Saint Matthew was one of the disciples of Christ; after the Resurrection, he became one of Christ's apostles. He is the author of the first gospel. His feast day is September 21, and his symbols are a sword and a moneybag.
Saint Matthew was born and raised a Jew in the Roman province of Israel. He was a publican, or tax-collector, by profession. Taxation at that time could be deceitful, even violent. In Palestine, publicans were seen as traitors to their people. Matthew probably became wealthy in this way. After Jesus called him, however, Matthew followed him.
As an apostle, Matthew traveled to Ethiopia and, according to Orthodox tradition, he also evangelized Persia, Macedonia and Syria. His gospel is written with the Jewish people in mind, so he portrays Christ as the Lion of Judea. The text contains extensive proofs, as the Jewish people would understand, showing that Christ is indeed the Messiah promised in scripture and prophecy.
It is said that Saint Matthew was very hard to kill. At his martyrdom, his killers first tried burning him and then drowning him before finally using a sword. Ultimately, the king of Ethiopia, who had been persecuting Matthew, became a convert.
In the gospels of Saints Mark and Luke, Saint Matthew is referred to as Levi. Jesus gave him the name Matthew. Saint Matthew is the patron saint of bankers.