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Matthew the Evangelist

Matthew the Evangelist is traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Matthew. He was the son of Alphaeus, and was a publican or tax-gatherer at Capernaum. On one occasion Jesus, coming up from the side of the lake, passed the custom-house where Matthew was seated, and said to him, "Follow me." Matthew arose and followed him, and became his disciple (Matt. 9:9). Formerly the name by which he was known was Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27); he now changed it, possibly in grateful memory of his call, to Matthew. The same day on which Jesus called him he made a "great feast" (Luke 5:29), a farewell feast, to which he invited Jesus and his disciples, and probably also many of old associates. He was afterwards selected as one of the twelve (6:15). His name does not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the apostles. The last notice of him is in Acts 1:13. The time and manner of his death are unknown.

Some traditions say that Matthew was martyred in Ethiopia, others say that he was martyred in Hierapolis of Parthis. According to Epiphanius, Bishop of Cyprus, Matthew the Evangelist was martyred in Hierapolis, and the Matthew who replaced Judas Iscariot among the twelve apostles is the one who was martyred in Ethiopia.

He is recognized as a saint in both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. The Eastern Orthodox celebrate his feast day on November 16.

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