The Parish Church of Saint Matthew Big Lamp ~ Newcastle
Saint Matthew
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   called    Matthew sitting   at   the   tax   office;   and   he   said   to   him,   "Follow   me."   And he rose and followed him.  Matthew 9: 9 A   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   martyr ed   (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.