Monday, January 6, 2014

Artz of the Magi

The adoration of the Magi occurs as an observance on January 6 as a part of Epiphany, a feast day that celebrates the revelation of GOD the Son as Jesus Christ.
                                                                          Adoração dos Magos, by Vicente Gil

 The Magi are the Wise men or Kings who traveled to worship Jesus.  There is only one reference in the Bible to this event and it does not specify which day this happened. It does mention a house not a stable, it does say that his mother was present and that they gave Mary three gifts for her son.

                                                Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men

The word Magi comes from a Latin word taken from Greek which is actually a Persian word that refers to a caste or order of priests. These priests were known for their study of the stars.  Their use of astrology led to the term Magi being associated with sorcery and the occult.  The order however was strongly opposed to sorcery.
               Magi bear gifts to an infant Jesus in one of the earliest known depictions. 3rd Century Sarcophagus

Folklore tells that because there were three gifts there were only three Magi but other folktales count them as 12. Different cultures have named them differently as well. Melchior, the Persian of the group, Larvandad, Hor, or Kagpha if you are Armenian.

The men are said to have traveled from the direction the sun rises. There is no specific country or location in the Bible of their origin.  They could have been Persian, Indian, Jewish, and even from China as a folk tale from before the time of Genghis Khan Whispers.

Much symbolism surrounds these men as they are depicted in art. Their age, their clothing, the colors they wear and who kneels closest.

This week the Artz of the Magi. 

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