Martyrdom of Matthew

MATTHEW, MARTYRDOM OF. A late document presupposing the Acts of Andrew and Matthias, but not a direct sequel (cf. Acts of Peter and Andrew). Matthew replaces Matthias as Andrew’s companion among the maneaters. It is extant in Gr. and Lat., but the Gr. MSS at some points differ greatly.

While Matthew is praying Jesus appears in the form of a child and sends him to the city of the man-eaters, bidding him to plant a staff at the gate of the church which he (Matthew) and Andrew founded. He is met by the queen, her son and daughter-in-law, all possessed by demons, whom Matthew expels. The bishop and clergy come to meet him, and Matthew preaches and plants the staff. The king at first is pleased, but later turns against Matthew and seeks to burn him to death. The fire, however, melts the images of gold and silver instead, destroys many soldiers, and forces the king to seek Matthew’s help. Matthew rebukes the fire, prays, and gives up the ghost.

The body is carried in state to the palace, and there Matthew is seen to ascend to heaven, where he is crowned by the child. The king has the body sunk in the sea in an iron coffin sealed with lead. At dawn the bishop is bidden by a voice to celebrate the Eucharist, and Matthew appears between two men in bright apparel, with the child before them. The king repents and is baptized by the bishop, and then the apostle appears and ordains him a priest. On Matthew’s departure a voice promises peace and safety to the city. Text in Bonnet, Acta apostolorum apocrypha II. 1 (1898), 217ff.; summary in ANT, 460ff.