The tomb of Saint Nicholas, the inspiration behind Santa Claus, has been discovered after archaeologists discovered the remains of an ancient church in Turkey that was submerged in the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages by rising sea levels.
The saintly figure, who lived between 270 and 343 AD, is most famous for inheriting money he gave to the poor and in particular the story of how he donated sacks of gold to three girls to save them from a life. of prostitution.
Another church was built atop the foundation of the old basilica to protect the saint’s tomb, but only recently did archaeologists discover mosaic and stone floors from the previous sanctuary below the sanctuary that now stands, leading them to the final resting place of Saint Nicholas. led. .
Supporting the discovery claims that Saint Nicholas lived and died in Turkey and the team also announced that the same stone floor found beneath layers of sediment was also walked on by the Christian figure, Demirören Per news agency reports.
Archaeologists have been working on the site for years, carefully removing the floor from the Church of St. Nicholas which stands in Turkey. The removal revealed the floor of the original church that was built after Saint Nicholas died in AD 343
The original foundation was discovered in 2017 when researchers using electronic surveys found holes under the floor of the church
The Byzantine church built over the old foundation was a place of worship for Orthodox Christians between the 5th and 12th centuries and is surrounded by statues of Saint Nicholas.
It was also added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1982.
The ancient church was first discovered in 2017 by researchers conducting electronic surveys under St. Nicholas’ Church, which revealed gaps between the floor and the ground.
The team had announced that they may have found the tomb of Saint Nicholas, but were still working to carefully remove the floor of the Byzantine church so as not to damage it.
Osman Eravsar, the head of Antalya’s provincial commission for the preservation of cultural heritage, told Demirören News Agency last week: “The first church was flooded with the rise of the Mediterranean, and several centuries later, built above a new church.
“Now we’re at the remains of the first church and the floor St Nicholas stepped on,” he remarked. ‘The tiled floor of the first church on which Sinterklaas walked has been excavated.’
Sinterklaas, who lived between 270 and 343 AD, is most famous for inheriting money he gave to the poor and in particular the story of how he donated sacks of gold to three girls to save them from a life of prostitution.
The team also announced that Sinterklaas once walked on the same stone floor
Saint Nicholas, who is known for his gifts and charity to the poor, was born in the village of Patara to wealthy parents who died during an epidemic and left their son a large fortune.
Sinterklaas is the inspiration behind the Santa Claus story
As a devout Christian, Saint Nicholas followed Jesus’ teaching to sell all worldly possessions and give to the poor – and that’s what he did.
However, these ideas are not presented in historical documents, but shared in stories.
He did become Bishop of Myra in the 4th century, but was soon imprisoned by the Roman Emperor Diocletian at a time when Christians were persecuted and then released under the rule of Constantine the Great.
Archives do show that Sinterklaas was buried in the church that was in his name.
But the exact whereabouts of his body have always been a mystery.
Researchers now believe that at the time of his death in AD 343, Saint Nicholas was buried in the church in Demre, where he lay undisturbed until the 11th century.
The 1,674-year-old remains were previously believed to have been smuggled into the Italian city of Bari by merchants in the year 1087.
The team also recently uncovered the fresco of Jesus. The discovery of the tomb settles the mystery of where the saint is laid to rest
However, Turkish archaeologists now suggest that the wrong bones have been removed — and that those who went to Italy belonged to an anonymous priest.
He was buried in his church in Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine had become known there.
In 1087, Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from the tomb and took them to Bari, Italy.
Nicholas’s relics are still enshrined in the 11th-century Basilica of San Nicola in Bari, although fragments have been acquired by churches around the world.
Santa Claus is based on stories about Saint Nicholas who built a reputation for performing miracles and secretly giving gold to the needy.
The name Santa Claus originated from Nick’s Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas, a shortened form of Sint Nikolaas, which is Dutch for Sinterklaas.
THE ORIGIN OF SANTA CLAUS
Saint Nicholas was bishop of Myrna, in what is now Turkey, in the 4th century, and was known for his generosity towards children.
He was known for his secret gifts, such as putting coins in the shoes of people who left them for him.
This practice is still celebrated on its national holiday, December 6.
The bishop was popularized in 6th century Europe as Santa Claus, who secretly gave gifts to young children.
Young Dutch arrivals in the United States called Sinterklaas ‘Sinterklaas’, which later became Santa Claus.
In modern depictions, Sinterklaas is depicted as a portly old man dressed in red and white with a bushy beard.
But some have suggested that the original character wore green and that his modern red-and-white colors are the result of a 1930s marketing campaign for the soft drink brand Coca Cola.