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A Byzantine depiction of the Three Wise Men (526 AD) Basilica of Sant Apollinare Nuovo Ravenna Italy.

Parish Leaflet: The Magi, the Most Learned Wise Men of Ancient Time

When we read in the Holy Gospel about the most glorious Nativity of Christ, we see from these Gospel accounts that almost no one knew exactly WHAT took place on that night of the Nativity of Christ. Only the eyewitnesses in Bethlehem knew that SOMETHING important had occurred. It would be a mistake to think, for example, that the shepherds who heard the angels singing and proclaiming the message from heaven were the first to know about this. It turns out that long before the Nativity of Christ the Magi in the East and the wise men of Babylon already “were taught by a star to worship the Sun of righteousness” (Troparion of the Nativity). They saw the star in the east that was foretold since ancient times and immediately realized that that which had been foretold was coming to pass. They hastened from faraway Babylon to the city of Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem, in order to worship the King of Judea.

 

The Magi - the Adoration of the three Magi

 

 

According to church tradition, the wise Magi were, first of all, people of royal lineage. Moreover, they were the most learned people of their time, very knowledgeable in all the sciences of their time which were completely different from our sciences now, but well-worked and established in their own way. These learned people hurried towards Jerusalem where the King of Judea was supposed to be born, and we know that when they found out the location, they went from there to Bethlehem and worshipped the Newly-born Infant Christ.

 

Saint Basil the GreatHow wonderful it would be if our contemporary science would also bow down before Divine Providence as did these most learned wise men, who took all their knowledge and all their sciences to the manger in Bethlehem and offered them in worship to the Incarnate Divine Providence – the Word of God, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. How wonderful, I repeat, it would be if contemporary science were to do this!

 

Christian Science, that is, TRUE Christian science, should, in essence, be a continuous hymn to the Creator, Who created everything! I have already mentioned that the great hierarch of ancient times Basil the Great wrote a theological and, at the same time, scientific work “On the Six Days of Creation”, or the “Hexameron”. His powerful intellect and prodigious knowledge and insight made it possible to penetrate to the very essence of things, and there was much that he said in his book on the six days of Creation that was taken up and is still repeated by contemporary science. At the same time, this scientific work was also a theological one. Contemporary wise men and scientists write much about many things, but they do not even mention anything about the Creator as if He simply does not exist! St. Basil offers his conclusions and reflections on how the Lord created the world in six days very scientifically. Besides being scientifically sound, his work is a wonderful, uninterrupted, reverent hymn to the Creator, to His Wisdom, His Goodness, and Omnipotence. This is how science also should be. But our science diverged from this long ago.

 

The Magi

 

 

When we remember our youth, when we were in school and were being taught all the sciences, like mathematics, arithmetic, geography, and history, usually in the textbooks of these subjects there was no mention of God, as if He did not exist. That was before, and now, not only that, they try to pit science against faith, against true religion. Of course, this is a terrible and destructive mistake! Christian Science, I repeat, should speak continually of the wisdom of the One, Who established everything. Then it will truly be a Christian science, and people young and old will then be able to learn from scientific discoveries how Wise, how Omnipotent, how All-good, and how filled with infinite love towards us sinful people our Creator is! Amen.