When in 1087 the sixty-two sailors stole the bones of St. Nicholas to bring them to Bari, part of the relics were already scattered around the world. The Nicolaian Citadel preserves only the Saint’s larger bones, equal to about 65% of the skeleton, because they are easier to pick up and transport.
The smaller bones removed during the Venetian translation now rest in the Church of Saint Nicholas on the Lido, in Venice, stolen by the Venetians during the first crusade.
The bones moved to the Nicolaian Citadel are in the crypt’s underground church where they were placed by Pope Urban II in 1089 at the request of Abbot Elijah, who had taken i custody of the saint’s relics
The tomb of St. Nicholas had to be particularly sober and lean, it was progressively modified and adorned according to the style of the time. The altar regained the austere aspect of its origins in 1953 when the crypt was restored. The bones of the Saint were removed and for the entire duration of the work exposed to the vision of the faithful inside the Basilica until 1957, the end of the work.
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