The Three Gift-bearing Magi
Date of Issue
November 3, 1982
Christmas, Nativity Scenes
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Based on figurines by Hella Braun Designed by Jon Eby Based on a photograph by Bert Bell
Canada's Christmas stamps for 1982 feature Nativity scenes assembled with figurines from a Christmas crèche. The first such crèche is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, who is alleged to have created a manger scene with animals in a cave of Greccio, Italy, where he celebrated Christmas in 1223. This year marks the eight-hundredth anniversary of the birth of this popular saint. St. Francis was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1182, the son of wealthy textile merchant. He devoted his youth to riotous living; however, a period as a prisoner of war, during a conflict between the cities of Assisi and Perugia, and a serious illness changed him. He eventually gave up his possessions and lived a life of poverty and service to God. He soon began to attract group of followers. Indeed, by the time he died at Assisi in 1226, "Franciscan missions had reached England, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, and the Holy Land; and less than twenty years after his death, two Franciscans arrived at the Mongol court." A group of Franciscans known as Récollets were the first missionaries in the St. Lawrence River area. Four arrived there with Champlain in the spring of 1615 and built a house with a chapel at what is now Quebec City. One of their members, Father Le Caron, quickly visited the Huron territory "to be the first to proclaim the name of God in those parts." In 1616, with a view to converting the Indians, the Récollets proposed a threefold policy of settling Europeans in Canada, recruiting missionaries, and informing authorities in France of developments in Canada. These policies influenced New France for many years. Against a backdrop of traditional Christmas colours, these three stamps tell part of the Nativity story - the shepherds tending their sheep the night of the birth; the wise men bringing gifts from afar; and Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus in the manger. Mrs. Hella Braun of Kitchener, Ontario, created these figurines over 30 years ago for a single crèche. They were photographed by Bert Bell of Toronto. Jonathan Eby, also of Toronto, designed the stamps.
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1982.
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