Dormition of the Virgin at Chora church in Istanbul

A Birth, a Death, and a Portrait of Mary You’ve Never Seen

At Christmas I'm haunted by T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Journey of the Magi.” The tone of the poem is so different from the jovial jingle of silver bells or the nostalgic calm of “Silent Night.” In Eliot’s imagination, the wise men’s visit to Bethlehem was more than a pilgrimage to worship, it was a reckoning. …

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