The Parish Church of Saint MatthewBig Lamp ~ Newcastle
The New Testament evidence of the life of Saint Matthew is scant. We are told that Jesus called him to be an Apostle(one of group of twelve close associates of Jesus, who are believed to have a particular significance for the institution of the Church - the word means one who is sent) outside the tax office:As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man calledMatthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. Matthew 9: 9A little later on in one of the lists of the Apostles (Matt 10: 3) he is described as having been a tax official himself. He is mentioned in three further lists of the Apostles (Mark 3: 18, Luke 6: 15, Acts 1:13). He is identified by some with Levi, son of Alpheus (Mark 2: 14, Luke 5: 27).Matthew may have been from Galilee, a region remote from the centre of Jewish and Roman (the occupying power) government. As a tax-collector, he was, presumably literate and numerate. His name is associated with the first of the four Gospels in the New Testament, which was considered to have been written for a community with a strong residual Jewish identity.Tradition has it that Saint Matthew was martyred (killed for being a Christian); but there are early voices, which deny this. His body is said to rest in the crypt of Salerno Cathedral in Italy.Saint Matthew's virtue inheres, in part, in his conversion of life from a career, which was generally characterised by cynical and callous greed. His new life saw him become and Evangelist(author of a New Testament Gospel), Apostle and Martyr.