St. Matthias (died c. AD 80) was, according to the Acts of the Apostles, chosen by the apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following the latter’s betrayal of Jesus and his subsequent death. His calling as an apostle is unique, in that his appointment was not made personally by Jesus, who had already ascended into heaven, and it was also made before the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the early Church. The tradition of the Greeks says that St. Matthias planted the faith about Cappadocia and on the coasts of the Caspian Sea, residing chiefly near the port Issus.
According to Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judaea, then in Aethiopia (by the region of Colchis, now in modern-day Georgia) and was crucified. An extant Coptic Acts of Andrew and Matthias, places his activity similarly in “the city of the cannibals” in Aethiopia. A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Matthias is buried at that site.