Thursday, October 4, 2018

Martyrdom of Saint Matthew

Coptic Synaxarium October 22 Paba 12

Martyrdom of Saint Matthew the Evangelist and Apostle

On this day was the martyrdom of St. Matthew the Evangelist. He was one of the twelve disciples and his name was Levi. He was the one sitting at the receipt of custom outside the city of Capernaum, when the Lord Christ said unto him, 'Follow me.' He left all, rose up, and followed Him. He made for the Lord Christ a great feast in his own house. That made the Pharisees murmur against him saying to His disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat and drink with publicans and sinners?' Jesus answering said unto them, 'They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' (Luke 5:27-32) He had preached in the land of Palestine and Tyre and Sidon. Then he went to Ethiopia and entered the city of the priests and converted them to the knowledge of God. That was when he wished to enter the city but met a young man who told him, 'You will not be able to go in unless you shave off the hair of your head and carry palm branches in your hand.' He did as the young man told him. And, as he was thinking about that, the Lord Christ appeared to him in the form of the young man who had met him earlier, and He encouraged and comforted him, then disappeared. He realized that this young man was the Lord of Glory Himself. Then he entered the city like one of the priests. He went to the temple of Apollo and found the high priest, and talked with him concerning the idols that they are worshipping. He made clear to him how those idols did not hear or sense anything and how the True Mighty Lord is He who created the Heaven and the earth. The Lord made through him a wonder: a table came down to them from heaven and a great light shone around them. When Hermes the priest saw this wonder, he asked him, 'What is the name of your God?' The apostle replied, 'My God is the Lord Christ.' Hermes, the priest, believed in him and many people followed him. When the governor of the city knew that, he ordered to burn them. It happened at the same time that the son of the governor died. St. Matthew the apostle prayed and made supplications to God to raise the son and the Lord answered him and raised the child from death. When the governor saw that, he and the rest of the people of the city believed. St. Matthew baptized them and ordered a bishop and priests for them and built a church. 

After he had preached in other countries, he went back to Jerusalem. Some of the Jews which had been preached to, and had believed and been baptized by him, gathered with him and asked him to write down what he had preached to them. He wrote the beginning of the Gospel attributed to him in the Hebrew language but he did not complete it. It was said that he finished his preaching in India, in the first year of the reign of Claudius and the ninth year from the Ascension. His martyrdom was affected by stoning by the hands of Justus the governor, and his body was buried in a holy place in Carthage of Caesarea with certain believing men. 
May his prayers and blessings be with us all. Amen.