Three Magi adoring the Christ child, at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.
A description of the Magi, attributed to the Venerable Bede:
Magi sunt, qui munera Domino dederunt: primus fuisse dicitur Melchior, senex et canus, barba prolixa et capillis, tunica hyacinthina, sagoque mileno, et calceamentis hyacinthino et albo mixto opere, pro mitrario varia compositionis indutus: aurum obtulit regi Domino. Secundus, nomine Caspar, juvenis imberbis, rubicundus, mylenica tunica, sago rubco, calceamentis hyacinthinis vestitus: thure quasi Deo oblatione digna, Deum honorabat. Tertius, fuscus, integre barbatus, Balthasar nomine, habens tunicam rubeam, albo vario, calceamentis milenicis amictus: per myrrham Filium hominis moriturum professus est. Omnia autem vestimenta eorum Syriaca sunt.Elsewhere, St. Bede wrote that one Magi was European, another African, and the third Asian. A mosaic at a fifth century church in Ravenna gives their names as Balthassar, Melchior, and Gaspar.
God's message, once limited to his Chosen People, became public and universal for all the nations, and so Epiphany has been called the most Catholic — or universal — of all feasts. Besides Christ's manifestation before the Magi, this feast day also traditionally celebrates the Nativity of Christ, the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River, and the wedding feast at Cana, where Christ turned water into wine.