BOFFINS believe they may have discovered the Father Christmas’ grave in a Turkish church.
A special section containing a grave site was recently discovered in the St. Nicholas Church, located in Antalya’s Demre district, known as the birth place of Santa Claus, Hürriyet daily reported.
The head of the local Monument Authority says that they have come across an untouched shrine while digitally surveying underneath the church.
Cemil Karabayram said: “We believe this shrine has not been damaged at all, but it is quite difficult to get to it as there are mosaics on the floor.”
He added that they had examined all the files from 1942 to 1966 regarding the remains of St Nicholas and discovered the church was burnt down and then rebuilt.
Karabayram was very optimistic about reaching Santa’s remains, saying that they may be able to reach the untouched grave.
Who was St Nicholas?
SAINT Nicholas, also known as Nicholas of Myra, was a Greek bishop during the fourth century in modern day Turkey.
From what we can gather from historical texts, he was born in Patara in Asia Minor, now Turkey, on March 15 270.
He spent his early adulthood travelling round Egypt and Palestine before returning to become the Bishop of Myra.
St Nicholas was later tossed in jail but freed after the Emperor Constantine made the Roman Empire Christian.
During his life he is said to have performed several miracles including resurecting murdered children.
His most famous act was leaving purses of money for the daughters for a poor man in the dead of night to save them from prostitution.
It is from this tale that the modern myth of Santa Claus is believed to have grown out of.
He added that the excavation leader Professor Sema Doğan was shocked to hear about the finding.
It is also hoped that tourism around the region will be positively affected if they are able to successfully reach Father Christmas’ remains.
Previously, the remains of St. Nick were believed to have been smuggled to the Italian city of Bari by Italian merchants in the year 1087.
The Santa Claus Museum, formerly an ancient church with a sarcophagus attributed to the Christmas saint is also located in the town of Demre.