St. Matthew was born into a Christian family in the early 4th century, in Abkar Shatt, a village north of Amida. He was educated at the Monastery of the Saints Sergius and Bacchus, after which he became a monk at the Monastery of Zugnin and was ordained as a priest. Upon the ascension of Emperor Julian the Apostate in 361, and subsequent persecution of Christianity, St. Matthew and other monks fled to the Sasanian Empire, and took up residence on Mount Alfaf in Nineveh of Ashur, with his friends St. Zakal and St. Abrohoum. St. Matthew persuaded and convinced Prince Behnam of that area to renounce the old gods in favor of the One True God. The prince was so delighted by the Gospel, that he asked the hermit to cure his sister Sarah from leprosy. Their father King Sinharib killed them for accepting the Christian faith. After his children martyred, he became mad and St. Matthew had to heal him. He later accepted Christianity as well with his kingdom. The King built a monastery at the site of the cave where the Saint meditated. St. Matthew would later repose at the same site, and until this day the monastery bears his name.
May His Prayers Be With Us
– Special thanks to Fr. Augeen Nemat