calamity that Josephus regarded "as a punishment for what he did against John that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism" (Ant., XVIII, v, 2). The N. T. gives the reason why Herodias sought John's head. As she had married Herod Philip -- not the tetrarch of the same name -- who lived as a private citizen at Rome, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, she acted against the law in leaving him to marry Antipas. John rebuked Antipas for the adulterous union, and Herodias took vengeance (Matthew 14-12; Mark 6:17-29). Josephus does not say that John's death was caused by the hatred of Herodias, but rather by the jealousy of Herod on account of John's great influence over the people. He was sent to the frowning fortress of Machærus on the mountains east of the Dead Sea, and there put to death (Jos., "Ant.", XVIII, v, 2). Grätz (Gesch. d. Jud., III, xi, 221 -- Hist. (Eng.), II, 147) as in other instances thinks the gospel story a legend; but Schürer admits that both Josephus and the evangelists may be right, since there is no contradiction in the accounts (Hist. of the Jewish People, etc., Div. I, V, ii, 25). The most celebrated city built by Antipas was Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. He named it after his friend the Emperor Tiberius, and made it the capital of the tetrarchy. The city gave its name to the sea, and yet stands; it was for a long time a great school and centre of Jewish learning. It was before this Herod that Our Lord appeared and was mocked (Luke 23:7-13). Antipas had come to Jerusalem for the Pasch, and he is named with Pilate as a persecutor of Christ (Acts 4:27). The enmities that existed between him and Pilate were caused by Pilate's having put to death some Galileans, who belonged to Herod's jurisdiction (Luke 13:1); a reconciliation was effected as related in Luke, xxiii, 12. When Herodias saw how well her brother Agrippa had fared at Rome, whence he returned a king, she urged Antipas to go to Cæsar and obtain the royal title, for he was not king, but only tetrarch of Galilee -- the New Testament however sometimes calls him king (Matthew 14:9; Mark 6:14), and Josephus likewise so styles Archelaus (Ant., XVIII, iv, 3), though he was never king, but only ethnarch. Contrary to his better judgment he went, and soon learned that Agrippa by messengers had accused him before Caligula of conspiracy against the Romans. The emperor banished him to Lyons, Gaul (France), A. D. 39, and Herodias accompanied him (Jos., "Ant.", XVIII, vii, 2). Josephus (Bel. Jud., II, ix, 6) says: "So Herod died in Spain whither his wife had followed him". The year of his death is not known. To reconcile the two statements of Josephus about the place of exile and death, see Smith, "Dict. of the Bible", s. v. "Herodias" (note).

    IV. AGRIPPA I

    Agrippa I, also called the Great, was a grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne, son of Aristobulus, and brother of Herodias. The history of his life and varying fortunes is stranger than romance. He was deeply in debt and a prisoner in Rome under Tiberius; but Caius, having come to the throne in A. D. 37, made him king over the territories formerly ruled by Philip and Lysanias, to which the tetrarchy of Antipas was added when the latter had been banished in A. D. 39 (Jos., "Ant.", XVIII, vi, vii). In A. D. 41 Judea and Samaria were given to him by the Emperor Claudius, whom he had helped to the throne (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, iv, 1), so that the whole kingdom which he then governed was greater than that of Herod his grandfather (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, v, 1). He was, like many other Herods, a builder, and, according to Josephus, he so strengthened the walls of Jerusalem that the emperor became alarmed and ordered him "to leave off the building of those walls presently" ("Ant.", XIX, vii, 2). He seems to have inherited from his Hasmonean ancestors a great love and zeal for the law (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, vii, 3). This characteristic, with his ambition to please the people (ibid.), explains why he imprisoned Peter and beheaded James (Acts 12:1-3). His death is described in "Acts", xii, 21-23; "eaten up by worms, he gave up the ghost." He died at Cæsarea during a grand public festival; when the people having heard him speak cried out, "It is the voice of a god and not of a man", his heart was elated, and "an angel of the Lord struck him, because he had not given the honour to God". Josephus gives substantially the same account, but states that an owl appeared to the king to announce his death, as it had appeared many years before to predict his good fortune (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, viii, 2). His death occurred in A. D. 44, the fifty-fourth year of his age, the seventh of his reign (ibid.). Grätz considers him one of the best of the Herods (Gesch. d. Jud., III, xii -- Hist. (Eng.), II, vii); but Christians may not be willing to subscribe fully to this estimate.

    V. AGRIPPA II

    Agrippa II was the son of Agrippa I and in A. D. 44, the year of his father's death, the emperor Claudius wished to give him the kingdom of his father, but he was dissuaded from his purpose because a youth of seventeen was hardly capable of assuming responsibilities so great (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, ix). About A. D. 50 he was made King of Chalcis (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", II, xii, 1), and afterwards ruler of a much larger territory including the lands formerly governed by Philip and Lysanias (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", II, xii, 8). He was also titular king of Judea, and in twenty years appointed seven high-priests (Grätz, "Gesch. d. Jud.", III, xiv -- "Hist." (Eng.), II, ix). When the Jews wished to free themselves from the dominion of Rome in the time of Florus, Agrippa showed them the folly of violent measures, and gave them a detailed account of the vast resources of the Roman empire (Jos., "Bel. Jud.", II, xvi, 4). St. Paul pleaded before this king, to whom Festus, the governor, referred the case (Acts 26). The Apostle praises the king's knowledge of the "customs and questions that are among the Jews" (v. 3); Josephus likewise appeals to his judgment and calls him a most admirable man -- thaumasiotatos (Cont. Ap., I, ix). It was, therefore, not out of mere compliment that Festus invited him to hear what St. Paul had to say. His answer to the Apostle's appeal has been variously interpreted: it may mean that St. Paul had not quite convinced him, which sense seems to suit the context better than the irony that some see in the king's words. The indifference, however, which he manifested was in harmony with the "great pomp" with which he and his sister Berenice had entered the hall of audience (Acts 25:23). After the fall of Jerusalem he lived at Rome, where he is said to have died in the third year of Trajan, A. D. 100. Grätz (Gesch. d. Jud., III, xvii, 410) gives A. D. 71-72 as the date of his death, a date based upon a more correct reading of a Greek text as authority.

    Bibliography

    Many histories and special studies throw light upon the Herodian age and family, but nearly all we know about the Herods comes through Josephus. The following, among many works, may be consulted:

    SCHÜRER, Gesch. d. Jüd. Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (Leipzig, 1898-1901), with comprehensive bibliography; tr. A Hist. of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (Edinburgh, 1897-1898); GRÄTZ, Gesch. d. Jud. (III, 11 vols., Leipzig); tr. Hist. of the Jews, 6 vols. (Jew. Pub. Soc., Phila., 1891-1902), without notes or references, II; MILMAN, The History of the Jews (3 vols. New York, 1870); and histories by JOST, EWALD, etc.; HASTINGS, A Dict. of Christ and the Gospels (New York, 1907); EDERSHEIM, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I; FARRAR, The Herods; JOSEPHUS, Ant., Books XIV-XX; IDEM, Bel. Jud., Books I and II.

    Fonte: The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VII, New York, 1910

  5. #25
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    Da dom Prosper Guéranger, L’Année Liturgique - Le Temps après la Pentecôte, Paris-Poitiers, 1901, IV ediz., t. V, p. 121-129

    LE XXIX AOUT.

    LA DÉCOLLATION DE S. JEAN-BAPTISTE.


    En ce temps-là, «Hérode envoya prendre Jean et il le mit en prison chargé de liens, à cause d'Hérodiade, femme de son frère Philippe, qu'il avait épousée. Car Jean disait à Hérode: Il ne vous est pas permis d'avoir la femme de votre frère. Or Hérodiade lui dressait des embûches et voulait le faire mourir, mais ne le pouvait pas. Hérode, en effet, craignait Jean qu'il tenait pour un homme juste et saint, et il le gardait, faisant beaucoup de choses d'après ses avis et l'écoutant volontiers. Un jour favorable s'étant donc présenté, à savoir celui de la naissance d'Hérode où il avait offert un banquet à ses grands, aux chefs militaires et aux principaux de la Galilée, la fille d'Hérodiade entra et dansa, et elle plut à Hérode et à ses convives, et le roi lui dit: Demande-moi ce que tu voudras, et je te le donnerai. Et il en fit le serment: Quoi que ce soit que tu demandes, je te le donnerai, fût-ce la moitié de mon royaume. Or elle, étant sortie, dit à sa mère: Qu'est-ce que je demanderai? Sa mère lui dit: La tête de Jean-Baptiste. Rentrant donc aussitôt en grande hâte, elle fit au roi sa demande, disant: Je veux que sur-le-champ vous me donniez dans un plat la tête de Jean-Baptiste. Et le roi en fut peiné; mais à cause de son serment et de ceux qui étaient avec lui à table, il ne voulut pas la contrister, et envoyant un de ses gardes, il lui donna l'ordre d'apporter la tête dans un plat. Et le garde coupa la tête de Jean dans la prison, et l'apportant dans un plat, il la remit à la fille qui la donna à sa mère. Ce qu'ayant appris, ses disciples vinrent et enlevèrent son corps, et ils l'ensevelirent dans un tombeau (1)».

    Ainsi donc finit le plus grand des enfants nés d'une femme (2), sans témoins, dans la prison d'un tyran de second ordre, victime de la plus vile des passions, prix d'une danseuse. Au silence devant le crime, fût-ce sans espoir d'amender le coupable (3), au renoncement à sa liberté, même dans les fers (4), la Voix du Verbe a préféré la mort. Belle liberté de la parole (5), selon l'expression de saint Jean Chrysostome, quand elle est véritablement la liberté même du Verbe de Dieu, quand par elle ne cessent point de vibrer ici-bas les échos des collines éternelles! Elle est bien alors l'écueil de la tyrannie, la sauvegarde du monde, des droits de Dieu et de l'honneur des peuples, des intérêts du temps comme de ceux de l'éternité. La mort ne prévaut pas contre elle; à l'impuissant meurtrier de Jean-Baptiste, à tous ceux qui voudraient l'imiter, mille bouches pour une, jusqu'à la fin des temps, redisent en toute langue, en tous lieux: Il ne t'est pas permis d'avoir la femme de ton frère.

    «Grand et admirable mystère! s'écrie par ailleurs saint Augustin. Il faut qu'il croisse, et que je diminue (6), disait Jean, disait la Voix en laquelle se personnifient les voix qui le précédèrent, annonçant comme lui la Parole du Père incarnée dans son Christ. Toute parole, en tant que signifiant quelque chose, en tant qu'idée, verbe intérieur, est indépendante du nombre des syllabes, de la variété des lettres ou des sons; elle reste immuable et une au cœur qui la conçoit, bien que multiples puissent être les mots qui lui donnent corps extérieurement, les voix qui la propagent, les langues, grecque, latine ou autres, où elle se traduit. A qui sait la parole, inutiles deviennent les formules et la voix. Voix furent les Prophètes, voix les Apôtres; voix dans les Psaumes, voix dans l'Evangile. Mais vienne la Parole, le Verbe qui était au commencement, le Verbe qui était avec Dieu, le Verbe qui était Dieu (7): quand nous le verrons comme il est (8), entendra-t-on encore réciter l'Evangile? écouterons-nous les Prophètes? lirons-nous les Epîtres des Apôtres? La voix défaille où grandit le Verbe... Non qu'en lui-même le Verbe décroisse ou grandisse. Mais il est dit croître en nous, quand c'est nous qui croissons en lui. A qui donc se rapproche du Christ, à qui progresse dans la contemplation de la Sagesse, les mots sont moins utiles; il est nécessaire qu'ils tendent à faire tous défaut. Ainsi s'amoindrit le ministère de la voix en la mesure du progrès de l’âme vers le Verbe; ainsi que le Christ grandisse et que Jean diminue. C'est ce qu'indiquent la Décollation de Jean et l'Exaltation du Christ en croix, comme l'avaient déjà fait leurs dates de naissance; car à partir de la naissance de Jean décroissent les jours, qui grandissent à dater de celle du Seigneur (9)».

    Utile leçon donnée aux guides des âmes dans les sentiers de la vie parfaite. Si, dès l'abord, ils doivent respectueusement observer la direction de la grâce en chacune d'elles, pour seconder l'Esprit-Saint et non s'imposer à lui; ainsi faut-il qu'à mesure qu'elles avancent, ils évitent d'obstruer le Verbe sous l'abondance de leur propre parole; comme aussi leur discrétion devra respecter l'impuissance où ces âmes en arrivent progressivement d'exprimer ce qu'opère en elles le Seigneur. Heureux alors d'avoir conduit l'Epouse à l'Epoux, qu'ils apprennent à dire avec Jean: Il faut qu'il croisse, et que je diminue.

    Et n'est-ce pas une leçon pareille que nous insinue à nous-mêmes le Cycle sacré, lorsque nous le verrons, dans les jours qui vont suivre, comme tempérer ses propres enseignements par la diminution du nombre des fêtes et l'absence prolongée des grandes solennités qui ne reparaîtront qu'en novembre? L'école de la sainte Liturgie n'a point d'autre but que d'adapter l'âme, plus sûrement, plus pleinement qu'aucune autre école, au magistère intérieur de l'Epoux. Comme Jean, l'Eglise voudrait, s'il était possible ici-bas toujours, laisser Dieu parler seul; du moins aime-t-elle, sur la fin de la route, à modérer sa voix, à quelquefois s'imposer silence, désirant donner à ses fils l'occasion de montrer qu'ils savent écouter au dedans d'eux-mêmes Celui qui pour elle et pour eux est l'unique amour. Aux interprètes de sa pensée de bien la comprendre. L'ami de l'Epoux, qui jusqu'au jour des noces marchait devant lui, se tient maintenant debout et lui-même il l'écoute; et cette voix de l'Epoux, qui fait rentrer la sienne dans le silence, le remplit d'immense joie. Cette joie donc qui est la mienne est complète, disait le Précurseur (10).

    La fête de la Décollation de saint Jean-Baptiste peut être considérée comme un des jalons de l'Année liturgique en la manière que nous venons d'exposer. Elle est rangée par les Grecs u nombre des solennités chômées. La mention qui en est faite au Martyrologe dit de saint Jérôme, la place qu'elle occupe dans les Sacramentaires gélasien et grégorien, démontrent sa haute antiquité dans l'Eglise latine. C'était aux environs de la fête de Pâques qu'avait eu lieu la bienheureuse mort du Précurseur; pour l'honorer plus librement, on choisit ce jour qui rappelle aussi la découverte à Emèse de son glorieux chef.

    La vengeance de Dieu s'était appesantie sur Hérode Antipas. Josèphe rapporte que les Juifs attribuaient à la mort de Jean sa défaite par Arétas d'Arabie, dont il avait répudié la fille pour suivre ses instincts adultères (11). Déposé par Home de son tétrarchat de Galilée, il fut relégué à Lyon, dans les Gaules, où l'ambitieuse Hérodiade partagea sa disgrâce. Quant à Salomé la danseuse, nos pères racontaient, d'après d'anciens auteurs (12), qu'ayant un jour d'hiver voulu danser sur une rivière gelée, la glace se rompit l'engloutissant jusqu'au cou, tandis que sa tête, tranchée par les glaçons rejoints soudainement, continua quelque temps par ses bonds cette danse de la mort.

    De Machéronte au delà du Jourdain, où leur maître consomma son martyre, les disciples de Jean avaient porté son corps jusqu'à Sébaste, l'ancienne Samarie, en dehors des frontières d'Antipas; car il était urgent de le soustraire aux profanations qu'Hérodiade n'avait point épargnées à son chef auguste. La vengeance de la malheureuse ne se crut point satisfaite, en effet, qu'elle n'eût percé d'une de ses épingles à cheveux la langue qui n'avait pas craint de flétrir sa honte (13); et la face du Précurseur, que l'église d'Amiens présente depuis sept siècles à la vénération du monde, garde encore trace des violences auxquelles se porta sa furie dans la joie du triomphe. Au temps de Julien l'Apostat, les païens voulurent compléter l'œuvre de cette indigne descendante des Machabées (14), en envahissant le tombeau de Sébaste pour brûler et disperser les restes du Saint. Mais ce sépulcre vide n'en faisait pas moins toujours la terreur des démons, comme sainte Paule le constatait avec une religieuse émotion quelques années plus tard (15). Sauvées d'ailleurs en grande partie, les précieuses reliques s'étaient répandues par l'Orient, d'où elles devaient, à l'époque surtout des Croisades, émigrer dans nos contrées où leur présence fait la gloire de nombreuses églises.

    Saluons la noble Martyre dont le triomphe vient compléter les honneurs de cette journée. La très antique église de Sainte-Sabine sur l'Aventin forme un des joyaux du trésor de la Ville éternelle. Avec Saint-Sixte-le-Vieux, elle eut cette autre gloire d'abriter dans Rome saint Dominique et ses premiers fils.

    ORAISON.

    O Dieu qui, parmi les autres miracles de votre puissance, accomplissez celui de donner la victoire du martyre à un sexe fragile: accordez-nous miséricordieusement de marcher vers vous par l'imitation de votre Martyre, la bienheureuse Sabine, dont nous célébrons la naissance au ciel. Par Jésus-Christ.

    Nous reviendrons au Précurseur, en faisant nôtres les formules suivantes du Sacramentaire grégorien pour la fête de la Décollation.

    ORAISON.

    Faites, Seigneur, nous vous en supplions, que la vénérable fête de saint Jean, votre Baptiste et Martyr, soit pour nous un secours efficace de salut. Par Jésus-Christ.

    SUPER OBLATA.

    Seigneur, nous vous faisons notre offrande pour la passion de votre saint Martyr, Jean Baptiste; finissant ici-bas sa vie terrestre, il en a commencé une éternelle au céleste séjour: à sa considération, puisse cette offrande profiter à notre salut. Par Jésus-Christ.

    PRÉFACE.

    Il est vraiment digne et juste, équitable et salutaire, de vous rendre grâces en tout temps et en tous lieux, Seigneur saint, Père tout-puissant, Dieu éternel, qui avez enrichi d'une telle grâce le précurseur de votre Fils: pour l'affirmation de la vérité il donna sa tête; lui qui avait baptisé le Christ dans l'eau, baptisé par lui dans l'Esprit, fut lavé pour lui dans son propre sang. Car ayant, comme héraut de la vérité qui est le Christ, rappelé Hérode au respect de la couche de son frère, il fut jeté dans l'obscurité d'une prison où ne lui restait pour biens que la lumière de votre divinité. Ensuite, puni de mort, il descendit comme précurseur du Seigneur aux enfers, y précédant par son précieux trépas Celui qu'en ce monde avait désigné son doigt. C'est pourquoi donc, avec les Anges.

    BÉNÉDICTION.

    Que le Dieu qui nous donne de célébrer la solennité du bienheureux Jean-Baptiste, vous accorde et d'y montrer la dévotion de vos âmes, et d'y recevoir les faveurs de sa bénédiction.

    R/. Amen.

    Que celui qui pour avoir proclamé sa loi fut enfermé dans les ténèbres des cachots, vous délivre par sa prière de la séduction des œuvres de ténèbres.

    R/. Amen.

    Et que n'ayant pas balancé, pour la vérité qui est Dieu, à livrer sa tète, il vous fasse arriver par son intercession au Christ qui est notre tête.

    R/. Amen.

    Qu'il daigne nous l'accorder Celui qui règne à jamais.

    AD COMPLENDUM.

    Puisse, Seigneur, la solennité de saint Jean nous donner à la fois, et de vénérer comme ils le méritent les glorieux Mystères auxquels nous avons participé, et d'expérimenter leur action salutaire. Par Jésus-Christ.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    NOTE

    1. Evangile de la fête, Marc, VI, 17-29.

    2. Matth. XI, 11.

    3. Chrys. Ad episcopos, presb. et diac. ob pietatem in carcere inclusos.

    4. Ibid. Ad eos qui scandalizati sunt ob adversitates, XXII.

    5. Ibid.

    6. Johan. III, 30.

    7. Johan. I, 1.

    8. I Johan. III, 2.

    9. Aug. Sermo CCLXXXVIII, In Natali J. Bapt. 11, De voce et verbo.

    10 . Johan. III, 28-29.

    11. Joseph. Antiquit. Jud. XVIII, VI.

    12. Pseudo-Dexter, Chronicon, ad ann. Christi 34; Niceph. Call. I, XX.

    13. Hieron. Adv. Rufin. III, 42.

    14. Par Mariamne, son aïeule, petite-fille d'Hyrcan.

    15. Hieron. Epist. CVIII, al. XXVII, ad Eustochium.

  6. #26
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    Mattia Preti, Giovanni il Battista rimprovera Erode, 1862-66, Museo de Bellas Artes, Siviglia

    Mattia Preti, Predica di S. Giovanni, 1650 circa, Metropolitan museum, New York

    Mattia Preti, Predica di S. Giovanni con autoritratto, 1687 circa, Chiesa di S. Domenico, Taverna calabra

    Mattia Preti, Predica di S. Giovanni, 1667, Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco

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    Giovanni Bellini, Madonna con Bambino tra i SS. Giovanni Battista, Maddalena, Giorgio e Pietro, con benefattore, 1480-1500, Musée du Louvre, Parigi

    Pierre-François Mignard, S. Giovanni Battista, 1688, Museo del Prado, Madrid

    Tiziano Vecellio, Salomè con la testa del Battista, 1550 circa, Museo del Prado, Madrid

    Bartholomäus Strobel il giovane, Decapitazione di S. Giovanni e banchetto di Erode, 1630-33, Museo del Prado, Madrid

    Robert Campin, S. Giovanni Battista ed il frate Heinrich von Werl, dottore a Colonia, 1438, Museo del Prado, Madrid

    Antoniazzo Romano, SS. Giovanni Battista e Pietro, part. Polittico, 1495 circa, Museo del Prado, Madrid

  8. #28
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    Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Storia dei resti mortali di S. Giovanni Battista, 1484 circa, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
    Secondo la tradizione, il corpo di S. Giovanni fu sepolto a Sebaste dai suoi discepoli, mentre il capo dalla moglie di Erode. Rufino di Aquileia racconta, nella sua Storia ecclesiastica, che il 29 agosto 362, su ordine di Giuliano l'Apostata, i pagani di Sebastia distrussero la tomba venerata del Precursore e del profeta Eliseo, bruciando gran parte dei resti e disperdendone le ceneri. Parte delle reliquie furono salvate da alcuni monaci di passaggio che le consegnarono a Gerusalemme all’igumeno Filippo. Scrive Rufino: “Al tempo dell’imperatore Giuliano … a Sebaste città della Palestina, avvenne che i pagani invasero il sepolcro di San Giovanni Battista: dapprima ne dispersero le ossa, ma poi le raccolsero di nuovo per bruciarle; mischiarono con della polvere quelle sacre ceneri e le dispersero per campagne e villaggi. Ma per disposizione divina avvenne che da Gerusalemme sopravvenissero alcuni provenienti dal monastero di Filippo … mischiatisi fra coloro che raccoglievano le ossa destinate al fuoco, dopo averne raccolti essi pure con molta cura e pietosa premura, per quanto riusciva loro possibile, si allontanarono di là furtivamente…e recarono al santo padre Filippo quelle venerande reliquie” (Rufinus, Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 28, in PL 21, 536).
    In senso analogo si esprimono Teodoreto, Filostorgio ed altri.
    Le reliquie che si salvarono dal fuoco e dalla distruzione sarebbero state infine tumulate nella città di Mira.
    Si sa per certo che nel 540 le reliquie del Santo erano giunte a Mira, centro anatolico dell'antica Licia, luogo in cui nel 1099 vennero recuperate (comprate o rapinate non è certo...) dai Genovesi di ritorno dall'assedio di Antiochia, avvenuto nel corso della prima crociata.
    Le preziose reliquie giunsero, dopo un viaggio durato tre mesi, finalmente a Genova, come ci tramandano gli scritti di Jacopo da Varagine, il 6 maggio dello stesso anno, e trasportate stabilmente in San Lorenzo dopo una probabile sosta nella chiesa di San Giovanni di Prè, prospiciente l'omonima marina.
    Nella Cappella del Palazzo Ducale, a testimonianza dell’importanza e della risonanza dell’evento anche nei secoli successivi, è visibile l’affresco di Giovanni Battista Carlone (1655) rappresentante l’arrivo a Genova delle ceneri del Battista.

  9. #29
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    DIE 29 AUGUSTI

    IN DECOLLATIONE
    SANCTI JOANNIS BAPTISTÆ


    Duplex majus

    Introitus

    Ps. 118, 46-47

    L
    OQUÉBAR de testimóniis tuis in conspéctu regum, et non confundébar: et meditábar in mandátis tuis, quæ diléxi nimis. Ps. 91, 2. Bonum est confitéri Dómino: et psállere nómini tuo, Altíssime. V/. Glória Patri. Loquébar.

    Oratio

    SANCTI Joánnis Baptístæ Præcursóris et Mártyris tui, quaésumus, Dómine, veneránda festívitas: salutáris auxílii nobis præstet efféctum: Qui vivis.

    Léctio Jeremíæ Prophétæ

    Jer. 1, 17-19

    I
    N DIÉBUS illis: Factum est verbum Dómini ad me, dicens: Accínge lumbos tuos, et surge, et lóquere ad Juda ómnia, quæ ego præcípio tibi. Ne formídes a fácie eórum: nec enim timére te fáciam vultum eórum. Ego quippe dedi te hódie in civitátem munítam, et in colúmnam férream, et in murum aéreum, super omnem terram, régibus Juda, princípibus ejus, et sacerdótibus, et pópulo terræ. Et bellábunt advérsum te, et non prævalebunt: quia ego tecum sum, ait Dóminus, ut líberem te.

    Graduale. Ps. 91, 13 et 14. Justus ut palma florébit: sicut cedrus Líbani multiplicábitur in domo Dómini. V/. Ibid., 3. Ad annuntiándum mane misericórdiam tuam, et veritátem tuam per noctem.

    Allelúja, allelúja. V/. Osee 14, 6. Justus germinábit sicut lílium : et florébit in ætérnum ante Dóminum. Allelúja.

    Sequéntia sancti Evangélii secúndum Marcum

    Marc. 6, 17-29

    I
    N ILLO témpore: Misit Heródes, ac ténuit Joánnem, et vinxit eum in cárcere propter Herodíadem, uxorem Philíppi fratris sui, quia dúxerat eam. Dicébat enim Joánnes Heródi: Non licet tibi habére uxórem fratris tui. Heródias autem insidiabátur illi, et volébat occídere eum, nec póterat. Heródes enim metuébat Joánnem, sciens eum virum justum et sanctum: et custodiébat eum, et audíto eo multa faciébat, et libénter eum audiébat. Et cum dies opportúnus accidísset, Heródes natális sui cœnam fecit princípibus et tribúnis et primis Galilaéæ. Cumque introísset fília ipsíus Herodíadis, et saltásset, et placuísset Heródi simúlque recumbéntibus; rex ait puéllæ: Pete a me, quod vis, et dabo tibi. Et jurávit illi: Quia quidquid petiéris dabo tibi, licet dimídium regni mei. Quæ cum exiísset, dixit matri suæ: Quid petam? At illa dixit: Caput Joánnis Baptístæ. Cumque introísset statim cum festinatióne ad regem, petívit dicens: Volo, ut protínus des mihi in disco caput Joánnis Baptístæ. Et contristátus est rex: propter jusjurándum et propter simul discumbéntes nóluit eam contristáre: sed misso spiculatóre, præcépit afférri caput ejus in disco. Et decollávit eum in cárcere. Et áttulit caput ejus in disco: et dedit illud puéllæ, et puella dedit matri suæ. Quo audíto, discípuli ejus venérunt et tulérunt corpus ejus: et posuérunt illud in monuménto.

    Offertorium. Ps. 20, 2-3. In virtúte tua, Dómine, lætábitur justus, et super salutáre tuum exsultábit veheménter: desidérium ánimæ ejus tribuísti ei.

    Secreta

    MÚNERA, quæ tibi, Dómine, pro sancti Mártyris tui Joánnis Baptístæ passióne deférimus: quaésumus; ut ejus obténtu nobis profíciant ad salútem. Per Dóminum.

    Communio. Ps. 20, 4. Posuísti, Dómine, in cápite ejus corónam de lápide pretióso.

    Postcommunio

    C
    ÓNFERAT nobis, Dómine, sancti Joánnis Baptístæ sollémnitas: ut et magnífica sacraménta, quæ súmpsimus, significáta venerémur, et in nobis pótius édita gaudeámus. Per Dóminum.


    FONTE

  10. #30
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    a ragusa, città di cui San Giovanni è patrono insieme a San Giorgio, si venerano nel duomo le reliquie del santo Precursore, e le si portano in processione ogni 29 agosto...per me è stato molto emozionante vederle sfilare...

 

 
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