ST MATTHEW ORTHODOX MISSION
Phase I-D Block 30, Lot 20
Golden City Subdivision
Sta. Rosa, Laguna
c/o Isaac Brila, cellphone: (0910) 7565567
feast day: November 16
This Holy Icon of St Matthew the Evangelist
is from St. Catherine's monastery in Mount Sinai
and dates back to the 6th century.
Saint Matthew the Evangelist is an important Christian figure, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. St Matthew (his name meaning "gift of God"), the son of Alphaeus, was identified as a publican, or tax collector at Capernaum [Matthew 9:9 and 10:3] and was of Jewish race. In the other accounts of his meeting with Jesus [Mark 2:13-14], [Luke 5:27-29], he is named Levi. Apostle James was also son of Alphaeus but it is unlikely that Matthew and James were brothers [Luke 6:13-16]. When he was called by Jesus, Matthew renounced the position of tax collector and followed Him. On the same day he made a "great feast" to which he invited Jesus and his disciples.
Publicans who collected taxes from their countrymen did this with great profit for themselves. Usually greedy and cruel people, the Jews considered them pernicious betrayers of their country and religion. The word "publican" for the Jews had the connotation of "public sinner" and "idol-worshipper". To even speak with a tax-collector was considered a sin, and to associate with one was defilement. But the Jewish teachers were not able to comprehend that the Lord had "come to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance" [Matthew 9:13].
Almost nothing about his life is certain. The last notice of him in the New Testament is in [Acts 1:13], just after the Ascension of Jesus. He is one of the few disciples mentioned by name in the apocryphal "Gospel of Thomas", suggesting he was of more importance in the early church than surviving evidence indicates. According to Christian tradition, after Pentecost Matthew, filled with the Holy Spirit, preached the gospel in many places, especially to the Jews.
The time and manner of his death are unknown. Some traditions say that Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia, others say that he was martyred in Hierapolis of Parthia. According to Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, Cyprus (315-403 AD), Matthew was martyred in Hierapolis, and Saint Matthias, who replaced Judas Iscariot among the Twelve Apostles, is the one who died in Ethiopia. The ruins of Hierapolis are near the small town Membidj, west of Euphrates river, in Iraq. Recently, there have been some controversial investigations into a 14th-century document assigning Saint Matthew's burial site to a place called "Issyk-Kul".
The relics of Saint Matthew, according to legend, were brought from Ethiopia to Salerno (Italy) in the 10th century, where they are currently kept in the crypt of the (Roman Catholic) cathedral of San Matteo. If this legent is true, then the holy relics in Salerno belong rather to Saint Apostle Matthias and not to Apostle Matthew the Evangelist.
The Gospel of Matthew, though it has come down to us in Greek language, has a Jewish/Hebraic flavour, which is evident in its Aramaic expressions and forms, and its use of numerous quotations and arguments from the Old Testament. Papias, a 2nd-century Christian author, preserves the tradition that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic, the common language of the Jews at the time of Christ, and that others later freely translated this work into Greek. The Aramaic original was lost.
Though his Gospel does not name Matthew as the author, all the early manuscripts attribute authorship to Matthew. His authorship is attested by the universal witness of the ancient Church.
Like the other three Evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art. His usual emblem as an evangelist is a man, because his genealogy emphasized the family ties of Christ.
Troparion (Tone 3)
O Apostle Matthew, thou didst hear the Voice of the Word and receive the light of faith. Thou didst abandon the office of publican and proclaim Christ God's Self-emptying. Ask that those who praise thee may receive forgiveness and great mercy.
Kontakion (Tone 4)
Casting aside the bonds of the custom house
for the yoke of justice,
you were revealed as an excellent merchant,
rich in wisdom from on high.
You proclaimed the word of truth
and roused the souls of the slothful
by writing of the hour of Judgment.
Instructing the children. (#16-16AME)