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St. Matthias

Saint Matthias


Matthias was one of the seventy-two disciples of Our Lord, and the Acts of the Apostles relates that he had followed Christ since the Baptism in the Jordan. Soon after the Ascension, St. Peter determined that the traitor Judas ought to be replaced, so that there might again be twelve Apostles. The assembled disciples nominated Matthias and Joseph, who was called Barsabas. As these two men were so equal in holiness, it was judged acceptable to draw lots and thus leave the decision in God’s hands. The authority of the assembly ensured that there was no superstition involved in this method, and the lot fell, divinely guided, upon Matthias. The new twelfth Apostle received the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and went on to preach the faith in Asia Minor and around the Caspian Sea. The most common tradition holds that Matthias was martyred near the Black Sea in what is now Georgia, though another tradition says he died in Jerusalem, stoned and then beheaded. The East honors him on August 9th, and the modern Roman calendar on May 14th. In the traditional calendar, his feast day is February 24th. Because of the complex ancient Roman calendar still maintained by the Church, this feast day “leaps” to February 25th in leap years, with the 24th observed as the vigil, and the following days of the month are shifted in the same manner.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for February 24th (Read on the 25th in Leap Years)

(In leap-year, the 24th of February is announced in this manner: “The twenty-fourth day of February. The vigil of the apostle St. Matthias. Also, the commemoration of many holy martyrs, confessors and virgins.” On the 25th, read: “The twenty-fifth day of February,” and then: “In Judea, etc.” as marked for the 24th)

IN Judea, the birthday of the Apostle St. Matthias, who was chosen by lot by the apostles after the Ascension of our Lord in the place of the traitor Judas, and suffered martyrdom for preaching the Gospel.

At Rome, St. Primitiva, martyr.

At Caesarea, in Cappadocia, St. Sergius, martyr, of whose life a beautiful account still exists.

In Africa, the holy martyrs Montanus, Lucius, Julian, Victoricus, Flavian, and their companions. They were disciples of St. Cyprian, and suffered martyrdom under the emperor Valerian.

At Rouen, the passion of St. Praetextatus, bishop and martyr.

At Treves, St. Modestus, bishop and confessor.

In England, St. Ethelbert, king of Kent, converted to the faith of Christ by St. Augustine, bishop of the English.

At Jerusalem, the first finding of the head of our Lord’s Precursor.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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