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Skull of apostle Matthew revealed during church celebration

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/09/248534.html Skull of apostle Matthew revealed during church celebration Friday, 09 November 2012 By Reuters
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 2012
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      http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/09/248534.html

      Skull of apostle Matthew revealed during church celebration
      Friday, 09 November 2012

      By Reuters
      Cairo

      A fragment of the skull of Apostle Matthew is placed on display in a
      Greek-Orthodox church in Cairo, on Thursday, for the first time in
      recent memory.

      The skull was displayed during celebrations of the Church’s 80th
      anniversary since its foundation.

      The Greek Orthodox Egyptian community in Egypt is made up of around 5000
      members and their churches are similarly scarce, numbering at around 20,
      scattered across the country.

      According to its website, Saint Mark, the Evangelist and author of ‘The
      Gospel according to Mark’, arrived to Egypt in 43 AD and is the official
      founder of the Alexandria Church, attributing to its two thousand year
      history.

      The Greek Orthodox Church in Alexandria is also known as the
      Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa, also according to its website.

      Saint Matthew is considered to be one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus
      and one of the four Evangelists. He is also considered to be the author
      of the first Gospel.

      The upper half fragment, of what members claim is his skull, is just one
      of his many remains scattered around the world. His body is believed to
      rest in Italy.

      The service, which lasted around two hours, was led by Pope and
      Patriarch of Alexandria, Theodoros II, and several Christians were seen
      near the relic, whispering prayers for its blessings.

      Theodoros told Reuters that Saint Matthew was killed in Ethiopia by the
      ‘non-believers’ of his time. His body was thrown in the street and his
      head was cut off.

      “This is a part of the skull belonging to a great Evangelist. These
      fragments of the saint are considered a great blessing to us Orthodox
      Christians; which is why we place our hands on it as such, kiss it with
      our lips, light a flame, and take our blessings from it,” he said.

      He also claims the relic arrived in Egypt around 500 years ago as a gift
      from the Patriarch of Jerusalem to the Patriarch of Alexandria.

      The relic is kept in a Church different from where it was displayed on
      Thursday, located in ‘Hamzawy’ district in Cairo, according to Beheeg Sabaa

      “It's not the full head, just a fragment of the skull, which is known as
      relics of the saints. Saint Matthew is the first author of the gospel
      and the part of his skull here in Egypt is kept in an area called
      Hamzawy. On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of our church, it was
      brought here so we can take our blessings from it and it will remain
      here for five days before it's returned to it’s area, ‘Hamzawy’,” he said.

      The Church in Cairo was founded in 1931 and celebrations of the
      anniversary began on Wednesday and are set to continue for five days.

      Egypt is known to be home to an approximated 10 million Coptic Christian
      minority, the largest Christian community in the Middle East.
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