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Three Wise Men

The Three Wise Men, also known as the Three Magi or the Three Kings, appear in the New Testament, in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter two. There, they appear before Jesus as a child, noting that they observed his star in the east. and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They first visit Herod, asking where the new King can be found; Herod sends them to Bethlehem, and asks that they return when they have found him. The Magi, however, are warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, and their not bringing this news to Herod causes the massacre of the Holy Innocents.

The Three Wise Men frequently appear in Nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations; they are featured in the Christmas carol We Three Kings. An apocryphal tradition in the West gives them the names Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar; other cultures have different names. It is not even certain from Matthew's account that there were in fact three Wise Men; only that there was more than one Wise Man, and there were three gifts.

A Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral exists in Cologne, Germany. It allegedly contains the bones of the Three Wise Men.



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