Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Today is the Feast of St. Matthew

Casting aside the bonds of the custom house
for the yoke of justice,
you were revealed as an excellent merchant,
rich in wisdom from on high.
You proclaimed the word of truth
and roused the souls of the slothful
by writing of the hour of Judgment.

Kontakion (4th tone)

The son of Alphaeus, Matthew, was a publican and tax collector before being called by Christ. "Follow me", Jesus said as He passed by the custom house where Matthew was seated. He did; and became one of the Twelve and later, an Evangelist. He was the first to write the Gospel – in Hebrew. The time and manner of his repose still remain shrouded in mystery. Some say he was martyred in Ethiopia; others say he was martyred in Hierapolis, Parthia.

In most icons (not including this one), portrayed next to him is the likeness of a man, one of the symbolic living creatures mentioned by Ezekiel (1:10), which, as Saint Irenaeus writes, is a symbol of our Saviour's Incarnation.

O Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.

Apolytikion (3rd tone)


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