John of Hildesheim continues the story of the wise men: "after many years" a Star appears above the cities in which the kings dwell just before Christmas, indicating to them that their lives were nearing an end. "Then with one consent they built, at the Hill of Vaws, a fair and large tomb, and there the three Holy Kings...died and were buried in the same tomb by their sorrowing people." If we were to assume that this actually happened, that all three died at the same place at the same time, it might have been in the mid-first century (since the kings were adults already in Bethlehem). If so, the kings had little more than two centuries of rest in their tomb before beginning another journey. Their tour director would be Helena, the mother of Constantine and now St. Helena. After 323-324, when he defeated his last rival, Constantine began rebuilding the city of Byzantium. He rededicated it as Constantinople in the year 330. One of the new buildings was the church Saint Sophia (Holy Wisdom), the first of three that would have that name. In the same period, Helena went to the Holy Land and collected various relics, including the true cross, and brought them home to Constantinople (see Cynewulf for an unusual retelling of this). The relics of the wise men were among her trophies: "Queen Helen...began to think greatly of the bodies of these three kings, and she arrayed herself, and accompanied by many attendants, went into the Land of Ind...after she had found the bodies of Melchior, Balthazar, and Casper, Queen Helen put them into one chest and ornamented it with great riches, and she brought them into Constantinople...and laid them in a church that is called Saint Sophia."
John of Hildesheim is rather brief about the wise men's later career. On Constantine's death, he says a persecution of Christians led to the relics being moved by the emperor Mauricius, who had them placed in a church in Milan. This may refer to the attempted pagan restoration under Julian (361-363), but Mauricius is a bit later (582-602). Much later, Frederick I, the Holy Roman Emperor, was at war in Italy and requested aid against Milan, which the Archbishop of Cologne Rainald von Dassel provided in the form of an army. The grateful Frederick rewarded him with the relics of the wise men in 1164. And to Cologne the relics were taken, and there--whoever the bones belong to--they remain today. more