Sunday, January 08, 2012

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

Gold is about shining and light.
It is incorruptable, it does not change or corrode.
It is of great value.
It is about royalty, in many ancient cultures it was reserved to kings and gods
It is connected to anointing, a crown marks the place where a king is anointed.

Frankincense is about worship.
It is sweet smoke symbolising prayer and oblation.
It was used domestically but primarily to honour gods.
"Frank" here meaning pure, not "French", of course.

Myrrh is a sweet resin, that could be burnt as incense but was often mixed with oil as a perfume or medium for annointing.
It was used to mummify bodies in ancient Egypt, it was taken to Jesus' tomb by the women.
Myrrhon is the Byzantine equivalent of Chrism.
Its presentation to Jesus is presumably a reference to His being the Anointed One. the Messias or Christ and to his immortality and regality.

The Star: rather than a comet or any other mysterious star could it be the sun, heralding a new age, like "the Dawn from on high"? Is this a reference to "ad orientem" worship?


Supertradmum said...

What a beautiful mosaic. I love the Three Kings, as they represented the Gentiles coming into the New Covenant. My family is part Gentile, part Jewish and the fact that the Old Covenant was opened up to all the Nations is a great gift to the world. What I like about this artwork, is the fact that they are shown as dressed as Persians, which is an ancient depiction from the catacombs on. May the Three Kings, or the Magi, bless the Church with wisdom and grace, and help the TLM grow in England, Wales, and Ireland.

savio said...

Dear Fr Blake
I’d love to know source of your beautiful image of the wise men from the East? Do you know if postcards are commercially available of it? Thank you.
Happy New Year.

Fr Ray Blake said...

The Magi are part of the 5th cent St Appolinare Nuovo in Ravenna cycle.

Gigi said...

That's a gorgeous mosaic, full of vibrant colour and movement. It's very much alive and captures their excitemnet and joy. I haven't seen this reproduced anywhere else: thanks.

cephas said...

"Westward leading" jumped out at me, singing the Three Kings for Epiphany. As I understand it, "ad orientem" was for everyone, not just those in the West. Perhaps it points to what should have been "ad Ierosylem"?

As to a star and not a comment? What a beautiful sign of stability and persistence, rather than the fleeting! We're called to daily put our hand to the plow, in the often seemingly mundane.

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...The Star: rather than a comet or any other mysterious star could it be the sun, heralding a new age,..."

The Three Magi.

They were necromancers, occult followers of Lucifer.

Their ancestors were on their way to battle the Holy Angels in an attempt to prevent the birth of Christ when the angel stopped them and told them to go back home and await a sign regarding the birth of Christ.

Five hundred years later, the Magi saw the sign and followed it.

When they came before Christ, they renounced Lucifer, and gave their souls, family, and all they had to Christ.

The Golden Legend by Jacobis relates they were able to actually see Christ in the star as they followed it.


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