Archeologists claim they’ve located the remains of St. John the Baptist in Bulgaria

August 5th, 2010 - 3:11 am ICT by BNO News  

SVETI IVAN, BULGARIA (BNO NEWS) – Bulgarian archeologists claimed on late Tuesday to have found the mortal remains of Saint John the Baptist while excavating a 5th century monastery on the Sveti Ivan island on the Black Sea, the BBC announced on Wednesday.

A reliquary was discovered last week under the monastery’s basilica. The container of holy relics was opened on Sunday and archeologists found bone fragments from a skull in addition to a hand and a tooth.

Further tests will be performed to confirm the identity of the bones. Excavation leader Kazimir Popkonstantinov said that a Greek inscription in the reliquary read June 24, the date when Christians celebrate John the Baptist’s birth.

The reliquary is made of alabaster and dates from approximately the middle of the fifth century. This is the first to be discovered in the region.

There are thousands of alleged relics of John the Baptist scattered around the world. The Vatican Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology said they will wait until a deeper study is conducted before expressing an opinion on the discovery.

John the Baptists is considered one of the most important figures in Christianity. He heralded the arrival of Jesus Christ and baptized him in the River Jordan.

According to the Gospels, John was put to death by beheading on the orders of the local ruler, Herod Antipas. He is considered a particularly significant figure in the Orthodox Church.

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