The Forerunner of the Messiah is a very important saint; Eastern Christians consider him the greatest saint after the Holy Mother of God (though Western Christians tend to give that distinction to St. Joseph). Our Lord once said of His cousin: "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist" (Mt. 11:11).
St. John himself humbly understood that his role was to prepare the way for Christ, and then to step aside. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). How fitting it is that his feast should fall during the time when the days begin to slowly decrease, after the summer solstice. (follow this LINK to more)