What Connection Had the Biblical Magi with Armenia?

Allinnet.info- This image is located in the historical library of Armenian manuscripts in New Julfa (Isfahan, Iran)

Many of us have read about the miraculous birth of Jesus in the Bible, but few of us know that the Armenian nation has close relations with Jesus’ Birth.

The Christian world knows about the three Magi as wise men who came to Bethlehem to Jesus’ birthplace to worship him, but few know that they had a direct connection with Armenia. As we know historical Armenia has close contacts with Judea, especially during the reign of King Abgar. And in the second year of his reign, Our Lord was born.

According to Vardan Areveltsi, Abgar was one of the first to know about Jesus’ Birth because during his tenure, three Evangelical Magi, Melkon (Melchior, who came from Persia,  Gaspar (Caspar, who came from India) and Baghdasar (Patisar, who is believed to be a king of Arabia) with 12,000 horsemen were passing through Armenia to Judea.

But when they heard that there was a great famine in Palestine, they decided to left the army under the supervision of King Abgar, and with a thousand horsemen and with twelve princes they went, taking with them gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which according to the Gospel of Matthew, they presented to newborn Jesus.

These gifts have their spiritual meaning, for gold was presented to kings, symbolizing Jesus as King of Kings.  Frankincense is the most fragrant type of incense, symbolizing Jesus as a heavenly High Priest, and finally the myrrh, a fragrant substance that was used for the anointing of dead bodies, which symbolizes Jesus’ death.

The Gospel also says that the Magi went to another country after worshiping Jesus. But according to the Armenian legend, they returned to Armenia again. And after leaving the country they passed through one of our historic provinces which was later named Moks or Mokats. And the name Moks (Mokats) derives from the word “magi” (in Armenian ‘mog’ /մոգ/ ), because one of the Magi, Gaspar, got sick, died and was buried there. Later over his grave a church, named Amenaprkich (The Savior), was built. And the Savior is Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the three Magi were going to worship.