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Saint Matthew

Apostle and Evangelist.  

The Apostle and Evangelist Matthew (also called Levi) was a publican (that is, a public official for collecting taxes), who was called by Christ himself from the very seat of custom. Whom he forthwith followed, and thereupon gave a feast for the Master and his disciples. [St. Luke 5:27-32] The early Christian tradition, on the testimony of Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origin, Tertullian, and other early writers, is that Matthew for some time preached the Gospel amongst the Hebrews, and that before he went to other fields of labour, he wrote for them a Gospel in their own language. Jerome claimed to own and use a copy of this Hebrew Gospel, wherewith to correct his translations from the Greek into Latin. Although many parts of Christendom have delighted to claim this Apostle as the founder of their Churches, the usual tradition is that he went into the regions south of the Caspian Sea, (which same are in this instance called Ethiopia) where he preached the Gospel and confirmed the same by many wondrous deeds. The greatest of these is told on this wise: that he raised to life the king's daughter, Iphigenia, whereby the royal family was converted to Christ; that after the king died Hirtacus his successor demanded Iphigenia to wife; and that she (who through Matthew's teaching had vowed herself to God) rejected Hirtacus in pursuance of her vow; for which reason Matthew was by royal order put to death whilst celebrating the holy Mysteries, whereby he fulfilled his apostleship in martyrdom. There is a tradition at Salerno that his body was translated thither, and that (in the time of Gregory VII) it was laid in a Church dedicated under the invocation of the Apostle Matthew, where it is to this day devoutly honoured by great numbers of the faithful.


O ALMIGHTY GOD, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist: grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches; and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ. Who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1455-1456

Additional Information:

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