Bulgarian Archaeologists Agitated over Relics of St John the Baptist
The discovery of relics of St John the Baptist in the Black Sea town of Sozopol has caused jealousy among Bulgarian archaeologists, according to Diaspora Minister Bozhidar Dimitrov.
Bulgarian media have published several opinions of archaeologists wishing to remain anonymous saying that the authorities were too fast to declare that the relics found in Sozopol actually belonged to St. John the Baptist.
The relics, which include part of an arm bone, a skull bone, and a tooth, were found in a sealed marble reliquary in the St. John the Forerunner Church on the St. Ivan Island near Sozopol on July 28, 2010, by the team of archaeologists led by Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov.
Bulgaria’s Culture Minister Rashidov has urged calm over the discovery. Diaspora Minister and renowned historian Bozhidar Dimitrov, however, has expressed absolute certainty in the fact that the relics found on the St. Ivan Island belonged to St. John the Baptist. He has pointed to an inscription on the marble sarcophagus holding the relics as the greatest evidence for their origin.
“The other archaeologists are shaken by wild envy of their colleague, Professor Kazimir Popkonstantinov. He is a rarely lucky man. It is very seldom that one would find an inscription, and in archaeology the inscription is considered the most authentic proof,” stated Dimitrov, who is a former Director of the Bulgarian National History Museum and a native of Sozopol.
The inscription in question found on the reliquary states that “some time in the 5th century a man named Toma transferred the holy relics exactly on the birthday of St. John the Forerunner.”
Disgruntled archaeologists quoted by a number of Bulgarian media have not really questioned the authenticity of the relics but the sensational way it was presented to the public without carrying out first the respective tests. Some have pointed out that the bones can only be dated but that there is no way of actually proving that they belonged to one of the founders of Christianity.
Many have expressed discontent with the “sensational” nature of Bulgarian archaeological discoveries in the past few years. They explain this approach with the attempt of some of the members of their professional community to attract sponsors for their digs.
Despite the doubts, the special procession which is going to bring the relics of St. John the Baptist to the St. George Church in Sozopol is scheduled for Thursday. According to the Bulgarian 24 Chasa Daily, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has order a special silver sarcophagus for the relics, for which he is going to pay with money of his own.
- » Unique Byzantine Coin Discovered in Bulgaria's Balchik
- » Bulgarian PM Unveils Archaeological Site with Museum Near Sredets
- » Excavation of Bulgaria's Largest Thracian Mound to Begin in May
- » UNESCO, Italy Join Forces to Protect Cultural Heritage from Extremists
- » Egypt's 'Indiana Jones' to Reveal Details of Tutankhamun's Death in Sofia Lecture
- » Archaeologists Explore Bulgaria's Submerged Cultural Heritage in Black Sea
Well, Viking ,for these times at least we have several "Histories" to ponder and choose from and, if one really wants , can find the "truth" for oneself.
For the Antiquity we only have the Greeks and the Romans... Just imagine a history written by a Chartagenese or a Persian...
I always get a kick out of how little the Russian involvement in WW 2 was (say was because I have no idea about now)taught in the USA and how little of the American fighting and losses were taught in the east.
Like you said.
Those who write history usually have a boss.
I don't know if Josephus was a Roman citizen. His name certainly bespeaks Latin origin, but my understand was that he was Jewish, and wanted to give the Romans a better look at the Jews (at least in "Antiquities of the Jews". I don't know about "Wars of the Jews".
Paul was a Roman citizen, but I don't know about Josephus.
PPS - BUT it is the Greeks and the Romans that first had the idea of HISTORY as the story of their times written down for the sole benefit of the futures generstions.
All the others - Egyptians , Sumerians , Akkadians, Babylonians, Persians - left us just stories, books of the deads, laws, peace treaties, auto-glorifying insctiptions an and - most of all - accounting records. And legends - Ghilgamesh comes to mind...
"After all, he was an historian writing for the benefit of the Roman conquerors."
Bill - it so happens that all historians wrote more or less for the benfit of their own people, society or government. It also happens that most historians from the antiquity deeply despised other people - that's why we know so little about Gauls, Illirians , Dardanians, Thracians, and so on. Everything is filtered throug a Greek or Roman F?hlweise .
PS. the Mavrud makes wonders !
"He is also mentioned by Flavius Josephus who is usually very correct regarding the historical facts."
How do we know that someone did not tamper with the writing of Flavius in order to corroborate the Christian fiction? I still maintain that all religion is fiction. And it the grander scheme of the Universe, who cares what we small and dumb humans believe? We are such arrogant little pests. The universe doesn't care, no one cares about us, we are just giving ourselves more importance than we are worth.
"I doubt very much that John the Baptist ever existed, let alone that his bones are in some box somewhere. He is a fictional character, like Harry Potter."
No, he is not. He is also mentioned by Flavius Josephus who is usually very correct regarding the historical facts.