According to Hieronymus (Ep. 108, 31), Sebaste was the burial place of the Old Testament figures of Elisha and Obadiah and of John the Baptist.
Other traditions regard Sebaste as the site of the First Invention of the head of John the Baptist. As such, it became a focus of pilgrimage. John Phocas, visiting in 1185, described the medieval church and monastery that stood at the place. Excavations in the twentieth century (Crawfoot 1932) revealed vestiges of the earlier church with attached structures.