Saint Brigid Religious Education
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name Matthias comes from the Hebrew, Mattithiah, meaning the "gift of
Yahweh.” Matthias was born at Bethlehem of the
Tribe of Judah. From his early childhood he studied the Law of God under
the guidance of St Simeon the God-receiver. When the Lord Jesus Christ
revealed himself to the world, St Matthias believed in him as the
Messiah, followed constantly after him and was numbered among the
Seventy Apostles, whom the Lord "sent them two by two before His face"
Matthias was not
one of the original Apostles but was chosen by the other Apostles and
Judas left their rank. During the days after the Ascension, Peter
stood up in the midst of the
brothers (about 120 of Jesus' followers). Now that Judas had betrayed
his ministry, it was necessary, Peter said, to fulfill the scriptural
recommendation: "May another take his office." "Therefore, it is
necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord
Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until
the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to
His resurrection" Act 1:21-22. They nominated two
men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. They prayed and drew lots. The
choice fell upon Matthias, who was added to the Eleven.
is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament. He was the
one of the quiet followers committed to Jesus from the beginning, first
as one of the 70 disciples and, then after his election as the 13th
Apostle immediately after the Ascension. From his election, he spread
the “Good News” for more than thirty years. The
Apostle Matthias journeyed after this to Amasea, a city on the shore of
the sea. During a three year journey of the Apostle Andrew, Matthias
was with him at Edessa and Sebaste. According to Church Tradition, he
was preaching at Pontine Ethiopia and
Macedonia. He was frequently subjected to deadly peril, but the Lord
preserved him to preach the Gospel.
pagans forced the saint to drink a poison potion. He drank it, and not
only did he himself remain unharmed, but he also healed other prisoners
who had been blinded by the potion. When Matthias left the prison,
the pagans searched for him in vain, for he had become invisible to
them. Another time, when the pagans had become enraged intending to kill
the Apostle, the earth opened up and engulfed them.
The Apostle Matthias returned to Judea and did not
cease to enlighten his countrymen with the light of Christ's teachings.
He worked great miracles in the Name of the Lord Jesus and he converted
a great many to faith in Christ.
He is the author of and/or
contributor to a Gospel bearing his name and a document called the
Traditions of Matthias.
Traditions report that he preached the Gospel in Palestine, Cappadocia
one tradition Matthias died at Sebastopolis,
and was buried there, near the
Temple of the Sun. Still another
tradition maintains that Matthias
was stoned at
and then beheaded. It is said that St. Helena
of Matthias to
and that a portion of them was at
He is the patron saint of alcoholics carpenters, reformed
alcoholics, smallpox, and tailors. In art is represented with a cross and
a halberd, the instruments of his death as a martyr.
St. Matthias feast day is May 14.
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