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His name Matthias comes from the Hebrew, Mattithiah, meaning the "gift of Yahweh.” Matthias was born at Bethlehem of the Tribe of Judah. From his early childhood he studied the Law of God under the guidance of St Simeon the God-receiver. When the Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself to the world, St Matthias believed in him as the Messiah, followed constantly after him and was numbered among the Seventy Apostles, whom the Lord "sent them two by two before His face" (Luke 10:1).

Matthias was not one of the original Apostles but was chosen by the other Apostles and Peter when Judas left their rank. During the days after the Ascension, Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (about 120 of Jesus' followers). Now that Judas had betrayed his ministry, it was necessary, Peter said, to fulfill the scriptural recommendation: "May another take his office." "Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to His resurrection" Act 1:21-22. They nominated two men: Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. They prayed and drew lots. The choice fell upon Matthias, who was added to the Eleven.

Matthias is not mentioned by name anywhere else in the New Testament. He was the one of the quiet followers committed to Jesus from the beginning, first as one of the 70 disciples and, then after his election as the 13th Apostle immediately after the Ascension. From his election, he spread the “Good News” for more than thirty years. The Apostle Matthias journeyed after this to Amasea, a city on the shore of the sea. During a three year journey of the Apostle Andrew, Matthias was with him at Edessa and Sebaste. According to Church Tradition, he was preaching at Pontine Ethiopia and Macedonia. He was frequently subjected to deadly peril, but the Lord preserved him to preach the Gospel.

Once, pagans forced the saint to drink a poison potion. He drank it, and not only did he himself remain unharmed, but he also healed other prisoners who had been blinded by the potion. When Matthias left the prison, the pagans searched for him in vain, for he had become invisible to them. Another time, when the pagans had become enraged intending to kill the Apostle, the earth opened up and engulfed them.

The Apostle Matthias returned to Judea and did not cease to enlighten his countrymen with the light of Christ's teachings. He worked great miracles in the Name of the Lord Jesus and he converted a great many to faith in Christ.

He is the author of and/or contributor to a Gospel bearing his name and a document called the Traditions of Matthias. Traditions report that he preached the Gospel in Palestine, Cappadocia or Ethiopia.

In one tradition Matthias died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun. Still another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded. It is said that St. Helena brought the relics of Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was at Trier.

He is the patron saint of alcoholics carpenters, reformed alcoholics, smallpox, and tailors. In art is represented with a cross and a halberd, the instruments of his death as a martyr.


St. Matthias feast day is May 14.

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