Santa Claus discovered: Scientists find lost tomb of St Nicholas

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Cemil Karabayram, the head of Antalya's Monument Authority, said, 'We have obtained very good results but the real work starts now.

Archaeologists have unearthed a tomb beneath the ruins of an ancient church in Turkey which they believe contains the remains of Saint Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus.

An electronic survey of the area below St. Nicholas Church, which was built almost 1,500 years ago, showed there were gaps under a mosaic that may contain the grave and bones of St. Nick.

The process of uncovering the remains may take a while longer thanks to the time-consuming task of scaling each tile one by one before removing them as a whole.

They now believe that his undamaged grave was discovered in St. Nicholas Church, in Demre, Turkey.

The official continued by saying that they examined all files from 1942 to 1966 regarding St. Nicholas' remains and found out that the church was burnt down but was reconstructed.

St Nicholas is also the Saint of Children.

When St Nicholas died in AD 343, his body was interred at the church in Demre, formerly known as Myra.

Built in 520AD on the foundations of an older Christian church, the site was later flooded with silt and buried until 1862 when it was restored by Russian Tsar Nicholas I. The monarch then added a tower and other cosmetic changes to its Byzantine architecture. He was thought to have been laid to rest in Demre, but his bones were thought to have been disturbed during the Crusades and taken to Bari or Venice, Italy, according to Newsweek.

Most Catholic and Orthodox Christians accept that the Basilica di San Nicola in Bari, Italy, is the final resting place of Santa Claus's remains.

But when Dutch settlers arrived in the U.S., they brought stories of St Nicholas with them and Kris Kringle and St Nicholas were merged to become "Sinterklass" - or Santa Claus.

The saint became popularized in 16th century Europe when he became Father Christmas, known for giving presents to young children.

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