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The Bible and Archaeology

What are some of the most famous relics related to the Bible?

Some of the most famous relics are the bones of John the Baptist. In 2010, archaeologists excavating an ancient monastery on a Bulgarian island known as Sveti Ivan (which translates to Saint John) discovered bone fragments and a tooth thought to belong to John the Baptist. The bones date from the first century C.E. The reason John the Baptist’s name is linked to the bones is because the archaeologists found a box nearby bearing the name of John the Baptist and his date of birth.

Another set of bones thought by some to be from biblical times are those belonging to Mary Magdalene. According to centuries-old tradition, a few years after Jesus was crucified and resurrected, Mary Magdalene was imprisoned. After she was released, she and some other Christians were exiled by being put in a boat without sails, oars, or any supplies. It was a miracle that the boat drifted safely to the southeast shore of France. There, according to legend, Mary and her companions converted the people there. When she died, her bones were kept in a stone crypt. In the intervening centuries, thousands of people have paid homage to Mary’s bones. Occasionally, a bone or two is taken on tour. As recently as March 2013, one of Mary’s shinbones toured parts of the United States.

Other relics are the Chains of St. Peter. Legend has it that when Pope Leo I held the chain associated with Peter’s imprisonment in Jerusalem next to the chain associated with Peter’s imprisonment in Rome, the two chains fused together. The chains are kept in a clear case at the Church of Peter in Chains in Rome.


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