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Today the church remembers Saint Matthias the Apostle.Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent suicide left a vacancy in the fellowship of the apostles. The remaining eleven apostles resolved to fill that vacancy and in so doing set an important precedent for the church. The first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles tells us that two men were nominated, Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. The apostles prayed for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and then cast lots to see which of the two should be chosen. The lot fell to Matthias, who was then enrolled with the apostles. The apostles were, therefore, deemed fit, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to select and appoint new apostles as some died or fell away. It was partly on this precedent that the Apostolic Succession was based. It is interesting to note that even today in America a bishop’s election must be with the consent of the House of Bishops, along with lay people and clergy, and is not considered proper until the new bishop is ordained by several bishops. We know nothing of Matthias’ life following the events described in Acts. Tradition holds that he was an exemplary bishop, and on his feast day we pray that the church might always be “ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors.” Almighty God, who chose your faithful servant Matthias to be counted among the twelve: Grant that your church may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors. Amen.
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