The Corner

Re: Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

While St. Nicholas is the inspiration for Santa Claus, he was also a real person from a real place, namely the Greek bishop in the Greek city of Myra in Lycia. His ancestors were likely there before recorded history; Lycia was allied with Troy, according to the Iliad, was later ruled by Athens, and broke away from it during the Peloponnesian War.

Today, however, none of St. Nicholas’s compatriots or co-religionists survives in what was once Lycia (not counting a handful of expats). Myra is called Demre and there are no Greek inhabitants, or Christians of any kind, because the Turks rendered Anatolia Griechischfrei during and after World War I.

And the Turks now have the chutzpah to demand return of St. Nicholas’s relics from Italy, where they have been safe from the tender mercies of the Religion of Peace. Sure — when Hagia Sophia is a church again, they can have his bones.

Mark Krikorian — Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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