Turkish Archaeologists Claim to Solve Mystery of Santa Claus’s Burial Place

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Sputinknews – 5/10/17

Archaeologists in Turkey may have solved a mystery dating back thousands of years, after they discovered an ancient tomb they believe contains the remains of Saint Nicholas, a fourth-century Christian bishop who became popularly known as Santa Claus.

Researchers stumbled across the tomb in the ground beneath Saint Nicholas Church, as they were conducting digital surveys of the ruins in Turkey’s southern Antalya province.

“We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor,” the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority Cemil Karabayram told Hurriyet Daily News.

​It is known that Saint Nicholas, who is also known as Nikolaos of Myra and Nikolaos the Miracle-worker, was buried at the church, but the Turkish experts now claim that what was thought to be his tomb is actually that of an anonymous priest.

According to legend, the remains of Saint Nicholas were taken to Bari, Italy in the 11th century AD, but researchers in Turkey suggest that those remains were actually those of the priest.

​Saint Nicholas Church is in the district of Demre, which was known as Myre in ancient times. It was built immediately after the death in 343AD of Saint Nicholas, who was Bishop of Myre.

Saint Nicholas is revered by Orthodox, Catholic and some Protestant churches. The patron saint of children, he had a reputation for generosity, often giving gifts in secret with no expectation of anything in return. His legend evolved into the figure of Santa Claus via the Dutch tradition of Sinterklaas.

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