Oxford university researchers have dated a bone allegedly belonging to St. Nicholas and proved that it may truly be part of the original Santa’s remains, according to a Wednesday report.
Scientists dated the relic, a pelvis bone fragment, with a radio carbon test, and proved that it comes from the 4th Century during the time of St. Nicholas, a saint known for his generosity who served as the basis for the legend of Santa Claus, Independent reported. While carbon testing normally shows most saintly relics to be from later historic periods than typically alleged, professor Tom Higham, a director of the Oxford Relics Cluster at Keble College’s Advanced Studies Centre, said the dating of this relic shows it may truly be part of St. Nicholas’s remains.
“This bone fragment, in contrast, suggests that we could possibly be looking at remains from St. Nicholas himself,” Higham said.
Higham clarified that scientific testing cannot definitively prove that the fragment does belong to St. Nicholas. The proof of the bone’s age, however, is enough to merit revisiting other alleged fragments of St. Nicholas’s remains to use DNA testing to see whether they belong to the same individual, according to Dr. Georges Kazan, a director of the Oxford Relics Cluster.
St. Nicholas was a bishop in the ancient Greek town of Myra, what is now modern-day Turkey. Tales of his generosity spread when, according to one of many legends, St. Nicholas tossed bags of gold through the open window of a household with three daughters who could not afford a dowry to be married.
The bags fell into stockings and boots that had been placed by the fire to dry. The father of the daughters, after finding the second bag of gold, waited by the fireplace every night to find out the identity of the mysterious philanthropist. He caught St. Nicholas in the act of dropping a third bag of gold for the man’s third daughter and, despite St. Nicholas begging him to tell no one, the story spread. From then on, those who received mysterious gifts commonly attributed them to St. Nicholas.
Other legends tell of God answering St. Nicholas’s prayers, resurrecting children murdered by an evil butcher and saving sailors at the mercy of a strong storm.
St. Nicholas is now the patron saint of both children and sailors.
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