August 9

From the Prologue

Matthias was born in Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah. He studied with St. Simeon the "Receiver of God" in Jerusalem. When the Lord went out to preach about the Kingdom of God Matthias then joined the others who loved the Lord, for he himself loved Him with all his heart and with delight did he hear His words and witnessed His works. In the beginning, Matthias was numbered among the Seventy Lesser Disciples of Christ but following the resurrection of the Lord, since the place of Judas was vacated, the apostles, by drawing lots, chose this Matthias in place of Judas as one of the Twelve Great Apostles. "And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias. And they prayed and said: 'You Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show which of these two You have chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place' " (Acts 1:23-26). Receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Matthias set out to preach the Gospel, first of all in Judea and after that in Ethiopia where he endured great tortures for the sake of Christ. It is held that he preached throughout Macedonia where they wanted to blind him but he became invisible to his torturers and thus escaped danger. Being in prison, the Lord appeared to him, encouraged him and freed him. Finally, he returned again to his work in Judea. There he was accused and brought to court before the high priest Ananias before whom he fearlessly witnessed for Christ. Ananias, the same Ananias, who before that, slew the Apostle James, condemned Matthias to death. They led Matthias out, stoned him to death and, after that, decapitated him with an axe (this was the Roman manner of killing a person who was sentenced to death and the hypocritical Jews applied this method on the dead man so as to show the Romans that the slain person was an enemy of Rome). Thus, this great apostle of Christ died and took up habitation in the eternal joy of his Lord.

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