The Afterlife of the Gifts of the Magi

Ravenna_-_Sant'Apollinare_Nuovo,_l'adorazione_dei_Magi

In the Gospel of Matthew, we read of the three kings, “On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (2:11). Above you can see the wise men as they appear in Ravenna’s Sant’Apollinare Nuovo (early 6th century), bearing the names Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar approaching the Virgin and Christchild. Am I wrong to want to know, though, what Mary and Joseph ever did with the gifts they received from the Magi? Many are the legends, but evidently they came by a circuitous route detailed here to the Monastery of St. Paul on Mount Athos where they can be seen today (if you’re a male; otherwise you’ll have to settle for my pictures below).

 

 

 

About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
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