Identities of the Wise Men



I was thinking about the Navitiy, and the question, "Who were the wise men?" popped into my head. Does the Church know, or has she taken a stance on the wise men were, specifically? Thank you!

  • SnowAngels


Among the Latins, from the seventh century, we find slight variants of the names, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar; the Martyrology mentions St. Gaspar, on the first, St. Melchior, on the sixth, and St. Balthasar, on the eleventh of January (Acta SS., I, 8, 323, 664).


Hi Snow,

The number and identity of the Magi are not in the bible. We only know that there was more than one.

Everything else is pious legends.



Magi was the name of the priestly caste of the Medes who lived in what is now Iran. These followed the religion of Zoroastrianism which practiced astrology. The area they inhabited was almost due east of Israel, hence (possibly) "wise men from the east".

Elymas (Acts 13:6–11) and Simon Magus (Acts 8:9–13) are thought to be Zoroastrianists. Manicheeism was an alternate form of Zoroastrianism practiced by St. Augustine of Hippo before his conversion to Christianity. Zoroastrianism was a very popular religion and is still in existence today.

Some believe that the three kings were martyred for their faith and that the Shrine of the Three Kings at the Cathedral in Cologne, Germany is said to house their remains.

Who they were physically and what the represent spiritually may be different things, related or unrelated.



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