There is no St. Nicholas . . .

At least not in Demre, Turkey. This is the depressing bottom line in Karl Vick’s sad, sad story in the Washington Post. The headline captures the relentless march of the shopping mall into parts of the world that, at least historically speaking, ought to know better: “Turkish Town Exchanges St. Nick for Santa.” But there is hope, in the shape of tourism dollars. “The demotion of the real Saint Nicholas did not go unnoticed. offended parties include Russian Orthodox tourists who venerated the saint made the patron of their homeland by Czar Alexander II; the sculptor, also Russian, who donated the bronze statue five years ago; tour operators who pitch Demre as part of a tour of Turkey’s religious history; and an assortment of bystanders who see the town’s elevation of Santa over Nicholas as the ultimate commercialization of, if not Christmas, something dignified and sacred.” Amen.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.


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