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Today the Church commemorates the Beheading of St. John the Forerunner- one of very few Feasts in the course of the Liturgical Year upon which we fast (another, of course, being the Elevation of the Holy Cross in September). Now, the person known as Herod about whom we hear in today’s Gospel Reading is actually one of the sons of Herod the Great, the king who murdered 14,000 male babies and young children in and around Palestine at the time of Jesus’ birth. However, as this was all inside the limits of the Roman Empire, any king, or ruler, was appointed by Rome- it was not a hereditary position. So, while his father had been king, this particular Herod was actually a governor, and not royalty, although he was raised as though he were. And, because his father, in his position as king, had accumulated vast wealth, Herod, now a grown man and having inherited a portion of his father’s wealth, could afford to set himself up and live like a prince. He had multiple palaces, many servants, and a small army in his employ.