(ORDO NEWS) –Turkish archaeologists have announced an important discovery, which, however, still raises some doubts. According to them, they found the grave of St. Nicholas in the church of the city of Demre.
The opening was announced by the President of the Regional Council for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Antalya, Professor Osman Eraushar.
According to him, the discovery was made in a church named after St. Nicholas, who, as you know, was born and lived in this area.
What archaeologists have found
- Eraushar noted that the current church was built in the 7th-8th centuries over an earlier one, of which St. Nicholas was the bishop.
- New finds are made precisely in the remains of an early church buried under sediments.
- The temple, where St. Nicholas served in the 3rd-4th centuries, was found at a depth of 7-8 meters underground.
- The excavations also revealed a floor on which one of the most famous saints in the world walked.
However, here it is still necessary to add “possibly”, since the excavations of the grave itself have not yet been carried out.
Archaeologists are going to first conduct additional research, and then, if necessary, excavate the burial to clarify who it belongs to.
When the floor slab laid in the 1970s was removed, excavations were carried out. The result was a church floor covering from the early 4th century.
Colleagues who carried out the excavations are preparing a publication about it. In fact, this is half the time when St. Nicholas lived.
This is a very important discovery, the first find of that period. We consider the find as a treasure that will prolong the architectural history and iconographic value of the temple a little more.
It will be ready for inspection soon, ” Professor Eraushar says.
The problem is that the temple periodically floods – it is almost 2 meters below sea level. This can make things difficult.
Saint Nicholas: what is known about him
Saint Nicholas (also known as Nicholas the Pleasant, Nicholas the Wonderworker, Nicholas of Myra) was born in Patara in what is now Turkey, in one of the important port cities, into the family of a wealthy wheat merchant.
Subsequently, he became a bishop in the city of Myra (modern Demre) and was immediately buried. The church in which Nicholas served as bishop is of great importance in the Christian world, especially for the Orthodox. Thousands of tourists visit this place every year.
In the church stands a Roman period sarcophagus adorned with fish scales and acanthus leaves, believed to have belonged to the saint.
But the relics from it were seized and transported back in the Middle Ages, so it is still unclear who exactly they belonged to.
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