Photo by Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra

In this fresco (compare with photo of fresco depicting three youths), the three magi appear almost identical to the three youths. These fourth-century paintings appear together in the Catacomb of Marcus and Marcellianus in Rome.

The similarity in the portrayal of the youths and the magi reflects the similar interpretation of their stories by the early church. According to the second-century church father Justin Martyr, the magi were pagan sorcerers and astrologers from the East. When they saw the babe, they renounced their pagan ways. Like the three youths, they recognized the true God and refused to commit idolatry.