Dr. Nevzat Çevik, archaeology professor at Akdeniz University, Antalya (Turkey) in a recent interview has called on Vatican to return to Turkey the remains of St. Nicholas aka Santa Clause, which were taken out of his original burial place in 1087 CE by force.
“The bones of Saint Nicholas were taken from Turkey by force to be buried in a church in the Bari province of Italy and should be return to the place where St. Nicholas lived. It has nothing to do with tourism. Returning his bones to his grave in Demre, a town in the Turkey’s southern province of Antalya is a human wish,” said Nevzat Çevik, adding that St. Nicholas would himself like to be buried in the funerary chapel next to his church in Demre.
Saint Nicholas (270-346 CE) was born to a wealthy family in Greek village of Patara, now part of southern Turkey. Bishop Nicholas was among the 175 church leaders who represented different sects of Christianity at the Council of Nicea, held in Nicea, Turkey in 325 CE. It was here the New Testament was voted upon with the blessing of Roman Emperor Constantine. Bishop Nicholas became famous for making toys for the local children at Christmas time. Over the centuries the kindness and generousity of this individual has grown into a legend of a jolly fat man with a white beard who lives in the North Pole. He has elves, to help him make toys, and magic reindeer, to pull his sleigh through the sky on Christmas Eve, and he comes down people’s chimneys to deliver Christmas presents.
The St, Nicholas church was built arround 450 and is now a museum that attracts Orthodox Christian pilgrims. By 800, he was recognized as a Saint in the Eastern Church, and by 1200, St. Nicholas’ Day was celebrated in Paris. By the 1400s, St. Nicholas was the most popular religious figure, apart from Jesus and Mary, with more than 2,000 chapels built in his honor.
Turkey asks for the remains of Santa Clause | Rehmat's World