The sterling cuff links in the Cosmati style using authentic green porphyry are back from the jeweler. I think they turned out well, and I’ll be giving them as a gift for one of my stone suppliers. Before giving them away, I have to confess that I wore them out to dinner one night recently. I might have to hire Wendy Brandes to come up with a more inventive design so I can have my own pair?
All this talk about gifts makes me stop for a moment and consider the real meanings of the holiday season. Of course there is obviously a religious reason for Christmas, so here I will awkwardly bridge a gap between the secular and traditional.
St. Nicholas (aka Santa), was a bishop in 3rd century Roman controlled Myra (in modern southeastern Turkey). Legend has it that he was the son of a wealthy family who gave gifts to help the poor. He’s not my favorite though, because he is reputed to have destroyed the Temple of Artemis rather than converting it to a church as they did with so many other pre-existing structures back then. In a recent Archaeology magazine, they had a good write up on him and the town of Myra.
Here are some old photos of Santa.
Santa living in southeastern Turkey in the third century actually raises more questions than it answers. Might it be possible that the North Pole was actually located in Turkey instead? Has the earth’s axis changed in a mere 1700 years?
Could this beautiful church have been Santa’s workshop, an astounding 1700 years ago???
Well, at least we can answer the age old question of whether St. Nick is real, as attested by these bones lying in the Archaeological Museum of Antalya. Apparently, his remains were stolen out of the Myra church and taken to southern Italy. Later, in the eleventh century, these bones were returned to Turkey.
Maybe it takes quite a bit to frighten you all, but I think I might be terrified if a skeleton were to climb down my chimney, either with toys for me or not.
More interesting reading on St. Nick:
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