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May 14th - St. Matthias the Apostle

"Who is this Matthias guy," was the question I received not too long ago from one of my school students.

Matthias doesn't show up in scripture until the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles. There's an election taking place to name the next successor to the Apostles. They want to fill the void left by Judas. Gathering together, they pray to God that they may elect a worthy Apostle. Eventually Matthias is chosen.

Not much is known about Matthias's life. Acts tells us that he was a disciple of Jesus from the time of His baptism by John until Jesus's resurrection. Matthias knew the story of Jesus firsthand. This is what the Apostles wanted in a successor. 

Tradition holds that Matthias would eventually travel south to Africa and cut back north eventually landing in modern day Georgia (the country) where he would be martyred. Some believe that he was crucified; however, a number of historians believe that Matthias was martyred with an axe. Why? Most art depicts Matthias holding an axe. Many martyrs during the time were depicted somehow with their instrument of martyrdom.