Witnesses to the Resurrection: St Matthew

By Jordan Grantham, Eastertide 2017
The Inspiration of St Matthew, Caravaggio. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Exterior of St Matthew’s Cathedral, Salerno, Italy. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Name: St Matthew

Death: Late 1st century AD, disputed death.

Feast Day: September 21

Patronage: Accountants, Tax Collectors

Customs: Salerno celebrates the arrival of St Matthew’s relics each year.

Shrine: Cathedral of St Matthew, Salerno, Italy, since 954AD.

Interior of the Shrine to St Matthew the Apostle, Salerno, Italy. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Life Story and Scripture:

“Born in Caphernaum. He was a tax-gatherer when called by Jesus. He wrote his Gospel in the Hebrew language and tradition has it that he preached the Faith in the East.” (Roman Breviary, Introduction to the Feast of St Andrew)

Christ called St Matthew while he was in the customs house in Capharnaum and then dined at his house, to the displeasure of the Pharisees, because tax collectors were considered as Roman collaborators and corrupt in financial dealings.

The Acts of the Apostles notes St Matthew’s role in electing the Apostle Mathias and his stay in Jerusalem for 15 years until he travelled to spread the Gospel.

St Matthew also wrote the Gospel of St Matthew.

Church Fathers:

Rufinus, St Eucherius, Popse St Gregory the Great and Socrates (a Byzantine historian) hold St Matthew went to Ethiopia. Others held he also worked among the people of Macedonia and converted the Parthians in modern day Iran.

Baronius wrote that St Matthew’s body was transported from Ethiopia to Bithynia and then Salernum.

There is disagreement among the Fathers regarding whether he was martyred.


With thanks to Rev Dr Paul Stenhouse MSC, Whatever happened to the twelve apostles? (2006, Chevalier Press)

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