February 24th the Discovery of the Head of St. John the Baptizer is Celebrated
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 with honor.
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 Christ.
The images of the relics, kept amongst the richest treasures of the Muslim Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, may be seen by Clicking Here.
Following we have transcribed what
appears on the plaques next to the Relic's Case.
On the plaque by the relics found at the Treasury of the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul - Turkey - can be read:
"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....