Friday, July 30, 2010

Archaeologists Uncover John the Baptist Relics in Bulgaria's Sozopol

Exciting news from Bulgaria today:

"Parts of St. John the Baptist's relics might have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Bulgaria's southern Black Sea town of Sozopol, report Bulgarian media. 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 reliquary has the shape of a sarcophagus and is dated end of 4th - beginning of 5th c. AD. It was discovered by the team of Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov. The church's name, as well as the fact that it had a special emperor's statute issued, has hinted to archeologists that it might actually contain St. John's relics. The urn is expected to be opened Sunday." more at link

And then... "One day after the unique discovery of an ancient marble reliquary, thought to contain the relics of St John the Baptist that archaeologists made on the island of St John near Sozopol, today the team has run into another finding. A mysterious stone box was unearthed from the same niche which contained the reliquary.  The box looks like a match box but is a bit larger. There are two inscriptions in Greek on it. The one reads: My Lord, help your servant, Toma and the other inscription, found on the other side of the box reads: Saint John. The stone container is full of soil and stirred archeologists in complicated reflections. “What we have discovered is strange and inexplicable. For now we do not know what it is, we are not sure about its purpose either. We can only guess that the stone box is a part of the reliquary..." source
 
Look a a map: I was struck by the dates and by the rapidity that Christianity had spread.
This spread is a miracle in itself. The changed lives resulting from its taking hold in cultures as divergent as Israel, Turkey, and the Baltics is also a miracle. It is a testament to the truth inherent in the Gospel, and the miracle of His death for our sins, the supreme miracle.

I am always surprised at people who deny Christianity's factual beginnings, proved in history, by likening it to fables. Fables don't spread so far and so fast. Fables don't stick, 2000 years later.

"Christianity began spreading initially from Jerusalem, and then throughout the Near East, ultimately becoming the state religion of Armenia in 301 , of Ethiopia in 325, of Georgia in 337, and then the state religion of the Roman Empire in 380. Becoming common to all of Europe in the Middle Ages, it expanded throughout the world during the Age of Exploration. Christianity has thus become the world's largest religion."

Jesus saves!

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