MATTHEW II, ninetieth patriarch of the See of Saint Mark (1452-1465). Matthew appears in the HISTORY OF THE PATRIARCHS under the name Mattawus. Briefly recorded are the dates of his consecration and decease and the fact that he was a monk of the Monastery of Our Lady known as DAYR AL-MUHARRAQ. Any other information about his life, either before or after his investiture, we must gather from the Islamic sources.
The Muslim historian al-Sakhawi tells us that his secular name before taking the monastic vow was Sulayman al-Sa‘idi (the Upper Egyptian), which he changed to Matta or Mattawus when joining al-Muharraq Monastery. He acceded to the throne of Saint Mark during the later years of the reign of the Mamluk sultan Jaqmaq (1438-1453) and he was a contemporary of Fakhr al-Din ‘Uthman (1453), Sayf al-Din Inal (1453-1460), Shihab al-Din Ahmad (1460), and Sayf al-Din Khushqadam (1460-1467).
Matthew II was consecrated and lived in the historic Church of the Virgin at HARIT ZUWAYLAH, which was a Coptic quarter. Apparently the situation of the Copts in his times was relatively secure and peaceful, the sultans being too involved in their own troubles with their Mamluk amirs to devote much time to the patriarch and his church. However, shortly after his investiture, probably in the year 1453, an Ethiopian embassy arrived in Cairo with gifts for the sultan. They wanted Matthew to appoint a Coptic archbishop for their country, and they pleaded for peace and security for the Copts and their churches in Egypt. A monk named Gabriel was consecrated as bishop of the Abyssinian diocese.
An event of universal importance took place in 1453 when Constantinople fell to the Turks under Muhammad the Conqueror, who sent an embassy to the court of Sultan Jaqmaq to announce his triumphant entry into the Byzantine capital.
SUBHI Y. LABIB
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