St Matthew History
The feast day for St. Matthew celebrates the life of Jesus' disciple who wrote the Gospel of Matthew, one of the four gospels in the New Testament that tells stories of Jesus Christ.
St. Matthew, one of Jesus' 12 apostles, was born in Galilee, the son of Alpheus (Mark 2:14). His original name was Levi until Jesus changed it to Matthew. He is primarily mentioned in the Gospels in lists of the disciples, except in the Gospel of Matthew, which tells the story of his conversion (Matthew 9:9).
St Matthew Facts
- Matthew was a tax collector, also called a publican. This profession was among the most reviled in Judea. Tax collectors worked for Rome, and not only did Jews pay Roman taxes to them, the collectors received a percentage for their own profit. Jews in good standing did not associate with publicans.
- Once Matthew begins to follow Jesus, he holds a dinner for other tax collectors and sinners (Matthew 9:10). The Pharisees, the strict Jewish law abiders that were leaders in the community, complained about Jesus, a teacher eating with sinners. Jesus said, "For I have come to call the not the righteous but the sinners." (Matthew 9:13)
- Early church writers claim that after Jesus' death and resurrection that Matthew preached Christianity in Persia, Macedonia, and Syria.
- In the Orthodox Church, tradition says that St. Matthew refused to die even after several attempts. He was first placed upside down and lit on fire, then sunk in a coffin in the sea overnight. The ruler of Ethiopia, who tried to kill Matthew, apologized to the apostle and converted to Christianity.
- St Matthew was one of Jesus' 12 disciples and writer of the Gospel of Matthew. His feast day is held on September 21 in the Roman Catholic Church and November 16 in the Orthodox faith.
St Matthew Top Events and Things to Do
- Because of his background as a tax collector, Matthew is the patron saint of bankers and accountants. His feast day would be a good time to audit your books if you are a business owner or re-establish a family budget.
- Read the Gospel of Matthew. It was written for the people of Judea and features a unique perspective on the Kingdom of God.
- Matthew was a tax collector, which was one of the most reviled professions in Judaism at the time of Christ. People looked down on tax collectors, but even so Jesus ate with them. Spend the day honoring St. Matthew getting to know somebody who is looked down upon in our society.