St. Nicholas’ body may have been finally found in Demre, Turkey.
Warning: You may not want children to know about this. Santa Claus may have been found and it is not in the North Pole.
Archeologists have found an intact temple and burial ground at St. Nicholas Church in the Antalya province in Turkey.
The search for final resting grounds is important as a number of towns have made the claim that they hold the saint's body from the time of the Crusades. If the Demre remains are his, this enduring mystery will finally be solved. Turkish archaeologists have claimed that the remains are within a previously subterranean church below the functioning more modern St. Nicholas church in Antalya's Demre district.
Saint Nicholas lived in the 3rd century. St. Nicholas was renowned for his charitable activities. He was known for giving away his wealth and giving gifts to the local community in secret. One of his most famous stories is saving three sisters from being sold into slavery by secretly paying their dowry so they could be married.
His generosity birthed the legend of Santa Claus. Electronic surveys of the underground church in Demre located gaps within the ancient structure. Turkish archaeologists will have to now carefully remove the mosaic which is laid above his tomb. The temple is at present not accessible due to stone reliefs blocking the entrance.
It's actually a pretty fascinating story about finding the real St. Nicholas' tomb. People have been praying to wrong bones for 1000 yrs!
— Cari Wade Gervin (@carigervin) October 5, 2017
Cemil Karabayram, who is director of survey and the monuments present in Antalya, said that the prognosis of the surveys made were excellent but the actual work begins now. He said that his team will now begin to excavate and perhaps even find the actual, untouched body. The consensus is that the body they will find will be Saint Nicholas, the person who inspired the Santa Claus story.
Most pious people believe that the final resting place of St. Nicholas is in Bari, Italy. The devout and the tourist alike throng Basilica di San Nicola in the town. Turkish experts disagree. They say that the knights mistakenly took the body of another priest. The original remained where it was in Demre.
By the Renaissance St. Nicholas was the most popular saint in Europe, even though culturally the veneration of saints was looked down on. Holland, in particular, gave great respect to him. The myth of St. Nicholas was brought over to America with evidence in 1774 of Dutch families honoring the anniversary of his death. The name Santa Claus comes from Sinter Klass (the Dutch nickname for St. Nicholas). Modern Santa Claus came into popularity with advertisements in newspapers in the 1820s, with prominent images of him displayed for Christmas shopping.
The tomb was discovered used digital imaging technology that allows Archeologists to see throw walls and stone to uncover hidden rooms and passages. This is the same technology that has been used for Stonehenge and the Pyramids. Proof of the body will take some time to uncover. Because the floor is a mosaic it will have to be carefully uncovered to avoid causing damage to the artwork.