Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 05 May |
Saint of the Day: St. Nuntius Sulprizio
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

This Ethiopian saint heard the Gospel from St. Matthew himself



Philip Kosloski - published on 09/21/20

St. Ephigenia received the Gospel message straight from St. Matthew the Apostle.

Among the many titles of St. Matthew, one that is rarely mentioned is “Apostle of Ethiopia.” According to an ancient tradition, St. Matthew the Evangelist preached the Gospel in Ethiopia and suffered martyrdom in the region.

There are various stories of St. Matthew’s adventures in Ethiopia, one of which is included in the Golden Legend.

And by the commandment of [St. Matthew] they made a great church of the gold and silver that they had brought, which in thirty days space was edified and achieved. In which church the apostle sat three and thirty years, and converted all Ethiopia to the faith of Christ. And then the king Egippus, with his wife and his daughter, and all the people, were baptized. And then the apostle hallowed to God Ephigenia the king’s daughter, and made her mistress and governess of more than two hundred virgins.

Little is known about St. Ephigenia outside these legends, and for this reason, she is not included on the general liturgical calendar, though she was originally in the Roman Martyrology and her feast was celebrated on the same day as St. Matthew, September 21.

Whatever the truth may be, it is fascinating to think about receiving the Gospel directly from a gospel writer! He was a personal witness to Jesus Christ and his words bore much weight, being a first-hand account.

Over the years devotion to St. Ephigenia has been spread throughout various parts of the world, including South America among freed African slaves. Her feast day had great significance and was celebrated with joyous festivals.

She may not be well known in the Catholic Church, but her memory is still preserved and is regarded as one of St. Matthew’s first converts to Christianity.


Read more:
6 Saints for Black History Month

SAINT Moses the Black

Read more:
How Moses the Black went from gang leader to holy abbot

Christians in AfricaSaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Matthew Becklo
Yes, ‘The Chosen’ is that good—and just keeps getting...
Elizabeth Lev
St. Joseph, master of the “Art of Dying Well”
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Philip Kosloski
How to pray the Chaplet of St. Joseph
Cerith Gardiner
7 Ways to strengthen your relationship with the Virgin Mary
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.