|Caspar brought gold, Balthazar frank-incense and Melchior myrrh. The Three Wise Men from the East had followed the Star to Bethlehem where they found Jesus lying in a manger. Later it was concluded that the three men must be kings and the first non Jewish worshippers of Jesus. They soon became a favourite theme in Christian art. A picture of them was painted on the walls of a catacomb as early as the second century.
In the sixth century they were given names. These names are inscribed on a mosaic in a church in Ravenna in Northern Italy, which was built around 560 AD. Artists began to paint Caspar as a young king, Melchior as middle-aged and Balthazar as an old man. It was reasoned later that, since they came from the east, at least one of them had to be black. Legend now had it that the black Caspar came from Nubia (Ethiopia) and the fairer Balthazar and Melchior were from Sheba and Egryskulla respectively. The Three Kings were allegedly baptized in Persia by the Apostle Thomas, consecrated as bishops and died in the year 54 AD.
St. Helena (ca. 257-336), mother of Emperor Constantine, is said to have found the relics of the Three Kings and taken them to Constantinople. From there they were sent to Milan at the end of the fourth century. When Milan was conquered in 1158, the relics were sent to Cologne. There they were laid in a gold shrine in the form of a basilica with a central nave and two side naves. The shrine can still be seen behind the high altar in Cologne Cathedral.
The relics were an object of great veneration in the Middle Ages, and Cologne became a major destination for pilgrims. The Three Kings were chosen as patron saints of Cologne and it was decided that their relics would never be removed from the city. Three Kings