Hymns about Matthew, apostle and evangelist (21 September)

Image based on St Matthew by El Greco

This is a selection of hymns about St Matthew, apostle and evangelist, whose feast-day is celebrated on 21 September.

The hymn suggestions are either directly about Matthew, or based on the themes from his/her life and ministry.

The list is divided into two parts:   free-use materials that can be freely used with no concerns about copyright (because they are in the public domain), and hymns that may still be copyright depending on the laws in your country.


About St Matthew

Before Jesus called him, Matthew was a publican, ie a tax-collector for the Romans, based in Capharnaum.  As such, he was viewed by most people as a great sinner:  publicans were not allowed to trade, eat, or pray with others Jews.   In calling Matthew, Jesus showed that his message was for sinners as well as the righteous.  Matthew's response demonstrates repentance.

He was originally called Levi, in Hebrew, meaning "Adhesion".  Matthew, his new name in Christ, means "Gift of God."

After Jesus' death, Matthew wrote the first Gospel, which was written in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.  The purpose of this book was to convince the Jewish people that the Messiah who they anticipated had come in the person of Jesus.

Tradition says that he preached in Palestine, Egypt and in Ethiopia.  Some sources say he lived until his nineties and died peacefully, while others hold that he was attacked and killed while leading prayer.

Matthew is symbolized by an angel (the winged man) taking the form of man.

He is the patron-saint of accountants, bankers, bookkeepers, customs officers, security guards, stock brokers and tax collectors, and also of Salerno in Italy.

Matthew has not been the subject of widespread popular devotion, so there are not very many English-language hymns written about him, or seeking his intercession.  If you know any which are not listed below, please leave a message in the Comments box near the bottom of the page.



Free-use hymns

He sat to Watch o’er Customs Paid - Bright

Surpassing Glory from Above - Webber

The Eternal Gifts Of Christ The King - Neale  (General hymn for all apostles' feasts)


Hymns which may still be copyright

A Tax Collector Scorned by All - Wright

Apostles and Evangelists - Hagan

By all Your Saints Still Striving
With second verse:
We praise you, Lord, for Matthew, whose gospel words declare 
That, worldly gain forsaking, Your path of love we share. 
From all unrighteous mammon, o raise our eyes anew, 
That we, whate'er our station may rise and follow You.

Holy Matthew saw the Glory - Tabor - words video

What Debt of Sin that None can Pay - Dudley Smith (ref)


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