The body of the heart-of-gold man later known as Santa Claus is buried in Ireland, according to a new report.
St. Nicholas, who lived during the 4th century and was Bishop of Lycia in Turkey, was canonized soon after his death in 346 AD.
He was known for his good deeds and generosity, and the Santa Claus legend sprung up around him. He was known for giving anonymous gifts to the poor and to have placed coins in the shoes of people who left them out for him.
Now, historians in Ireland say they have evidence that his remains were brought to Ireland and buried in Jerpoint Abbey by Irish Norman crusaders.
According to local historians and stnicholascenter.org, the church there was "an unusual grave slab with an image of a cleric, thought to be a bishop, and two other heads. The cleric is said to be St. Nicholas and the heads, the two crusaders who, so the story goes, brought Nicholas' remains back to Ireland.
"Though the church dates from 1170, the grave slab appears to be from the 1300s. The tale tells of a band of Irish-Norman knights from Jerpoint, traveling to the Holy Land to take part in the Crusades. On retreat, as they headed home to Ireland, they seized St. Nicholas' remains, bringing them back to Kilkenny, where the bones were buried.
"Evidence lends some possible credence to this tale as the Normans in Kilkenny were keen collectors of religious relics – possibly even more so than the Italians. And it is known that Norman knights from Kilkenny participated in the Holy Land Crusades."
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