Santa Claus has likely been found but the news isn’t good, boys and girls.
Turkish archaeologists believe they have found the real remains of St. Nicholas, the inspiration behind the Santa legend, buried beneath an ancient church in his home town of Demre, Turkey.
An electronic survey of the area below St. Nicholas Church, which was built nearly 1,500 years ago, showed there were gaps under a mosaic that may contain the grave and bones of St. Nick. If so, it will disprove the belief that the bones of St. Nicholas were smuggled to Italy by merchants in 1087 and reburied in Bari.
Archaeologists are optimistic they will find the remains of Santa in the tomb-like void but work will be slow — they have been at it for three months already — because they want to preserve the ancient mosaic stones covering the void.
“We will reach the ground and maybe we will find the untouched body of Saint Nicholas,” Dr. Cemil Karabayram, the Director of Surveying and Monuments in Antalya province, told the Hurriyet Daily News. “We have obtained very good results but real works start now. The temple on the ground of the church is in good condition. We believe that it has received no damage so far.
“But it is hard to enter it because there are stones with motifs on the ground. These stones should be scaled one by one and then removed.”
St. Nicholas is believed to have died in 343 and buried in the church that carries his name. Bones moved to Italy after the church burned are now thought to be those of an unknown priest, not St. Nick.
St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myrna in Turkey before his death, secretly gave gifts to local children. On one occasion, according to lore, he climbed down a chimney to leave a gift.