According to the Gospel of Matthew (2:1-16), the wise men or Magi followed a star to the birth place of Christ. It was written that they were from the east and that they brought three gifts to Christ; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since there were three gifts, it has been inferred that there were three Magi.
In Latin tradition dating from the seventh century,(from a greek manuscript) their names are given as Gaspar (or Caspar/Jasper), Melchior and Balthasar. According to one tradition, the Magi were baptized by the Apostle Thomas, and became bishops. The Church commemorates the Magi as saints; the Eastern feast day of the Magi is December 25.
There are numerous variations of the names of the Magi in Greek, but the most common variation is for the name Gaspar which in Greek is Γιάσπερος (Iasperos) which is Anglicized as Jasper.
- Drum, W. (1910). Magi. In: The Catholic Encyclopedia (New Advent). New York: Robert Appleton Company.