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Saint Matthias

Saint Matthias
  • Century: 1st Century
  • Patronage: Alcoholism, Carpenters, Smallpox, Tailors, Gary-Indiana, Great Falls & Billings – Montana
  • Feast Day: May 14th

St. Matthias according to the Acts of the Apostles was the Apostle chosen by the remaining eleven Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and his own suicide.  He is unique as an Apostle, as Jesus himself did not make his appointment personally.  Jesus had already ascended to Heaven, and it was made before the descending of the Holy Spirit upon the early Church.  

In the Synoptic Gospels, Mathias is not mentioned among the list of Disciples or followers of Jesus.  According to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, the assembled disciples, who numbered about on hundred and twenty, that they nominated two men to replace Judas.  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.  Also, no information about Matthias is to be found in the Canonical New Testament.  A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio, in the modern Georgian region of Adjara, claims that Matthias is buried at that site.  Tradition maintains that Matthias was stoned at Jerusalem by the Jews, and then beheaded.  

But, according to Hippolytus of Rome, Matthias died of old age in Jerusalem.  Clement of Alexandria observed, “ 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”.  

The feast of St. Matthias was included in the Roman calendar in the 11th century.  In 1969, his feast was transferred to May 14th, so as not to celebrate it in Lent but instead in Eastertide 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.  According to old tradition, St. Matthias’s Feast Day is said to be the luckiest day of the year.  This is because Matthias was the saint who was chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot.  

Practical Take Away

St. Matthias according to the Acts of the Apostles was the Apostle chosen by the remaining eleven Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and his own suicide.  He is unique as an Apostle, as Jesus himself did not make his appointment personally.  Jesus had already ascended to Heaven, and it was made before the descending of the Holy Spirit upon the early Church.  The Apostles 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.