Santa Claus is a familiar holiday figure, but this church in Virginia is celebrating the man behind the myth with an ancient relic.
According to Deacon Elmer Pekarik, a small bone fragment from the original St. Nicholas can be found at the Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church in Annandale, Virginia.
There are only 11 other relics of St. Nicholas in the U.S.
This relic was donated to the Annandale church by a benefactor who got the relic from the proper offices in Rome. According to Pekarik, it arrived at the Epiphany of Our Lord Byzantine sometime between the 1973 and 2011, when the new church was built.
"For centuries, people have been interested in church relics because they are the central point of pilgrimages," Pekarik says.
Relics are also often associated with miraculous healings.
Pekarik says he’s grateful to have something to remind his church about the message of kindness and generosity during the Christmas season.