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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bulgaria Confirms Discovery of Relics of St. John the Baptist


Bulgaria Confirms John the Baptist Relics Unearthed in Sozopol

August 1, 2010
Novinite

Parts of St. John the Baptist's relics have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Bulgaria's southern Black Sea town of Sozopol, archaeologists announced on Sunday, confirming earlier reports.

Archaeologists investigating the Sv. Ivan (St. John) island off Sozopol have found an exquisite reliquary – a relic urn – built in the altar of an ancient church bearing the name of St. John the Baptist.

The urn, which was opened on Sunday, contains small bones from the arm and leg of the saint,the archaeologists claim.

The reliquary has the shape of a sarcophagus and was discovered by the team of Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov.

St. John the Baptist - called also the Forerunner - is an imposing figure in the Christian New Testament. He was the last to prophecy the coming of Jesus Christ - and the one to baptize the young Jesus in the river Jordan. The great prophet died a martyr's death beheaded by King Herod at the request of his daughter Salome.

According to the Bible, St. John the Forerunner prophesied about Christ thusly: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to wear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and fire" (Matthew 3:11).

St. John the Baptist is especially venerated by the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church. Over the centuries, there have been controversies about where his relics are located.

The town of Sozopol is one of the most ancient on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, dating from the Bronze age. It was colonized by Greeks, headed by philosopher Anaximander, around 610 BC. Sozopol became an early Christian centre with its own bishop. For most of the Middle Ages, it was part of the Byzantine empire.


Archaeologists Believe John the Baptist Relics Came from Constantinople

August 1, 2010
Novinite

Bulgaria's Minister without Portfolio has stated that the relics of St. John the Baptist, found in the Bulgaria's southern Black sea town of Sozopol, were probably donated by Constantinople.

“We suppose that in ancient times, someone from the Patriarchate of Constantinople has donated part of the holy relics to the monastery 'St. John the Forerunner',” Minister Bozhidar Dimitrov said Sunday, adding that the archaeological interest towards the Sv. Ivan island dates back to about 25 years ago.

Dimitrov participated in the official ceremony Sunday, which was attended also by a committee of specialists, MPs and journalists.

The archaeologists have announced that the relics of St. John the Baptist include parts of an arm, heel, tooth and a facial bone.

The head of the archaeological team, Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov, has given the relics to the Bishop of Sliven, Joanikii, who is supposed to decide where the relics should be lying in state.

According to the Bulgarian Minister without Portfolio, the relics should be placed in the “St. George” church near Sozopol.

On July 28, archaeologists investigating the Sv. Ivan (St. John) island off Sozopol found an exquisite reliquary – a relic urn – built in the altar of an ancient church bearing the name of St. John the Baptist.

The reliquary has the shape of a sarcophagus and was discovered by the team of Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov.


Archaeologists Claim John the Baptist Relics First on Bulgarian Coastline

August 1, 2010
Novinite

Bulgarian archaeologists claim that the reliquary with the relics of St. John the Baptist, found in the souther Black sea town of Sozopol, is the first ever around the Bulgarian coastline.

Archaeologists investigating the Sv. Ivan (St. John) island off Sozopol found on July 28 the exquisite reliquary – a relic urn, built in the altar of an ancient church bearing the name of ST. John the Baptist. This is the oldest church on the island and it dates back to 5th century BC.

At the official opening of the relics on Sunday, the head of the archaeological team, Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov, stated that the reliquary was made out of alabaster and not of marble, as they have previously thought.

“An anthropological analysis is to be done soon,” he added.

The Bulgarian Minister without Portfolio, Bozhidar Dimitrov, who was present at the opening ceremony, has stated that from now on, Sozopol will be the New Jerusalem.

“The Sozopol church “St. George” currently owns a piece of the Holy Cross, donated by the PM Boyko Borisov. Also, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has also given us the relics of St. Andrew. These are essential Christian relics of the oldest saints,” Dimitrov said, adding that besides sea tourism, Sozopol could also develop pilgrimage tourism.

“Pilgrimage tourism is very popular worldwide and it provides 30% of the revenues from the tourism industry,” he said.

At the opening ceremony on Sunday, the archaeologists stated that the reliquary included parts of an arm, heel, tooth and a facial bone.

The head of the archaeological team, Prof. Popkonstantinov, has given the relics to the Bishop of Sliven, Joanikii, who is supposed to decide where the relics should be lying in state.

According to the Bulgarian Minister without Portfolio, the relics should be placed in the “St. George” church near Sozopol.

For an earlier report on this discovery, read Relics Discovered in 5th Cent. Church on St. Ivan Island




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