Archaeologists claim to have found remains of John the Baptist

Bulgarian archaeologists excavating an ancient monastery on the Black Sea, claim to have found the remains of St John the Baptist. The artifacts were found on St Ivan Island near the town of Sozopol. Local media reported that fragments of a human skull, hand and tooth were found inside a reliquary in the altar of a church dedicated to John the Baptist.

Professor Kazimir Popkonstantinov, who lead the excavations, said there was a Greek inscription on the reliquary urn referring to June 24, the date when Christians celebrate John the Baptist’s birth.  The urn was opened on  1 August,  in a ceremony in Sozopol attended by several dignitaries including the Bishop of Sliven.

Bozhidar Dimitrov, former director of the country's National History Museum, said the relics might have been donated by the Christian Church in Constantinople when the country was part of the Byzantine Empire.

However Bulgaria's culture minister, Vezhdi Rashidov,  has cautioned against jumping to conclusions before further tests are carried out.

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