Today, Thursday, August 31, the Armenian Church commemorates St. John the Forerunner and Job the Righteous. St. John the Forerunner, also known as John the Baptist (Hovhannes Mgrdich), is an important figure in the Gospels. He is recognized as the “forerunner” (garabed) to the Messiah. He lived as a hermit in the desert of Judea. At the age of 30 he began to preach against the evils of the times and called for penance and baptism because “the kingdom of heaven is close at hand” (Mt 3:2).

Job is a good and righteous person who experiences and endures catastrophe after catastrophe. Thus, the phrase “the patience of Job” has entered the English lexicon as a popular cliché. The Book of Job is one of the five books classified as the “poetical books” of the Bible. The central theme is the mystery of suffering. Ultimately, Job is rewarded because “the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning,” and “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days” (Job, Chapter 42).