Santa’s grave was “found” under an ancient church after more than 1,600 years.

ARCHEOLOGISTS think they may have uncovered the tomb of Saint Nicholas beneath an ancient church in Turkey.

Researchers claim that the remains of the holy figure – who inspired Santa Claus – were recently discovered under a 6th Century building more than 1,600 years after his death.

Researchers claim they have discovered the remains of Saint Nicholas under a church in Demre, Turjey

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Researchers claim they have discovered the remains of Saint Nicholas under a church in Demre, TurjeyPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor
Saint Nicholas was a charitable Christian who dedicated his life to helping the poor

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Saint Nicholas was a charitable Christian who dedicated his life to helping the poorCredit: Alamy

Saint Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD and is said to be buried in the UNESCO-recognized church in the small coastal town of Demre.

But his alleged tomb, which has been described as Santa’s original grotto, was not found until 2017 when researchers conducted electronic surveys.

According to reports, Turkish archaeologists discovered a crypt 5 feet below the marble slabs that make up the floor of the church.

A long-standing theory has it that the tomb moved underground during an earthquake and went undetected until modern techniques allowed experts to scan beneath the surface.

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Osman Eravsar, the head of Antalya’s provincial cultural heritage preservation agency, revealed his theory to Demirören news agency last week.

“The first church was inundated with the rise of the Mediterranean, and a few centuries later a new church was built over it,” he said.

“Now we have reached the remains of the first church and the ground on which Saint Nicholas stepped.

“The floor tiles of the first church on which Saint Nicholas walked have been excavated.”

Another added: “There is a tomb and it seems more magnificent and special than the ones in the church.

“The tombs of other priests were at the corners, but this holy one is in the middle.

“It’s a mystery, because even though there was an earthquake, these walls look undamaged.”

Researchers initially thought the body of Saint Nicholas lay in the tomb in the church before being stolen by Italian thieves in the 11th century.

However, Turkish archaeologists have since suggested the wrong bones were removed – and the ones that went to Italy belonged to an anonymous priest.

Nicholas’s relics, meanwhile, are kept in Bari’s 11th-century Church of San Nicola and are open to the public.

It is believed that Saint Nicholas was born 270 years after Jesus and lived in Demre for most of his life.

The devout Christian devoted his life to helping the poor and needy, even donating his inheritance to the cause.

He was particularly well known for his secret gifts and earned a reputation for leaving coins in people’s shoes.

The kindness of Saint Nicholas has become the stuff of legend over the centuries and he later became known as Santa Claus who gives presents to children.

The Dutch took their version of “Sinterklaas” when they settled in America, where he became the Santa Claus many know today.

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Saint Nicholas Day continues to be celebrated and is popular with many children in parts of Europe who receive gifts on the day.

Some European cities hold special parades or celebrations in honor of the patron saint.

Archaeologists reportedly discovered a crypt 5 feet below the marble slabs that make up the floor of the church

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Archaeologists reportedly discovered a crypt 5 feet below the marble slabs that make up the floor of the churchCredit: Alamy
Historians believe that the tomb shifted underground during an earthquake

5

Historians believe that the tomb shifted underground during an earthquakePhoto credit: Getty – Contributor
The kindness of Saint Nicholas became the stuff of legend over the centuries and he later became known as Santa Claus

5

The kindness of Saint Nicholas became the stuff of legend over the centuries and he later became known as Santa ClausPhoto credit: Getty

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9591329/grave-father-christmas-discovered-ancient-church/ Santa’s grave was “found” under an ancient church after more than 1,600 years.

Fry Electronics Team

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