By pious tradition, after the beheading of the Forerunner, Herodias, the mother of the dissolute Salome who danced before Herod and asked for St. John’s head by the urging of her mother, buried the holy head in an unclean place. Having heard that the head was so desecrated, the pious Joanna, wife of the steward of Herod’s household – Chuza, secretly took the head and buried it on the Mount of Olives.
Celebrating the feast of the Beheading of St. John, the Chief of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) served in the chapel of the Finding of the Head of the Forerunner built upon the place where the Baptist’s righteous head was buried. Archimandrite Vasily (Druzhinets), archimandrite Innokenty (Sereda) and deacon Vyacheslav Batalsky co-served with Fr. Roman. Abbess Barbara (Novikova) prayed along with the sisters of the convent. Many pilgrims received Holy Communion at the service. After Divine Liturgy, as is prescribed by the Typicon, a panihida was served for all orthodox christian officers and soldiers who gave their lives on the field of battle