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Did Zacchaeus in the Bible become a canonized saint?

Zacchaeus

James Tissot | Brooklyn Museum | Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 10/30/22 - updated on 10/30/22

There is an ancient tradition that Zacchaeus became a companion of St. Peter, and possibly even a bishop.

In the Gospel of Luke, there is a story of a man named Zacchaeus who eagerly wanted to see Jesus, even climbing a tree to get a better view.

Jesus saw Zacchaeus’ faith and wanted to stay at his house. This proved to be a monumental moment in Zacchaeus’ life, as he immediately promised to undo any wrong he might have comitted.

“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,
and if I have extorted anything from anyone
I shall repay it four times over.”

Luke 19:8

What happened to Zacchaeus after this fateful day is not recorded in the Bible, but local legends try to fill in the gap.

In a 4th-century text called the Apostolic Constitutions, Zacchaeus becomes a disciple of St. Peter the Apostle, and accompanies him on his journeys.

Furthermore, it is even claimed that Zacchaeus became the bishop of Caesarea and later died a peaceful death.

While the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize Zacchaeus as a canonized saint, the Eastern Orthodox Church does, assigning him a feast day of April 20.

There is also a “Sunday of Zacchaeus,” that is celebrated by many Eastern Churches, commemorating this biblical event.

This “canonization” by tradition is in line with other Old and New Testament figures whom the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine traditions recognize as saints.

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