My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Lord, God, and Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
On the 9th of August, Our Holy Orthodox Church Commemorates
the Holy Apostle MATTHIAS.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Apostle. Third Tone
O HOLY Apostle Matthias, intercede with the Merciful God
that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.
Kontakion Hymn of the Apostle. Fourth Tone
TRULY, into all the world thy sound hath gone forth as a brightly
beaming sun; and it enlighteneth by grace the Church of all
nations on the earth, O Wonderworking Matthias. Apostle of
After Judas by transgression fell from his apostleship (Acts 1:25), and hanging himself out of despair ended his life with a wretched and shameful death (Matthew 27:5), then, that the number of Twelve not be lacking, all the Disciples gathered in one place after the Ascension of the Savior (the number of men and women being 120), and they chose two men from among them, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was also surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and they set them in the midst. Then they prayed to God and cast lots, “and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles” (Acts 1:15-26). And thus, having taken the place of Judas, Matthias fulfilled the work of apostleship and the prophecy concerning Judas, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David: “AND HIS BISHOPRIC LET ANOTHER TAKE” (Psalm 108:7). After this, it is said, Matthias preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, and completed his life in martyrdom.
MORE ON THE LIFE OF THE HOLY APOSTLE MATTHIAS
Matthias, the holy Apostle, was a descendant of the Tribe of Judah. His name is derived from Mattahias, which is Hebrew for Mattithiah, signifying “Gift of God.” He was born in Bethlehem. For his early childhood he began to study the Sacred Books and the Law of God in Jerusalem. Under the guidance of the holy Symeon the God-receiver, Matthias was instructed by him in the life of virtue. He led a God-pleasing life, following strictly the path outlined in the Commandments of God. The holy Matthias, listening to the teaching of Christ and seeing His Wonderworkings, was filled with love for Him. Matthias, thereupon, leaving behind the care of the world, followed after the Lord with the other Disciples and people. He delighted in the sight of the countenance of the Incarnate God and in the ineffable joy of His Teaching. The Lord, to Whom the most hidden movements of the human heart are open, seeing the fervor and purity of soul of the holy Matthias, chose him not only as a Disciple, but also for the apostolic ministry.
At first, the holy Matthias BELONGED TO THE Seventy Apostles. Eusebius Pamphilus the historian notes: “First, then, in the place of Judas, THE BETRAYER, Matthias, who, as has been shown was also one of the Seventy (70), was chosen to the Apostolate.” With regard to the SEVENTY, we hear in the Gospel that “the Lord APPOINTED SEVENTY OTHERS ALSO, AND SENT THEM FORTH TWO BY TWO BEFORE HIS FACE INTO EVERY CITY AND PLACE WHERE HE HIMSELF WAS ABOUT TO GO” (Luke 10:1). But after the voluntary sufferings, Resurrection, and Ascension into Heaven of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the holy Matthias was admitted to the company OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES.
The election was soon confirmed by the Lord at the sending down of the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire: for the Holy Spirit rested upon Saint Matthias as upon the other holy Apostles, imparting grace to him in the same measure as the rest of the Disciples of the Lord. The holy Matthias, who was appointed before Pentecost, was chosen by lot, while in the case of the Seven Deacons, who came later, they were appointed by the prayer of the Apostles and the IMPOSITION OF HANDS. However, after the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles cast lots to see which of them would go to which country to preach the Gospel. To the holy Matthias fell the lot of Judaea, where he labored, traveling round the cities and villages, proclaiming the Good News of the appearance of the Savior of the world in the Person of Jesus Christ. Afterward, he preached the name of Jesus not only among the Jews but also among the Gentiles.
Tradition tells us that Saint Matthias went with the good news of Christ to the inhabitants OF ETHIOPIA (Abyssinia), and there endured many and diverse afflictions. The heathen (pagans) dragged him over the ground, subjected him to beatings, suspended him from a wooden scaffold, lacerated his stomach with an iron blade, and burned him with fire. The holy Matthias strengthened by Christ, manfully bore these tortures with joy; for he was endued with power fro on High by command of the Giver of Life. Some close his martyrdom here, in Ethiopia, where, out of his intense affection for Jesus, he “bravely emulated the Cross and Passion of His Teacher.”
The Holy Apostle in Macedonia
According to certain information, Saint Matthias preached the Gospel in Macedonia, where the ungodly pagan Greeks, desiring to test the power of the teaching proclaimed by the holy Apostle of Christ, arrested him and forced him to drink a poison which deprives men of their sight. But the holy Matthias, having quaffed the poison in the name of Christ, suffered no harm from it. Nevertheless, in order to test its potency, two hundred and fifty men were blinded by that same poison. The holy Apostle Matthias, the servant of the Almighty, healed them all, by laying his hands upon them and invoking the name of Christ.
The Apostle Matthias in Palestine
Then the Apostle of Christ returned again to his portion, Judaea, and converted many of the children of Israel to the Lord Jesus Christ. He proclaimed to them the word of God, confirming it with signs and Wonders (miracles). By the name of Christ, the holy Matthias restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dying. He raised up the lame, cleansed lepers, and cast out demons. The Apostle called Moses a holy Prophet. Matthias exhorted all to keep that Law given him by God on the Tablets of Stone. The holy Matthias, at the same time, taught them to believe in the Christ. For He had been prophesied by Moses himself, in sighs and prefigurations.
At that time, the high priest of the Jews was Annas, who hated Christ and blasphemed His name. Annas was a persecutor of the Christians, who commanded that the holy Apostle Iakovos (James), the brother of God and first Bishop of Jerusalem, he cast down from the pinnacle of the Temple; and thus he slew him. The holy Apostle Matthias was brought before Annas. When the high priest Annas gave his consent, the holy Matthias opened his mouth and began to interpret the Old Testament types and prophecies concerning Jesus Christ: how God promised the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacobe, to raise up such a Man from their seed, through Whom all the Tribes of the earth would be blessed, concerning which David also speaks in the words of the Psalm– “in Him shall be blessed all the tribes of the earth, all the nations shall call Him Blessed” (Psalm 71:18)… The holy Matthias responded: “He of Whom I speak is not only a Prophet but even the Lord of witness! Therefore, I believe in Him and hope to be unshaken in my confession of His All-Holy Name!” The high priest interjected, “If they give thee time for reflection, will thou repent?” Matthias uttered solemnly, “May I never fall away from the truth which I have already received! I believe with all my heart and openly confess that Jesus of Nazareth, Whom YOU REJECTED AND GAVE OVER TO DEATH, IS THE SON OF GOD, WHO IS OF ONE ESSENCE AND EQUALLY EVERLASTING WITH THE FATHER; AND I AM HIS SERVANT.”
The high priest, stopping his ears and gnashing his teeth, cried out frantically, “He blasphemed! He blasphemed! Let him hear the law!” Then, straightway, the book of the law was opened; and that passage was read wherein it is written: “Whosoever shall curse God shall bear his sin. He that nameth the name of the Lord, let him die the death: let all the congregation of Israel stone him with stones” (Leviticus 24:15-16). When this passage had been read in the hearing of all, the high priest said to the Apostle of Christ: “Thy words bear witness against thee; thy blood beon thine own head!”
Then the high priest condemned the holy Matthias to death by stoning; and they led the Apostle forth to execution. Those present cast stone, striking the man of God. Matthias, lifting up his hands, surrendered his spirit into the hands of the Lord. After the death of the martyr, in order to please the Romans, they beheaded him with a sword, as though the Apostle of Christ had been an opponent of Caesar. Thus, having fought the good fight, the holy Apostle Matthias finished his course. The faithful taking up the body of the Apostle, commit it to burial, sending up glorification to our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
This tradition that holy Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded is found also in Tillemon’s ecclesiastical history. This tradition places his martyrdom in A.D. 63. It is said that Saint Helen brought the holy relics of the Apostle Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was as Trier. The Latins celebrate the feast of Saint Matthias on the 24th of February and the Orthodox Church on 9th of August. [Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God