Oludeniz Christmas – St Nicholas Santa Claus
If you have been on one of the boat trips from Oludeniz you most probably have visited St Nicholas Island. Stopped there for half an hour. And maybe walked around the church ruins there.
First of all who was St Nicholas?
St Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra. Now called Demre in Southern Turkey. His story has given him other well-known names around the world such as St Nick, Kris Kringle, Santa Claus and Farther Christmas. While the image of Santa we have today has more to do with re-branding. by the coca cola company in 1931. Rather than that of the bishop from Turkey.
St Nicholas very Brief History
Going back almost 1740 years to around 280AD, Southern Turkey then had a large Greek Christian community along the coast. A boy called Nicholas was born to wealthy parents in a town called Patara. Unfortunately, his parents died in an epidemic leaving the orphan Nicholas with his family’s fortune. Adopted by his uncle who was the Bishop of Patara. The story then goes that Nicholas started giving away some of his wealth. Doing this in secret giving money to those that needed it more than he did. He climbed on to roofs of houses and then dropped coins down chimney’s.
He was discovered doing this and the word spread of what he had done. Nicholas continued to do more and more for the community using his wealth and position to help those that needed it. He was well respected and loved by the people. The church later pronounced him the Bishop of Myra whilst he was still a young man. “A lot more can be seen of his history here”.
Oludeniz – St Nicholas – Protector of children and sailors
What is the Oludeniz Link? well it lies behind the Buzz bar near the beach at Oludeniz. I first visited Oludeniz in the 1990s this area was a field then with a campsite and carpark on it. over the years excavation started on the ruins of a church. St. Demetrius Church, Symbola now called Oludeniz.
St Demetrius Church Oludeniz
The church at Oludeniz was the largest and most significant of 6 churches in the locality and records state that the church was visited a number of times by Nicholas the Bishop of Myra. A large part of the church was destroyed by Pirates from Africa however recent excavations have unearthed some very rare mosaics. Now in the grounds of a boutique hotel the church is protected under a canopy and still being excavated during the winter months.
St Nicholas Island Oludeniz.
Many modern historians now believe that St. Nicholas Island. now called Gemlier Island may have been the place where original tomb of St Nicholas was. The Island was known as St Nicholas Island in Medieval times. There were several churches on the Island and over 50 Christian tombs. Furthermore It is believed that st Nicholas was entombed there from 326ad when he died. until the 650s when the island was threatened by an Arab fleet. The island was then deserted, and St Nicholas’s remains were taken to Myra 25 miles to the east.