Relics of John the Baptist

On this day we celebrate the first and second invention of the holy head of holy glorious prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John.

The holy and venerable, even among the angels, the head of the Forerunner was first found by two monks in Herod's house through the appearance and revelation of the Forerunner himself, while these men were on a pilgrimage to the life-giving Tomb of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A certain potter received the holy head from the monks and brought it to the city of Emesa. Because that potter knew that the holy head had brought him good fortune, he used to honour it excessively and, when he died, he left it to his sister instructing her neither to move it from its place nor to show it to anybody else but to honour and venerate it.

When the potter's sister had died, many people received the holy head in succession. Finally, this precious treasure ended up in the possession of an Arian hieromonk, Eustathios by name, who was sent away from his cave, where he used to live, by the orthodox, because he ascribed the healings, which the holy head worked, to his heresy. So, he used to say that it was working healings, because he who held it was an Arian. By divine dispensation (oeconomia), when that heretic had been driven away from that place, he left the holy head in the cave, where it lay hidden till the time of Marcellus the archimandrite and Uranios the bishop of Emesa, i.e. till AD 431 when Valentinian the New was king. Then, many people received divine revelations about the head of the Forerunner. So, it was found for a second time in a pot and was brought into the church by the fore-mentioned Uranios, bishop of Emesa, where it worked various healings and wondrous miracles.