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149Syriac Icon (Three wise men)

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  • Thomas Daniel
    Nov 17, 2001

      Syriac Icon (Three Wise men)

      Ancient Syriac icons, have some unique features in them. They differ in style from both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic icons. And even in the contents of the icon, they are different some times (although they all cover Christian themes).

      There is a Syriac icon which is now in Berlin, (Preuss. Bibl. Sachau 220 fo 8v.),  It is about  the three wise men who saw the star and followed it to Bethlehem and offered baby Jesus their gifts (see the attachment).

      The three wise men in this Syriac icon are shown riding horses NOT camels, since according to Syriac tradition they came from Mesopotamia and NOT Arabia. Ironically the western world portrays them as camel riders, because the western world has this stereo type image about the people of the Middle East as being "Camel Jokeys".

      The uniqueness of this icon lies in the fact that our Syriac forefathers portrayed the actual true way things happened in the Middle East because they lived there, during the same period of time those events took place, and they were also the first nation that adopted Christianity.  So the  knowledge of the Syriac fathers of those events were first hand knowledge, and not based on the wild imagination of some western artists who had never been to the Middle East, add to that the fact that those westerners adopted Christianity many hundreds of years after our forefathers did.

      Copied from "Sabro" (Hope), Vol.2, Oct-Nov-Dec 2000, Issue 7.  A Syriac Orthodox publication Published in California, USA.

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