2016-06-30
(RNS) On the eve of the Feast of St. Nicholas, the Vatican gave the Greek Orthodox bishop of Detroit a box believed to contain the relics of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children.

"To all of us, it is a visible sign of love and mutual affection, as relics are part of the tradition of both churches," said Cardinal Adam Maida, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Detroit, during a ceremony Wednesday (Dec. 5) in which he presented the bone fragments to Bishop Nicholas of Detroit.

The service was held at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Troy, Mich.

The Vatican had housed the relics -- bone fragments kept in a sterling silver box -- since 1453, but chose to deliver them to the Greek Orthodox Church in Detroit after Maida and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of Orthodoxy, formed a friendship during Bartholomew's visit to Detroit last year, the Associated Press said.

The feast day of the man thought to have inspired the Santa Claus legend is observed on Dec. 6.

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