Matthew, also known as Levi, was one of the twelve apostles of Our Lord and the author of the first gospel. He was a publican, a Jewish official appointed by the Romans to oversee public works, especially the collection of taxes. Publicans were hated by the Jews. They were considered traitors to their people and despised for their greed. They often charged the people more than the Romans demanded in order to make a profit for themselves. The Romans too had little regard for them, for they were considered barbarians. Nevertheless, Jesus called Matthew to follow him and preach the Gospel. When the scribes and Pharisees reproached Jesus for dining with Matthew he replied ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’
After the resurrection of the Lord, Matthew preached the Good News throughout Judea. Tradition states that he went to Ethiopia and Persia afterward. It is known whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
His feast day is September 21. He is patron of tax collectors and bankers.