Florence: Found Relic of St. John the Baptist

It is a bone of the Saint initially kept in a distinctive reliquary lost after a flood in 1557.

Italy – Florence (June 22, 2021 14:45, Gaudium Press) – A relic of St. John the Baptist, lost after a flood in 1557, was recently found. It will be exhibited for the first time on June 24 in the Cathedral of Florence on the occasion of the patronal feast.

It is a bone of the Saint initially displayed in a special reliquary that was lost. Later, the Relic was included in a group of eleven other fragments of saints’ bones in the Reliquary of St. Simeon Stylite.

Restoration of the reliquary

These remains originally belonged to the Byzantine Emperor John VI Cantacuzene. Later, the relics passed from the hands of a member of the noble Florentine family of Torregiani to the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. It finally arrived at the Florence Baptistery, where they remained until the year 1700.

Recently, the Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, referred the reliquary for restoration. During the procedure, the Relic of St. John the Baptist was carefully analyzed. Its authenticity was certified.

Confirmation of the Relic’s authenticity

Among the relevant components needed to confirm the the authenticity of the relic, can be found:

-the initials of the Saint written in Greek characters, directly on the bone with black ink;
-a tiny inscription, also in Greek, engraved on the silver golden bezel, with the inscription translated into Italian: “Reliquia San Giovanni Precursore.”

“This discovery removes an important relic of the Baptist from oblivion and returns to the knowledge and worship of the faithful of the Catholic Church,” – says Cardinal Giuseppe Betori. “Especially to the veneration of the faithful belonging to the sister Churches of the East, who enthusiastically or visit the Duomo and the other Florentine churches to pay homage to the numerous memories of the undivided Church and to admire the countless works of art that Christian culture has produced over the centuries,” he concluded. (EPC)


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