6. november 2017
The origin of the name Matthew is from Hebrew, Mattanyah - the gift of Yahweh, given by God. Matthew, the son of Alphaeus, was a tax collector in Capernaum. Luke and Mark, the evangelists, refer to Matthew by the name of Levi. In general, he was considered a sinner because he served the hated Rome. Under the “pressure” of Jesus’ look full of love and mercy and complying with His call: "Come and follow me!", Matthew stood up and followed Jesus. He left everything. From being despised he became a disciple of the Lord, an apostle and later the author of one of the Gospels. The call of Christ saved Matthew from the darkness. The light of Christ’s love made him change. Matthew is called from the darkness to the light. And Jesus did not come to call those who think they are in the light, but those who, without Jesus’ help, are not able to change their lives. These are the ones who receive Jesus’ mercy. These are the ones willing to leave what is temporal and sinful and decide for the eternal and holy.
The Icon comes from the 19th century Russia and was carefully and precisely written in the well-known iconic village of Palech. The Icon carries the inscription “Svjatoj evangelist i apostol Matfej“ – The Holy Evangelist and Apostle Matthew. Matthew is depicted as a middle-aged man, of a dignified appearance, with a serious face framed by short grey hair and a long beard. He is sitting at a table on which there is an ink-bottle and a pen. Matthew is holding a book in his hands – the gospel, which he is looking at by a thoughtful and focused look. He is dressed in a red tunic (chiton) and a light brown sheath (himation). On the right, we see a smaller figure of a winged young man, an angel, with his right hand raised in the gesture of blessing. The figure symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who gives him inspiration. It is also an attribute of a saint because Matthew’s gospel begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. There are also other attributes depicted, they include a sword, a halberd, and a money pouch at Matthew’s feet. He is the patron of bankers, taxi drivers and customs officers.
The Feast of St. Matthew is celebrated in our Church on September 21st, in the Eastern Church on the 16th/29th of November.