The Church of Saint John the Baptist in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem is a small Greek Orthodox church. In its current form, most of the above-ground church dates to the 11th century, and the crypt to the Late Roman or Byzantine period (between ca. 324 and 500 CE). According to the Greek Orthodox tradition, the head of St. John the Baptist was held in this church.
The first structure, a north-south oriented trefoil building, was built sometime in the 4th-6th century and served for unknown purposes. It was damaged at the Persian conquest of Jerusalem in 614 and then extensively modified. A source can be interpreted to mean that it was restored during the 7th century by John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria.
By the 11th century the ancient structure had sunk to at least 3 metres beneath the street level, with its doors and windows blocked, and served as a storage place for goods and water. During this century, an organisation of Amalfitan merchants settled in Jerusalem and acquired the south-west corner of the Hadrianic forum, where they established a pilgrim hospice, complete with a hospital and a church. The new church was erected above the ancient structure, which became its basement and dictated the tri-apsed layout of the entire church. This church was tended to by Benedictine monks. In 1099, Crusader knights injured during the siege of Jerusalem were treated at the hospital and after recovering started here what was to become the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, named after the church, also known as the Knights Hospitaller. After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladin in 1187, the basement was apparently filled with debris.
At the end of the 15th century, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem acquired the church and most probably transformed the basement into a chapel, which according to excavator, Jean-Baptiste Humbert of the École Biblique, might well constitute the first time that the structure was used for a cultic purpose. During the 16th century the church was used for a short period as a mosque, but was soon recovered by the Greek Orthodox, who in 1660 build a large pilgrim hospice next to it. In the 19th century the crypt was cleared out, and an impressive reliquary was brought to light from the masonry of the altar.References:
Spišskà Kapitula, a unique fortified ecclesiastical ensemble, began as a small fortified settlement overlooking Spišské Podhradie in the 12th century. It was the site of the residence of the Provost of the castle, in the no longer extant St Martin"s monastery, and later became a capitulary. This was destroyed in by Tatars in 1241-1243, but the pilgrim"s chapel, in rotunda form and dedicated to the Virgin, survived until the 18th century and the monastery until the 15th century.
The complex of buildings there is based on the Cathedral of St Martin, where building began in 1285 as a three-aisled Romanesque basilica with a chancel at the west end and a double spire. It owes its present form to successive remodellings and additions in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The Provost's residence was completed in 1281 and further religious buildings were added. Frequent raids by marauding Bulgars and others led to its being fortified in the 14th century. The cathedral was rebuilt in the later 14th century. In 1776 it became the residence of the Bishop and four years later a seminary was established. In 1819 the first teacher training centre in Hungary was founded there.
The Bishop's Palace is largely Baroque, with some excellent interior decorations, like many of the religious buildings in the group. The oval ground plan of the centre of the town is due to its having been fortified in the 14th century. The various religious buildings had defensive functions in this early period. New monastery buildings were erected when the provost"s residence was rebuilt and the whole area fortified. The earlier central fortifications were removed in the 18th century.
Spišské Kapitula is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Levoča, Spiš Castle and the associated cultural monuments.