hwo/imageBROKER/REX/ShutterstockHe goes by many names. Kris Kringle. Popo Gigio. Sinterklaas. Or, to the layman, Santa Claus. The mascot of [commercial] Christmas is mythologized around the world, abiding by some semblance of a steady character description: he’s portly, he’s dressed in red, he flies around the world on a sled pulled by magical reindeer, when he laughs, his belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly.
But his legend wasn’t pulled from thin air, it was crafted from a historical foundation, from the records of Christian hagiography. Santa Claus is St. Nicholas, an early Christian saint who served as a bishop in modern day Turkey. And it seems as though scientists have just found where he was buried, according to Hurriyet.
During an electronic survey of the St. Nicholas church in the district of Demre, researchers from Antalya’s Monument Authority noticed gaps beneath the floor of the church. The catacombs below turned out to house a shrine which is thought to hold the tomb of St. Nicholas. (If you want to get your neighbors to take down their Christmas lights, don’t just tell them that Santa is dead, do this instead.)
“The temple on the ground of the church is in good condition. We believe that it has received no damage so far,” says Cemil Karabayram, the head of Antalya’s Monument Authority.” 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.”
The aforementioned stones are in the form of an elaborate floor mosaic, which will need to be meticulously picked apart to reach the remains. The remains are said to be 1,674 years old, so any requisite wait will be relatively brief, relatively speaking. The story seems to geographically check out, as St. Nicholas was from the ancient city of Myra, which is around modern-day Demre.
Not to burst the kids from The Nightmare Before Christmas’ bubble or anything, but the deed seems have already be done. To restore your sense of wonderment and joy, maybe give one of these 100-year-old letters to Santa to read—they’re the polar opposite of grim.