|Saint Mattai (Matthew)|
Mount Alfaf, Iraq
|Honored in||Syriac Christianity|
|Major shrine||Monastery of Mar Mattai, Iraq|
Life according to Syriac tradition
Not much is known about Mattai's early life except that he was born in the early 4th century in the city of Amid or in a village close by, and that he was a monk in that region when the anti-Christian persecution of Julian the apostate took place.
Mar Mattai was forced to flee to Nineveh where he found a hermitage on the Alfaf Mountain in Nineveh plains. According to Syriac tradition, it was during that time that he met with prince Behnam, the son of an Assyrian pagan king of Athur during a hunting trip. Mattain preached him about Christianity and miraculously healed his sister Sara of leprosy. They were both baptised alongside Behnam's forty companions.
Upon learning of his Children's conversion, king Sencharib killed his children and their forty companions on a hill in Nimrud. However, the king later regretted his deed and was later baptised by Mar Mattai. He also built a monastery on the mount were Mar Mattai healed his daughter.
The Monastery of Mar Mattai is traditionally attributed to Mar mattai and is thought to have been commissioned by Senchareb and was completed in the 4th century. It is considered one of the oldest functioning Syriac Orthodox monasteries in Mesopotamia and it has been the seat and the final resting place of a number of Syriac Orthodox patriarchs and scholars.
- Bar Hebraeus, Budge, E. A. W. (2003). The Chronography of Gregory AB?'L Faraj the Son of Aaron, the Hebrew Physician Commonly Known as Bar Hebraeus Being the First Part of His Political History of the World (Volume 1). Gorgias Press. pp. 53–55. ISBN 978-1-59333-055-2.
- القديس مار متى الناسك والشهداء مار بهنام وسارة ورفاقهما الأربعين, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate (Arabic)
- Dayro d-Mor Matay, Syriac Orthodox Resources