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Scientists have offered a tantalizing clue by dating a bone said to belong to St. Nicholas, the inspiration for Father Christmas, to the same century in which he died in what is now Turkey.Legend has it that St. Nicholas, who is depicted with a white beard in icons and was said to have died in 343 A.D., was widely known for his generosity – a trait that inspired the story of Father Christmas.The bulk of relics said to be of St. Nicholas are held in the Italian cities of Bari and Venice.The relics in Venice consist of as many as 500 bone fragments, which an anatomical study has concluded complemented the Bari collection.
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