Saint of the Day – 24 February – St Matthias Apostle of Christ, Martyr.
St Mattias, born in Bethlehem of Juda, was at the commencement of Christ’s preaching, numbered by Him, among the seventy-two disciples and everywhere accompanied our Saviour and witnessed all His miracles and His Resurrection.
After Christ’s Ascension, Matthias was chosen Apostle in place of the traitor Judas, as is detailed in the Epistle of this day and, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, announced the Gospel, first to his own people, the Jews and then, in Cappadocia and the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea.
Having preached the doctrine of salvation in many countries, especially urging, as St Clement of Alexandria relates, abstinence from Carnal pleasures, he was stoned by the Jews in Galilee, who wished not to hear his sermons and was finally beheaded by the Roman soldiers about the year 63. (Father Leonard Goffine, 1880).
In those days, Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren – now the number of persons met together, was about a hundred and twenty – and he said, Brethren, the Scripture must be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit declared before, by the mouth of David, concerning Judas, who was the guide of those who arrested Jesus; inasmuch as he had been numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.
And he indeed bought a field with the price of his iniquity and, being hanged, burst asunder in the midst and all his bowels gushed out.
And it became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that the field came to be called, in their language, Haceldama, that is, the Field of Blood.
For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let their habitation become desolate and let there be none to dwell in it.’ And, ‘His ministry let another take.’ Therefore, of these men who have been in our company all the time that the Lord Jesus moved among us, from John’s baptism until the day that He was taken up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of His Resurrection.”
And they put forward two: Joseph, called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias.
And they prayed and said, You, Lord, Who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas fell away to go to his own place.
And they drew lots between them and the lot fell upon Matthias and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
O God, Who didst choose Thy blessed servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles, grant, we beseech Thee, that Thy Church, being upholden by his prayers, may ever feel about her, the arms of Thy most mighty Protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.