The importance of St. John the Baptist is underscored by no least than
in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox calendars:
- On June 24th, the Birth of John the
- On February 24th, the Discovery of the Head of St. John the Baptizer
- On August 29th, the Memorial of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist
- On September 23rd, the Memorial of the Conception of St. John the
Baptist (Orthodox Calendar)
- On January 7th, the Synaxis (Feast) of St. John the Baptizer
St. John, the forerunner of our Lord, was beheaded by King Herod at the
instigation of his wife Herodias. Joanna, wife of Chuze, Herod's
steward (Luke 8:3) recovered John's head and buried it
The relic was passed through private hands until it came to rest, by
divine providence, in the care of Bishop Ouranios of Cappadocia (what
is now central Turkey).
In the ninth century it was translated to Constantinople (what is now
Istanbul, Turkey). The finding and veneration of this precious relic is
a testimony to the importance of St. John, who is revered by Christians
and Muslims as father of ascetics and foremost of the witnesses to
The the relics were kept amongst the richest treasures of the
Muslim Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. (1)
Following we have transcribed what appears on the plaques next to the
Relic's Case found at the Treasury of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul -
"The skull of St. John the Baptist was originally in the possession of
the Byzantine and fell into Ottoman hands after the conquest. This
relic was presented by Mehmed II (1451-81) to Mara Despena, daughter of
the Serbean King.
Subsequently it became the property of Cezayioli Hasan Pasa and after
his death brought to the palace around 1790."
"The (right) arm of St. John the Baptist and its case belonged to the
Byzantine prior to the conquest. In 1484, Bayezed II (1481-1512) sent
it as a gift to the knights of Rhodes. It was later discovered in
Lefkose Castle in Cyprus and brought back to Istanbul in 1585"
The Muslims have greatly revered John the Baptist for centuries. Why?
His greatest "contribution" was to announce and to prepare the world
for the coming of Jesus Christ. Think about that... (2)
images of the relics of St. John the Baptist, kept amongst the
richest treasures of the Muslim Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.
Some Gross Misconceptions About Islam
Originally Published in 2003
Added "Background" Section on August
© Copyright 2003
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