Where are the three wise men today?

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According to the Gospel of Matthew, a group of Magi, in search of the infant king of the Jews, followed a star to Bethlehem, where they found the newborn Jesus in a manger. Though the actual number of Magi is unknown, Western tradition sets it at three. That's likely because the bible says they gave Jesus three gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The wise men are commonly known in many parts of the world as Melchior, Gaspar and Balthasar. 

The trajectory of the supposed remains of the three wise men took them from modern-day Iran, where Marco Polo visited their tombs; to Constantinople; and then Milan, where they were kept for many centuries. There they were known by different names: Dionysius, Rusticus and Eleutherius. 

Then in 1164, the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, had the relics moved to Cologne, Germany. They are kept in an impressive reliquary inside the Cathedral of Cologne, a popular pilgrimage site to this day. Even Benedict XVI paid a visit in 2005, during the 20th edition of World Youth Day.

Today, the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated around the world, and, as Benedict XVI said during his visit, the relics serve as a reminder of the Magi's journey and “their witness of faith, hope and love.”


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