In the eastern part of Sutivan, around St John’s church, foundations of a great basilica with a three-leafed shrine and lobby – narthex have been uncovered. One of approximately ten early Christian basilicas from the 6th century was situated there, one of only three churches of that type discovered in Dalmatia. Several found pieces of altar and columns are being kept in the current church built in 1665. It is believed that a Benedictine monastery was established there in the early middle ages, same as elsewhere next to the early Christian churches on the island. Since ancient times people have been calling the adjacent ruins “mojstir”. It is certain that St John of Sutivan , along with the land, came into possession of the church of St John the Baptist from Split. In 1097 Split’s prior Peter gifted Sutivan’s church of St John the Baptist his estate around the church “as far as one can hear birds sing”.
Within the foundations of the old basilica, nowadays one can find the little church of St John with an aristocratic coat of arms and Latin writing stating that a canon and a rector Jerolim Natalis erected that church in 1655.
The foundations of the basilica are still visible today when walking around the church. An interesting detail inside the church is a restored wooden altar and an imbedded stone with a drawing. Some say of a fish while others think it’s a sea lion found in the foundations of the old church. On July 24th mass is held followed by a folk celebration with lighting of the Midsummer bonfire and jumping over it. Sutivan got its name after the old basilica.