Adoration of the Magi

Merry Christmas to all of the readers of the Blog!
Today we celebrate the 2nd greatest feast on the Church calendar the Nativity in the Flesh of the Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This feast is second only to the Resurrection that we will celebrate in a few months’ time.
However, today we also remember the Magi, the Kings that came from the East to worship the King of Kings. Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar brought the gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh to Jesus in Bethlehem. We read their story in the Gospel of Matthew that will be read in Orthodox Churches on this day.
Tradition tells us that these three were baptized by St. Thomas and that they became bishops. They came from the East and followed the Star that led them to the birth place of Jesus. In Orthodox theology the star is not seen as an astronomical event but rather a supernatural event whereby an angel was sent to the Magi to show them the way to the Christ Child. In Orthodox icons, the Star of Bethlehem is often depicted not as golden, but as a dark aureola, a semicircle at the top of the icon, indicating the Uncreated Light of Divine grace, with a ray pointing to “the place where the young child lay” (Matt 2:9). Sometimes the faint image of an angel is drawn inside the aureola.
“Your birth, O Christ our God, dawned the light of knowledge upon the earth. For by Your birth those who adored stars (i.e. Magi) were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of Justice, and to know You, Orient from on High. O Lord, glory to You.” (Hymns of the Nativity)
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