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The Greek Matthias (or, in some manuscripts, Maththias), is a name derived from Mattathias, Hebrew Mattithiah, signifying "gift of Yahweh." Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts 1:21-22). It is related (Acts 1:15-26) that in the days following the Ascension, Peter proposed to the assembled brethren, who numbered one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate. Two disciples, Joseph, called Barsabas, and Matthias were selected, and lots were drawn, with the result in favour of Matthias, who thus became associated with the eleven Apostles. Zeller has declared this narrative unhistoric, on the plea that the Apostles were in Galilee after the death of Jesus. As a matter of fact they did return to Galilee, but the Acts of the Apostles clearly state that about the feast of Pentecost they went back to Jerusalem.
All further information concerning the life and death of Matthias is vague and contradictory. According to Nicephorus (Hist. eccl., 2, 40), he first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (that is to say, Colchis) and was crucified. 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 cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia, at the harbour of the sea of Hyssus, at the mouth of the river Phasis. He 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 (cf. Tillemont, "Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire eccl. des six premiers siècles", I, 406-7). It is said that St. Helena brought the relics of St. Matthias to Rome, and that a portion of them was at Trier. Bollandus (Acta SS., May, III) doubts if the relics that are in Rome are not rather those of the St. Matthias who was Bishop of Jerusalem about the year 120, and whose history would seem to have been confounded with that of the Apostle. The Latin Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthias on 24 February and the Greek Church on 9 August. [Note: After this article was written, the Latin Church moved the feast of St. Matthias to 14 May.]
Clement of Alexandria (Strom., III, 4) records a sentence that the Nicolaitans ascribe to Matthias: "we must combat our flesh, set no value upon it, and concede to it nothing that can flatter it, but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge". This teaching was probably found in the Gospel of Matthias which was mentioned by Origen (Hom. i in Lucam); by Eusebius (Hist. eccl., III, 25), who attributes it to heretics; by St. Jerome (Praef. in Matth.), and in the Decree of Gelasius (VI, 8) which declares it apocryphal. It is at the end of the list of the Codex Barrocciamus (206). This Gospel is probably the document whence Clement of Alexandria quoted several passages, saying that they were borrowed from the traditions of Matthias, Paradoseis, the testimony of which he claimed to have been invoked by the heretics Valentinus, Marcion, and Basilides (Strom., VII, 17). According to the Philosophoumena, VII, 20, Basilides quoted apocryphal discourses, which he attributed to Matthias. These three writings: the gospel, the Traditions, and the Apocryphal Discourses were identified by Zahn (Gesch. des N. T. Kanon, II, 751), but Harnack (Chron. der altchrist. Litteratur, 597) denies this identification. Tischendorf ("Acta apostolorum apocrypha", Leipzig, l85I) published after Thilo, 1846, "Acta Andreae et Matthiae in urbe anthropophagarum", which, according to Lipsius, belonged to the middle of the second century. This apocrypha relates that Matthias went among the cannibals and, being cast into prison, was delivered by Andrew. Needless to say, the entire narrative is without historical value. Moreover, it should be remembered that, in the apocryphal writings, Matthew and Matthias have sometimes been confounded.
Publication information Written by E. Jacquier. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
(This information may not be of the scholastic quality of the other articles in BELIEVE. Since few Orthodox scholarly articles have been translated into English, we have had to rely on Orthodox Wiki as a source. Since the Wikipedia collections do not indicate the author's name for articles, and essentially anyone is free to edit or alter any of their articles (again, without any indication of what was changed or who changed it), we have concerns. However, in order to include an Orthodox perspective in some of our subject presentations, we have found it necessary to do this. At least until actual scholarly Orthodox texts are translated from the Greek originals!)
The Holy Apostle Matthias was one of the Seventy before he replaced one of the Twelve. Saint Matthias is commemorated on August 9, and on June 30 with the Synaxis of the Glorious and All-Praiseworthy Twelve Apostles of Christ.
Apostle 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).
After the Ascension of the Savior, St Matthias was chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the Twelve Apostles (Acts 1:15-26). After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Matthias preached the Gospel at Jerusalem and in Judea together with the other Apostles (Acts 6:2, 8:14). From Jerusalem he went with the Apostles Peter and Andrew to Syrian Antioch, and was in the Cappadocian city of Tianum and Sinope. Here the Apostle Matthias was locked into prison, from which he was miraculously freed by St Andrew the First-Called.
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, St Matthias was with him at Edessa and Sebaste. According to Church Tradition, he was preaching at Pontine Ethiopia (presently Western Georgia) 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 St 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. The Jewish High Priest Ananias hated Christ and earlier had commanded the Apostle James, Brother of the Lord, to be flung down from the heights of the Temple, and now he ordered that the Apostle Matthias be arrested and brought for judgment before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem.
The impious Ananias uttered a speech in which he blasphemously slandered the Lord. Using the prophecies of the Old Testament, the Apostle Matthias demonstrated that Jesus Christ is the True God, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, Consubstantial and Coeternal with God the Father. After these words the Apostle Matthias was sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin and stoned. When St Matthias was already dead, the Jews, to hide their malefaction, cut off his head as an enemy of Caesar. (According to several historians, the Apostle Matthias was crucified, and indicate that he instead died at Colchis.) The Apostle Matthias received the martyr's crown of glory in the year 63.
Troparion (Tone 3) 
O holy Apostle Matthias,
Pray to the merciful God,
That He may grant to our souls
Remission of our transgressions!
Kontakion (Tone 4) 
O wonder-worker and Apostle Matthias,
Your words have gone out into all the world,
Enlightening men as the sun,
And giving grace to the Church
Bringing faith to heathen lands!
Apostle Matthias of the Seventy, August 9 (OCA)
Apostle Matthias, June 30 (OCA)
Matthias, Apostle of the 70 (GOARCH)
Apostle Matthias Icon and Story
"The Church of Christ Shall Not Be Impoverished": Sermon on the feast day of Apostle Matthias by St. John Maximovitch
In Acts 1:15-26 we have recorded a meeting of Jesus' followers and the decision to choose a substitute apostle to take the place vacated by Judas Iscariot. "Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection" (1:21-22). The individual must have been with Jesus throughout his public ministry. The reason for having a replacement is clear - the need to witness.
Among the 120 followers who waited in Jerusalem, there were only two who met the requirements: Barsabbas, known also as Justus, and Matthias. Having prayed for guidance from the Spirit, they voted and Matthias was elected. We are not absolutely certain how this drawing of lots was carried out. One method which the Jews used at the time of Jesus was to write names on pebbles or pieces of broken pottery. The names were then place in a container and shaken until one name flew out. The expression "the lot fell" would seem to suggest this method. However, the expression "he was added" can also be translated "he was chosen by vote." Whatever the method, the group was confident that the Lord would make his will known. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas in the Twelve. That is the first time we hear of him and it is also the last time the Bible mentions him.
Outside of Scripture: The information concerning the life and death of Matthias is vague and often contradictory. According to Nicephorus, he preached the gospel in Judea and then went to Ethiopia where he was crucified. The Synopsis of Dorothea says Matthias preached the gospel to barbarians and cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia and that he went to Cappadocia where he died at Sebastopolis. Still another tradition maintains he was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews and then beheaded because of his allegiance to Christ. To commemorate his martyrdom, Matthias' symbol consists of an open Bible with a double-bladed ax across it.
James F. Korthals
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