Saturday, December 3, 2011
Above is the St. Nicholas Church in Demre, formerly Myra, (in present day Turkey) which was built in the 6th century to accommodate the many pilgrims who came to visit St. Nicholas' tomb. Invaders destroyed the town and the church in the 7th and again in the 9th centuries. Restored during the 11th century, the church was gradually buried by sand and silt as the riverbed shifted. Russian Tsar Nikola sponsored restoration in the mid-to-late 1800s, but the church was nearly buried again by 1903. Restoration began again in 1989 by the Antalya Museum and Ankara University. The church is in particular peril for water damage as it is a number of feet below the current ground level. The church, which for years held a Greek Orthodox Mass every December 6 to celebrate the Saint's day, is now a museum.
However, Irish historians claim that St. Nicholas's remains were looted by the early crusaders and brought back to Ireland and buried at Jerpoint Abbey. The grave is in this green burial yard.
Wherever his corporeal remains are, his spirit and love still encompass the whole world and many countries honour him every December 6.