Where is Saint Nicholas Buried?

St Nick was famed during his lifetime for the giving of charity, which is the cause of his later association with Santa Clause / Father Christmas. A lesser-known fact is that he may well have punched the heretic Arius (who created the rogue and now-defunct branch of Christianity called Arianism) in the face! Clearly Arius’s views were not shared by good-old St Nick.

Another rarely-known fact about him is that most of his remains are actually in the southern Italian city of Bari, in the Basilica di San Nicola. In 1087 Baresi mariners broke into St Nick’s resting place at Myra and, after a scuffle with the Greek Orthodox priests tasked with safeguarding his remains, stole them and removed them to Bari. The city then wasted little time in beginning construction of the basilica, which was deliberately positioned near the coast in order that passing Venetian vessels could see it being constructed. This was a deliberate snub to Bari’s northern neighbour, as Venice had long wanted to host St Nicholas’s remains.

However, Venice wasn’t completely bested. In 1100, 13 years after the Baresi had stolen St Nicholas’s remains from Myra, a Venetian expedition poured over his original tomb and located some smaller bone fragments which the Baresi had overlooked. They took these away to Venice and housed them in the Chiesa di San Nicolò al Lido, where they remain to this day. So while St Nick’s larger bones now reside in Bari, his smaller bones are mainly in Venice!