St. Nicholas' Remains Located in Turkey?

By Mei Manuel, October 05, 2017 19:10 PM

St. Nicholas of Myrna(Screenshot/ Youtube)

The resting place of St. Nicholas has eluded experts for centuries; however, a new lead in Demre district in Antalya, Turkey may finally put the rumors to rest.

According to archaeologists studying the area, they have located an intact church and burial grounds under the Church of St. Nicholas. Demre is believed to be where the 4th century bishop was born. Antalya's surveying and monuments director Cemil Karabayram is positive about the new discovery and remarked "We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now. We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of St. Nicholas."

The mystery as to where the saint's body is located has been a debate in the international community for centuries as several towns claimed that they housed the remains since the Crusades. The Saint died in 343AD and was said to be interred at a church in Demre (or the former Myra), but according to reports, the Crusaders moved his remains in 11th century and brought the remains either to Venice or Bari in Italy. Another story suggests that his bones were brought by French knights to an old churchyard in Ireland.

Currently, Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy is viewed as the official resting place of St. Nicholas for the Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities. However, with the new discovery in Demre and through the other studies made by Turkish experts, experts believe that the bones brought to Italy were from an anonymous priest and that the saint continues to lay in peace somewhere in Turkey.

Today, many people know St. Nicholas as Santa Claus due to the Dutch pronunciation of his name. St. Nicholas is actually a 4th-century bishop in Turkey and became known for his gift-giving to the poor and needy. The legend of his kindness and generosity grew after his death, becoming a popular saint in the time of the Reformation in 1500. Aside from being associated with gift-giving, St. Nicholas is also known as the protector of children and sailors.

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