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Matthew the Evangelist (מתי/מתתיהו, "Gift of Yahweh", Standard Hebrew and Tiberian Hebrew: Mattay or Mattithyahu; Septuagint Greek: Ματθαίος, Matthaios, Modern Greek: Ματθαίος, Matthaíos)' comes from the Hebrew name Mattija or God's Gift. He was also called Levi (Although this is disputed by Didymus the blind).

Matthew, Apostle and once a tax collector, composed the Gospel of Christ. It was first published in Judea in Hebrew for Hebrew Christians. It was translated into Greek. Moreover the Hebrew Gospel itself was brought to the Library of Cæsarea by Pamphilus. The Nazarenes, who used it, had a copy of it transcribed for Jerome. (See the Gospel of Matthew, Jerome and the Early Church Fathers)


Matthew the Evangelist is complex for a number of reasons. Both Epiphanius and Jerome state that Matthew wrote the Gospel according to the Hebrews. The gospel to bear the name "Matthew" was written anonymously, with tradition ascribing authorship to Matthew at a later date. Both the style of Greek used and the means of describing events leads a few to conclude that the author of the gospel was not a companion of the historic Jesus.

Some use the designation "Matthew the Evangelist" to refer to the anonymous gospel author, and "Matthew the Apostle" to refer to the Biblical figure described. Christian tradition holds that they are the same person.

Early Life

Matthew was born in First Century Palestine. He was a Galilean and the son of Alpheus During the Roman occupation, Matthew collected taxes from the Hebrew people for Herod Antipas. His Tax Office was located in Capharnaummarker. Jews who became rich in such a fashion, were despised and considered outcasts. However, as a tax collector he would have been literate in Aramaic (but probably not Greek or Latin). .

It was in this setting, near what is today Almagormarker, that Jesus called Matthew to be one of the Twelve Disciples. After his call, Matthew invited the Lord home for a feast. On seeing this, the Scribes and the Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with tax collectors and sinners! This prompted Jesus to answer, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners”

Matthew's Ministry

Matthew's ministry in the New Testament is likewise complex. When Matthew is mentioned he usually paired him with Thomas. As a disciple, he followed Christ, and was one of the witnesses of the Resurrection and the Ascension. Afterwards, Matthew along with Mary, James the brother of Jesus and other close followers of the Lord, withdrew to the Upper Chamber, in Jerusalem, . At about this time James succeeded his brother Jesus of Nazareth as the leader of this small Jewish sect.

They remained in and about Jerusalem and proclaimed that Jesus son of Joseph was the promised Messiah. These early Jewish Christians were thought to have been called Nazerenes. It is near certain that Matthew belonged to this sect, as both the New Testament and the early Talmud affirm this to be true.

Matthew, for 15 years, preached the Gospel in Hebrew to the Jewish community in Palestine. Later in his ministry he would travel to Gentile nations and spread the Gospel to the Ethiopians, Macedonians, Syrians, Persians, and Parthians He is said to have died a natural death either in Ethiopia or in Macedonia. However Roman Catholic Church says he died a martyr on September 21st and of the Orthodox Church also says he died a martyr but on November 10th . .

Matthew's Gospel

Origen said the first Gospel was written by Matthew. This Gospel was composed in Hebrew near Jerusalem for Hebrew Christians and translated into Greek, but the Greek copy was lost. The Hebrew original was kept at the Library of Caesarea. The Nazarene Community transcribed a copy for Jerome which he used in his work. Matthew's Gospel was called the Gospel according to the Hebrews or sometimes the Gospel of the Apostles and it was once believed that it was the original to the Greek Matthew found in the Bible, but this has been largely disproved by modern Biblical Scholars.


Matthew is recognized as a Saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican churches. His feast day is celebrated on September 21st in the West, November 16th in the East (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 16 November currently falls on 29 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar). He is also commemorated by the Orthodox, together with the other Apostles, on 30 June (13 July), the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles.

Like the other evangelists, Matthew is often depicted in Christian art with one of the four living creatures of . The one that accompanies him is in the form of a winged man. The three paintings of Matthew by Caravaggio in the church of San Luigi dei Francesimarker in Romemarker, where he is depicted as called by Christ from his profession as gatherer, are among the landmarks of Western art.

See also

External links


Calling of Matthew
Life of Jesus: Ministry Events
New Testament

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