Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Story of St. Matthias The Apostle

St. Matthais the Apostle
St. Matthias The Apostle
The Greek Matthias, is a name derived from Mattathias, Hebrew Mattithiah, signifying “Gift of Yahweh“

Patron Saint of alcoholism, carpenters, diocese of Great Falls-Billings Montana, reformed alcoholics, smallpox, tailors 

Matthias was the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and suicide. His calling as an apostle is unique in that his appointment was not made personally by Jesus, who had already ascended to heaven, and, it was made before the descending of the Holy Spirit upon the early Church.
According to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they nominated two men to replace Judas: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:23-26)
                All further information concerning the life and death of Matthias is vague and contradictory. According to Nicephorus, he first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia and was crucified. The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition:  Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia, at the harbour of the sea of Hyssus, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He was stoned at Sebastopolis in 80 AD and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun. Some relics can be found in the abatical church of Triers, others in Saint Mary Major in Rome
                Still another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.  It is said that St. Helena brought the relics of St. Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was at Trier. Bollandus doubts if the relics that are in Rome are not rather those of the St. Matthias who was Bishop of Jerusalem about the year 120, and whose history would seem to have been confounded with that of the Apostle.  The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthias on 24 February and the Greek Church on 9 August. L ater, the Latin Church moved the feast of St. Matthias to 14 May.

From a homily on the Acts of the Apostles 
St. Matthais the Apostle
by Saint John Chrysostom 

"In those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples and said..." As the fiery spirit to whom the flock was entrusted by Christ and as the leader in the band of the apostles, Peter always took the initiative in speaking: "My brothers, we must choose from among our number." He left the decision to the whole body, at once augmenting the honor of those elected and avoiding any suspicion of partiality.
Did not Peter then have the right to make the choice himself? Certainly he had the right, but he did not want to give the appearance of showing special favor to anyone. "And they nominated two," we read, "Joseph, who was called Barsabbas and surnamed Justus, and Matthias." He himself did not nominate them; all present did. But it was he who brought the issue forward, pointing out that it was not his own idea but had been suggested to him by a scriptural prophecy.
And they all prayed together, saying: "You, Lord, know the hearts of men; make your choice known to us. You, not we." Appropriately they said that he knew the hearts of men, because the choice was to be made by him, not by others.
They spoke with such confidence, because someone had to be appointed. They did not say "choose" but "make known to us" the chosen one; "the one you choose," they said, fully aware that everything was being preordained by God.
from a homily on the Acts of the Apostles by Saint John Chrysostom