Saint Matthias
Overview
 
Matthias (d. 80), according to the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, was the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

 following Judas' betrayal of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and his suicide.
There is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples or followers of Jesus in the three synoptic gospels. According to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
Encyclopedia
Matthias (d. 80), according to the Acts of the Apostles
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

, was the apostle chosen by the remaining eleven apostles to replace Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot
Judas Iscariot was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He is best known for his betrayal of Jesus to the hands of the chief priests for 30 pieces of silver.-Etymology:...

 following Judas' betrayal of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and his suicide.

Biography

There is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples or followers of Jesus in the three synoptic gospels. According to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:23-26)

No further information about Matthias is to be found in the canonical New Testament
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

. Even his name is variable: the Syriac version of Eusebius calls him throughout not Matthias but "Tolmai", not to be confused with Bartholomew
Bartholomew
Bartholomew was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and is usually identified as Nathaniel . He was introduced to Christ through St. Philip, another of the twelve apostles as per , where the name Nathaniel first appears. He is also mentioned as “Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee” in...

 (which means Son of Tolmai) who was originally one of the twelve Apostles; Clement of Alexandria says some identified him with Zacchaeus
Zacchaeus
Zacchaeus , according to chapter 19 of the gospel of Luke, was a superintendent of customs; a chief tax-gatherer at Jericho...

; the Clementine Recognitions
Clementine literature
Clementine literature is the name given to the religious romance which purports to contain a record made by one Clement of discourses...

 identify him with Barnabas
Barnabas
Barnabas , born Joseph, was an Early Christian, one of the earliest Christian disciples in Jerusalem. In terms of culture and background, he was a Hellenised Jew, specifically a Levite. Named an apostle in , he and Saint Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts...

; Hilgenfeld thinks he is the same as Nathanael in the Gospel of John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

.

According to Nicephorus
Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos
Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos, latinized as Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopulus , of Constantinople, the last of the Greek ecclesiastical historians, flourished around 1320....

 (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judaea
Iudaea Province
Judaea or Iudaea are terms used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel...

, then in Aethiopia
Ethiopia (mythology)
Aethiopia first appears as a geographical term in classical sources, in reference to the Upper Nile region, as well as all the regions south of the Sahara desert. Its earliest mention is in the works of Homer: twice in the Iliad, and three times in the Odyssey...

 (made out to be a synonym for the region of Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

, now in modern-day Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

) and was crucified in Colchis. A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio
Gonio
Gonio fortress , is a Roman fortification in Adjara, on the Black sea, 15 km south of Batumi, at the mouth of the Chorokhi river. The village sits 4 km north of the Turkish border....

 (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara
Adjara
Adjara , officially the Autonomous Republic of Adjara , is an autonomous republic of Georgia.Adjara is located in the southwestern corner of Georgia, bordered by Turkey to the south and the eastern end of the Black Sea...

 claims that Matthias is buried at that site.

The Synopsis of Dorotheus contains this tradition:
Matthias in interiore Æthiopia, ubi Hyssus maris portus et Phasis fluvius est, hominibus barbaris et carnivoris praedicavit Evangelium. Mortuus est autem in Sebastopoli, ibique prope templum Solis sepultus. ("Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and meat-eaters in the interior of Ethiopia, where the sea harbor of Hyssus is, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He died at Sebastopolis, and was buried there, near the Temple of the Sun.")

An extant Copt
Copt
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians , a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt....

ic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places his activity similarly in "the city of the cannibals" in Aethiopia
Ethiopia (mythology)
Aethiopia first appears as a geographical term in classical sources, in reference to the Upper Nile region, as well as all the regions south of the Sahara desert. Its earliest mention is in the works of Homer: twice in the Iliad, and three times in the Odyssey...

.

Alternatively, another tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded (cf. Tillemont
Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont
Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont was a French ecclesiastical historian.He was born in Paris into a wealthy Jansenist family, and was educated at the Petites écoles of Port-Royal, where his historical interests were formed and encouraged...

, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclesiastique des six premiers siècles, I, 406-7).

According to Hippolytus of Rome, Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem.

Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria
Titus Flavius Clemens , known as Clement of Alexandria , was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen...

 observed (Stromateis vi.13.):
Not that they became apostles through being chosen for some distinguished peculiarity of nature, since also Judas was chosen along with them. But they were capable of becoming apostles on being chosen by Him who foresees even ultimate issues. Matthias, accordingly, who was not chosen along with them, on showing himself worthy of becoming an apostle, is substituted for Judas.

Writings

Surviving fragments of the lost Gospel of Matthias
Gospel of Matthias
The Gospel of Matthias is a lost text from the New Testament apocrypha, ascribed to Matthias, the apostle chosen by lots to replace Judas Iscariot . The content has been surmised from various descriptions of it in ancient works by church fathers . There is too little evidence to decide whether a...

 attribute it to Matthias, but Early Church Fathers attributed it to heretical writings in the 2nd century.

Veneration

The feast of Saint Matthias was included in the Roman Calendar in the 11th century and celebrated on the sixth day to the Calends of March (February 24 usually, but February 25 in leap years). Owing to the reform of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints
Roman Catholic calendar of saints
The General Roman Calendar indicates the days of the year to which are assigned the liturgical celebrations of saints and of the mysteries of the Lord that are to be observed wherever the Roman Rite is used...

 in 1969, his feast was transferred to May 14, so as not to celebrate it in Lent
Lent
In the Christian tradition, Lent is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer – through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial – for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and...

 but instead in Eastertide
Eastertide
Eastertide, or the Easter Season, or Paschal Time, is the period of fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.It is celebrated as a single joyful feast, indeed as the "great Lord's Day". Each Sunday of the season is treated as a Sunday of Easter, and, after the Sunday of the Resurrection,...

 close to the Solemnity of the Ascension, the event after which the Acts of the Apostles recounts that Matthias was selected to be ranked with the Twelve Apostles.

The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 celebrates his feast on August 9.

The Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

's Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 liturgy celebrates Matthias on February 24. According to the newer Common Worship
Common Worship
Common Worship is the name given to the series of services authorised by the General Synod of the Church of England and launched on the first Sunday of Advent in 2000. It represents the most recent stage of development of the Liturgical Movement within the Church and is the successor to the...

 liturgy, he is celebrated on May 14 with a Festival
Festival (Church of England)
A Festival is a type of observance in the Churches of the Anglican Communion, considered to be less significant than a Principal Feast or Principal Holy Day, but more significant than a Lesser Festival or Commemoration...

, although he may be celebrated on February 24, if desired. In the Episcopal Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

 as well as some in the Lutheran Church, including The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod and The Lutheran Church–Canada, his feast remains on February 24. In Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Evangelical Lutheran Worship
Evangelical Lutheran Worship or ELW is the current, primary liturgical and worship guidebook and hymnal for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, replacing its three predecessors, the Lutheran Book of Worship , the Hymnal Supplemental , and...

, used by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

 as well as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination, with 152,788 baptized members in 624 congregations, with the second largest, the Lutheran Church–Canada, having 72,116 baptized members...

, the feast date for Matthias is on May 14.

It is claimed that St Matthias the Apostle's remains are interred in the abbey of St. Matthias
St. Matthias' Abbey, Trier
St. Matthias' Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.The abbey church, a Romanesque basilica, is a renowned place of pilgrimage because of the tomb of Saint Matthias the Apostle, after whom the abbey is named, located here since the 12th century, and the only...

, Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

, Germany, brought there through Empress Helena of Constantinople
Helena of Constantinople
Saint Helena also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine I...

, mother of Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 (the Great). According to Greek sources, the remains of the apostle are buried in the castle of Gonio-Apsaros, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

.
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