A vicar told an assembly of primary school children that Santa doesn't exist before recounting the grisly legend of Saint Nicholas who brought three murdered children back to life.
Parents hit the roof when they heard how Reverend Simon Tatton-Brown told kids at Charter Primary in Wiltshire that Father Christmas wasn't real.
The Church of England vicar then described how an evil butcher killed three children and placed them in a barrel to be pickled and sold as ham.
Parents complained when their children, aged between five and 11, came home shell-shocked and the vicar of St Andrew's Church in Chippenham, Wiltshire. has now apologised.
But some mothers have already withdrawn their children from the school's Christmas concert at his church later this month.
Canon Tatton-Brown said: "I didn't intended to upset anyone or to dispel children's beliefs in Santa Claus, but I accept I was wrong.
"I understand there they're [parents] disappointed. I got it wrong. It wasn't intentional. I can't undo it."
The blunder came as the reverend, who is due to retire at the end of the year after 13 Christmases at his church, delivered his annual festive address to the local school last week.
Due to a technical issue he had to abandon his prepared talk and had to 'ad lib' without notes.
He said his biggest concern was that he had spoilt Christmas for the kids. The vicar wrote to headteacher Sarah Flack to apologise.
His letter said: "I was very sorry to hear of the trouble following my assembly.
"I talked about St Nicholas, and the stories about him, which tells us why Santa Claus brings gifts at Christmas.
"I am sorry if this was misunderstood. I fully support parents who want their young children to enjoy the Christmas stories, including Father Christmas, and I had no intention of undermining their belief in the reality of Santa Claus."
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