Acts of Andrew and Matthias

Among the most famous of the apocryphal romances, the Acts of Andrew and Matthias is extant in various versions, including Latin, Greek and Syriac. It was prefixed by Gregory of Tours to his epitome of the Acts of Andrew (q.v.), but is not part of that work, and is also preserved in the Anglo-Saxon Andreas attributed to Cynewulf (see Brooks, Andreas and the Fates of the Apostles [1961]). The name Matthew in some forms of the title is due to confusion of Matthias (Acts 1:26) with the better-known Evangelist.

When the Apostles divide the world into mission areas, Matthias is allotted the land of the cannibals, who imprison strangers, blinding and drugging them to take away their senses, and finally eating them on the thirtieth day. Matthias is imprisoned and blinded, but retains his senses and prays for help. On the twenty-seventh day Jesus appears to Andrew, sending him to the rescue. Andrew and his Disciples embark on a Boat piloted, unknown to them, by Jesus, at whose bidding Andrew recounts Jesus’ mighty works, including a visit to a heathen temple where the (Jewish) high priests are confuted by a talking sphinx. On arrival Andrew rescues Matthias, who with the disciples is carried off by a cloud, leaving Andrew alone. He works miracles, but is arrested and tortured, then nearly destroys the city by water called forth from a statue; when the inhabitants repent he restores the city, draws plans for a Church, and baptizes the people.

Bibliography

Text in Bonnet, Acta apostolorum apocrypha II. 1; summary in ANT 453ff.; literature in NTAp. II. 576. See also Blatt, ZNW Suppl. 12 (1930).