Orthodox Narrative of the Adoration of the Magi (Part II)

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


Each (Wise Man) left his country separately, but eventually they met, joining their entourages. By the time the 9th month was coming to an end and the hour of Christ's birth was near at hand, they were approaching the borders of Palestine. They reached Jerusalem on the very day of the Nativity. Just before they arrived in the royal city, the star hid itself from their sight; otherwise, all the people would have seen it, and followed the Magi to Bethlehem. Herod and the Sanhendrin would have learned where the new-born Savior lay, and in their envy would have slain Him before the appointed time. Providence, however, looking after our salvation, made the star invisible, and in this way kept the location of the cave unknown to those who "sought the young Child's life" (St. Matthew Ch. 2). Moreover, by concealing the Wondrous Luminary, the Lord intended to test the wicked Jews and add to their condemnation, if they failed to accept the wise men's proclamation of the Messiah's coming. Saint Theophylact explains: "Why did the Magi come? For the condemnation of the Jews. If the idolatrous Magi believed, what defense could the Jews give? The Wise Men came from a great distance to worship Him, while the Jews, who had Christ in their midst, persecuted Him."

Entering the capital city of Jerusalem, the Magi asked, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and are come to worship Him" (St. Matthew Ch. 2). Their question amazed the people, and troubled Herod and his court. Summoning the high priests and elders, the ruler inquired where Christ would be born, for he was afraid he would lose his kingdom, and intended to murder the newborn Lord. No sooner had he learned that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, than he ordered the Magi brought to him and "inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared." Meditating evil in his heart, his lips mouthing deceit, he told them, "Go and search for the young Child, and when ye have found Him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship Him also."

After the Magi left Jerusalem, the star reappeared, leading them to the cave in Bethlehem and filling them with joy. There it (the star) stopped and descended near the earth, "over where the young Child was."

Seeing the Lord in the cave, the Wise Men saluted Him as King and worshipped Him as God. Both Saint Irenaeus and Pope Leo attest that the Magi were mystically illumined by the Lord's grace when they saw the Child, understood that He was divine, and believed in Him. They prostrated themselves before their King and God, offering Him the adoration due the Divinity. Wherefore, it is written: "They fell down and worshipped Him, and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts, "fulfilling the commandment: "None shall appear before Me empty" (Exodus Ch. 23). And what were their gifts? Gold, frankincense and myrrh. They brought gold as befitting a king, frankincense for Him that is God, and myrrh to One Who would taste death, for the Jews used myrrh, which masks foul odors, in preparing corpses for burial (St. Theophylact). Thus did the three kings honor one of the Holy Trinity with gifts, indicating thereby that He is one in two natures, as Saint Leo says: "They brought frankincense to God, myrrh to Him Who is a man and would undergo death, and gold to the King, rightly honoring the Divine and Human Natures in a single Hypostasis. Offering gifts, they showed their devotion to Him in Whom they believed with their hearts."

"Being warned in a dream" by an Angel "that they should not return to Herod," who was plotting to murder the newborn King, the Magi "departed into their own country another way" (St. Matthew Ch. 2). There, according to the trustworthy testimony of Necephorus, they preached that Christ was the Son of God come into the world, and taught the people to believe in Him, as they themselves did. It is certain that after they died, the Wise Men were numbered in the Choir of the Saints.

One of the Magi was called Melchior, and was old and gray, He had long hair, a long beard, and brought gold to the King and Master. Another was named Caspar, he was young, beardless, and had a ruddy complexion. His gift to God Incarnate was frankincense. The third, Balthazar, was bearded, very dark, and presented myrrh to the Son of Man, Who would undergo death. Many years after the Wise Men departed this life, their remains (holy relics) were translated to Constantinople. Later, the holy relics were removed to Milan, then to Cologne, unto the glory of Christ, God in the flesh. Both Him and her Who gave birth to Him do we praise unto the ages. Amen.


Please note: I am bringing the narrative of the adoration of the Magi to all of you, hoping to inspire you, and for you to appreciate, all the more, our splendid and vast Christian Tradition. There is so much that all of you need to know about Our glorious Christian history, and Faith, that many times I ask myself, where do I begin?  It is never enough.



The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-- Saint John Chrysostom


With sincere agape in His Holy Incarnation,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George