St. Nicholas church in Demre
Jan 18, 2008 #168 on Explore...thanks to everone who have commented on this photo..thanks for all your support !!
The earliest church of St. Nicholas at Myra was built in the 6th century. The present-day church stems mainly from the 8th century; a monastery was added in the second half of the 11th century.
In 1863 Tsar Alexander II of Russia bought the building and started to have it restored, but the work was never finished. In 1963 the eastern and southern sides of the church was excavated, in 1968 the former confessio (tomb) of St. Nicholas was roofed over.
The floor of the church is made of opus sectile, a mosaic of coloured marble, and there are some remains of frescos on the walls. An ancient Greek marble sarcophagus had been reused to bury the Saint; but his bones were stolen in 1087 by merchants from Bari, and are now held in the cathedral of that city.
The church is currently undergoing restoration. In 2007, after several years of refusal, the Turkish Ministry of Culture gave permission for the Divine Liturgy to be celebrated in the church for the first time in centuries.