Plenty of churches contain relics of saints, but not many of those relics were found in excavations from sixth-century churches.
Archaeologists at a medieval fortress site in Burgas, Bulgaria, found a lead vessel, which contains some of the ashes from the alleged grave of John the Apostle, in a reliquary that dates to the sixth century C.E. The reliquary, which was once part of an early Christian basilica, is named for Saint John the Theologian, who is considered one of Jesus' apostles. The vessel, which is less than an inch long, is decorated with crosses.
Milen Nikolov, director of the Burgas Regional Museum of History, said that early Christians would have believed the relic had healing properties. John the Apostle's grave in Turkey was also a pilgrimage site for early Christians seeking healing, Ancient Origins reports. Nikolov said the reliquary was "one of the most important discoveries" in the museum's history.
In addition to the relic, the archaeologists also uncovered a 10th century Bulgarian royal seal at the fortress site.