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Nativity of St 

John the Baptist, The. This feast of our Lord is celebrated on June 24 in the Episcopal calendar of the church year. Luke's gospel (Chapter 1) records that John was miraculously born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were childless and advanced in age when John was conceived. The angel Gabriel told Zechariah that Elizabeth would bear him a son who would be named John. Zechariah received this startling announcement with disbelief, and he was struck speechless. Zechariah's speech was restored on the eighth day after John's birth, when John was named and circumcised. At this time, Zechariah uttered the canticle known as the Benedictus Dominus Deus(Lk 1:67-79), which is one of the canticles for the Daily Office (see Canticles 4 and 16, BCP, pp. 50-51, 92-93). Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her pregnancy when Gabriel appeared to Mary at the Annunciation. Mary was related to Elizabeth, and Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth had conceived a son in her old age. The feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist was originally associated with the Epiphany, but its observance was moved to June 24 in the west and June 25 in the east. This feast is celebrated about six months before Christmas, as Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her pregnancy at the time of Jesus' conception. Propers for celebration of the Nativity of John the Baptist were included in the Leonine, Gelasian, and Gregorian sacramentaries. The feast was included in the 1549 BCP. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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