This icon is a part of a contemporary Greek set of the Holy Evangelists Matthew (S146), Mark (S166), Luke (SS143), and John (S141). St. Matthew was the son of Alphaeus and brother of St. James the Apostle, but worked as a publican, a despised tax-collector for the hated Roman civil administration. He was also called Levi. When Christ passed by him sitting at the receipt of custom, He called Levi to follow Him, and St. Matthew immediately left everything and followed Him.
St. Matthew wrote his Gospel in Aramaic some time after Pentecost and preached this Gospel of Christ Who has come among us to the Parthians and Medes, and then later in Ethiopia. Baptizing the wife and son of an Ethiopian prince, this prince was enraged and sought to kill St. Matthew, but first his soldiers, then he himself, were blinded by the Heavenly light that shone from St. Matthew. Still the prince’s heart was hardened and he tried to kill St. Matthew, who prayed, then died and went to Christ. This prince later repented, was baptized with the name of Matthew, and became a bishop in the Church and successor of St. Matthew.