The Holy Apostle Matthias was born in Bethlehem of the Tribe of Judah. From his early childhood he studied the Law of God under the guidance of Saint Simeon the God-Receiver (February 3).
When the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to the world, Saint Matthias believed in Him as the Messiah, followed constantly after Him and was numbered among the Seventy Apostles, whom the Lord “sent them two by two before His face” (Luke 10:1).
After the Ascension of the Savior, Saint Matthias was chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the Twelve Apostles (Acts 1:15-26). After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Matthias preached the Gospel at Jerusalem and in Judea together with the other Apostles (Acts 6:2, 8:14). From Jerusalem he went with the Apostles Peter and Andrew to Syrian Antioch, and was in the Cappadocian city of Tianum and Sinope. Here the Apostle Matthias was locked into prison, from which he was miraculously freed by Saint Andrew the First-Called.
The Apostle Matthias journeyed after this to Amasea, a city on the shore of the sea. During a three year journey of the Apostle Andrew, Saint Matthias was with him at Edessa and Sebaste. According to Church Tradition, he was preaching at Pontine Ethiopia (presently Western Georgia) and Macedonia. He was frequently subjected to deadly peril, but the Lord preserved him to preach the Gospel.
Once, pagans forced the saint to drink a poison potion. He drank it, and not only did he himself remain unharmed, but he also healed other prisoners who had been blinded by the potion. When Saint Matthias left the prison, the pagans searched for him in vain, for he had become invisible to them. Another time, when the pagans had become enraged intending to kill the Apostle, the earth opened up and engulfed them.
The Apostle Matthias returned to Judea and did not cease to enlighten his countrymen with the light of Christ’s teachings. He worked great miracles in the Name of the Lord Jesus and he converted a great many to faith in Christ.
The Jewish High Priest Ananias hated Christ and earlier had commanded the Apostle James, Brother of the Lord, to be flung down from the heights of the Temple, and now he ordered that the Apostle Matthias be arrested and brought for judgment before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem.
The impious Ananias uttered a speech in which he blasphemously slandered the Lord. Using the prophecies of the Old Testament, the Apostle Matthias demonstrated that Jesus Christ is the True God, the promised Messiah, the Son of God, Consubstantial and Coeternal with God the Father. After these words the Apostle Matthias was sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin and stoned.
When Saint Matthias was already dead, the Jews, to hide their malefaction, cut off his head as an enemy of Caesar. (According to several historians, the Apostle Matthias was crucified, and indicate that he instead died at Colchis.) The Apostle Matthias received the martyr’s crown of glory in the year 63.
After Judas by transgression fell from his apostleship (Acts 1: 25), and hanging himself out of despair ended his life with a wretched and shameful death (Matt. 27: 5), then, that the number of the Twelve not be lacking, all the disciples gathered in one place after the Ascension of the Savior (the number of men and women being 120), and they chose two men from among them, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was also surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and they set them in the midst. Then they prayed to God and cast lots, “and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles” (Acts 1: 15-26). And thus, having taken the place of Judas, Matthias fulfilled the work of apostleship and the prophecy concerning Judas, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David: “And his bishopric let another take” (Ps. 108(109):8). After this, it is said, Matthias preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, and completed his life there in martyrdom.
Matthias was born in Bethlehem, of the tribe of Judah. He studied with St. Simeon the God-receiver in Jerusalem. When the Lord went out to preach about the Kingdom of God, Matthias joined the others who loved the Lord–for he himself loved Him with all his heart, and heard His words and witnessed His works with delight. Initially Matthias was numbered among the Seventy Lesser Disciples of Christ.
However, following the Resurrection of the Lord, the place of Judas being empty, the apostles drew lots and thus chose Matthias as one of the Twelve Great Apostles: And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus and Matthias. And they prayed and said: “You Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show which of these two You have chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place“ (Acts 1:23-26). Receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Matthias set out to preach the Gospel–first in Judea, and then in Ethiopia, where he endured great tortures for the sake of Christ. It is held that he preached throughout Macedonia, where they wanted to blind him; but he became invisible to his torturers, and thus escaped danger.
The Lord appeared to him in prison, encouraged him, and freed him. Finally, he returned again to his work in Judea. There he was accused and brought to court before the high priest Ananias, before whom he fearlessly witnessed Christ. Ananias (the same who had slain the Apostle James) condemned Matthias to death. They led Matthias out, stoned him, and then decapitated him with an axe. (This was the Roman manner of killing a person who was sentenced to death, and the hypocritical Jews applied this method to Matthias, to show the Romans that he had been an enemy of Rome.) Thus this great apostle of Christ died, and took up his habitation in the eternal joy of his Lord.
Apolytikion of Matthias
O Holy Apostle Matthias, intercede to our merciful God, that He may grant our souls forgiveness of sins.
Kontakion of Matthias
Truly, into all the world thy sound hath gone forth as a brightly-beaming sun; and it enlighteneth by grace the Church of all nations on the earth, O wonderworking Matthias, Apostle of Christ.
Source: oca.org / goarch.org / westserbdio.org