Relics of Saints were found during the reconstruction of St. Stepanos Monastery in Tabriz in 2006. These were supposed to be the bones of martyrs of the Battle of Vartanantz. A group headed by Prelate of the Armenian Diocese of Atrpatakan Grigor Chifchian is now studying the relics.
It is noted that as early as the 17th century traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier writes in his memories “The trips to Turkey and Persia” that in 1668 he saw part of St. Srepanos’ jaw kept in the Church together with the skull of St. Mathews, parts of the neck and finger of Saint John the Baptist, the right hand of St. Gregory, Dionysius the Areopagite’s student, as well as a box including the relics of the 72 students of Jesus.
A secret cell was discovered in the left part of the Church during its reconstruction in 2006. There were remains of a rotten wooden box there, as well as relics resembling the ones described by Tavernier.
According to tradition, the relics were being wrapped in paper with the name of the Saint and a prayer on it. Excerpts of prayers have been revealed on the paper fragments found in Tabriz.
The papers differ from each other both with their quality and the writing belonging to different ages.