Matthew, St. (gift of Yahweh) (first century) In the Bible, N.T., Evangelist and Apostle. Author of the Gospel bearing his name. Patron of bankers and tax collectors. Feast, 21 September. Little is known of his life. The gospels give only the account of his calling by Jesus (Mark 2:14). It is a widely accepted theory that Levi and Matthew are the same person. Jesus is believed to have given Levi the name Matthew.
There are two different traditions of the death of St. Matthew. According to Greek legend, he died during the reign of Domitian, but according to Western legend, he was martyred in Ethiopia by either a sword or a spear. In art, aside from his symbol as an angel with a book in his role as Evangelist, he is often portrayed at the moment he answered Christ’s call, as in Caravaggio’s painting.
From the Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante