In Greece, December 6 is celebrated as St. Nicholas Day, who is the country’s patron saint, and all but restaurants, tavernas and a few shops close to celebrate the day. The 4th century saint is of course also famously known around the world as Father Christmas.
In early December 2017, a report by the University of Oxford in England, confirmed that a fragment of bone claimed to be from St. Nicholas had been radio carbon tested and the results showed that the relic does date from the time of St. Nicholas, who is believed to have died around 343AD.
While not providing proof that this is from the saint, it has been confirmed as authentically from that era.
The Oxford team confirmed that they were the first tests carried out on the bone.
Relics of St. Nicholas, who died in modern-day Turkey, have been kept in the crypt of a church in Bari in Italy since the 11th Century.
Prof Tom Higham, a member of the research team, said that the bone is unlike many such relics which often turn out to be from much later dates, “this bone fragment suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St. Nicholas himself,” said the Oxford archaeologist.
There are hundreds of other bones claimed to be from St. Nicholas, including a collection in a church in Venice. So the researchers intend to use DNA testing to see how many bones are really from a single individual and how many might be linked to the bone tested in Oxford.