According to a Turkish news site, Demirören News Agency, researchers may have discovered the tomb of St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra while excavating the ruins of a third and fourth century church in Demure, Turkey, Breitbart reports.
St. Nicholas, as his name suggests, is the man who inspired our modern Santa Claus. He was the Bishop of Myra prior to his death on December 6, 343 AD.
The tomb is probably empty as the bones of St Nicholas were apparently transported to Bari, Italy in 1087 AD, and are now on display at the Basilica di San Nicola. Other bone fragments may have also ended up San Nicolò al Lido in Venice.
Nevertheless, researchers believe the newly discovered basilica may still contain other relics associated with the infamous Bishop.
Though little is known about St. Nickolas’ life, historical documents reveal that 250 years after his death people were making pilgrimages to his tomb in Bari revealing his growing fame.
So how did his life pave the way for our modern Santa Claus?
Breitbart provides more details:
Nicholas was born during the third century in the village of Patara, which at the time was part of Greece and is now part of Turkey. He became the Bishop of Myra while still a young man, being known for his generosity to those in need. His reputed habit of giving gifts, often in secret, gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus – a variant of Saint Nicholas. The iconic red hat and coat were taken from the bishop’s vestments that Nicholas was believed to wear.
St. Nicholas is venerated by Catholics as well as the Orthodox, and is the patron saint of sailors and merchants, as well as pawnbrokers, archers, travelers, bankers, children and repentant thieves.
READ: Santa Found! Tomb of Saint Nicholas Discovered in Turkey