August 9th we celebrate the Holy Apostle Matthias. Here is some of what we know about him. The Apostle Matthias is of the tribe of Judah. Like Jesus, he was born in Bethlehem. Matthias is one of the original 70 disciples, and so we know he also “walked in Jesus’ footsteps” during the years of Christ’s public ministry. And in the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how he was chosen to take Judas’ place among the Twelve.
One tradition about the Apostle Matthias is that he studied Old Testament Law under Simeon the God-receiver.
Some people hold to a tradition that Matthias and Zacchaeus are the same person. This mainly comes from some early writings including by St. Clement of Alexandria. In his work, Stromata, St. Clement writes that ”
Many do not know that Matthias was originally Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus climbed the sycamore tree because he could not see Jesus due to the crowd of people and his short stature (Luke 19:1-10). He repented of his former life after meeting the Lord. St. Clement of Alexandria, in his writings in the Stromata, points this out, “Zacchaeus, whom they call Matthias, the chief tax collector, when he had heard that the Lord had esteemed him highly enough to be with Him, said, ‘Behold, half of my present possessions I give as alms, and Lord, if I ever extorted money from anyone in any way, I return it fourfold.'” (Stromata 126.96.36.199). There is also a correlation between the date the Church celebrates Zacchaeus Sunday (right before the Cheesefare and Meatfare), and the Choosing of Matthias (Bright Monday). However, given the fact that the calling of Zacchaeus occurs late in Jesus’ ministry, and Peter said a longtime follower of Jesus was required for Judas’ replacement, I find it unlikely that they are the same person.
Prayers and Tropars for the Apostle Matthias
- Acts 1: 12-17, 21-26
- Luke 9:1-6
Troparion: (tone 3)
O Holy Apostle Matthias, intercede for us with our merciful God, to grant to our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion: (tone 4)
Your radiant message, O wondrous apostle Matthias, has shown like the sun throughout the world, enlightening the Church with grace.
Prokeimenon: (tone 8)
Their utterance has gone forth into all the earth, and their words into the ends of the world
Verse: the heavens tell the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His hand.
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for checking out this week’s article. And now you can read our article on the Feast of the Transfiguration, if you missed it. Or our article on the Synaxis of the 12 Apostles, which includes information on Matthias’ ministry.
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