The Glorious Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptist John was the older cousin of our Lord. He was born miraculously of his aged parents, specially chosen by God to prepare the way for Christ, the Messiah. It was John who identified Jesus as "the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world." After he baptized Christ in the Jordan River, John was arrested by Herod and beheaded at the request of his wicked wife and daughter.
Christ called John "the greatest man ever born," and so his image is very prominent in Orthodox churches. He usually appears beside Christ on the iconostasis, or standing in prayer near Him, opposite the Theotokos. There are several feast days dedicated to Saint John throughout the year.
As John was the man who prepared the way for the coming of Christ and is considered a prophet, he holds a scroll. It reads, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2)