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APOSTLE TO INDIA


Lucien de Guise | May 18, 2018 – Aleteia Website

"For the St. Thomas Christians (Mar Thoma), there is no doubt that theirs is an unbroken tradition going back to their patron’s arrival in the year 52 AD.

St. Thomas the Apostle, better known as Doubting Thomas, was, in fact the most far-reaching Apostle, courageously opening others to the faith he received from Christ. His title, “APOSTLE TO INDIA” is acknowledged even amongst the vast non-Christian majority of 1.4 billion Indians, as missionary extraordinaire.

When Vasco da Gama’s fleet reached India in 1498, the Portuguese were surprised to find Christian communities thriving in the south of the Subcontinent. They were even more surprised by the locals’ certainty that their church had been established by St. Thomas. They shouldn’t have been, as countless travellers, including Marco Polo, had claimed that the saint’s grave was there. In southern India the Mar Thoma Church still uses the liturgical Syriac language — a dialect of the Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and St. Thomas. Syria was the bedrock of early Christianity and an important part of the Roman empire, trading with southern India through the Red Sea.

Basilica of San Thome, Chennai

The evidence of Thomas’s presence in India is considerable. In 1956 Pope Pius XII granted minor basilica status to San Thome Cathedral in Chennai.It is known that the earliest converts to Christianity in southern India were, like Thomas himself, Jews. This is part of the Diaspora that tends to be as forgotten by the Jewish community as St. Thomas of India is by Christians around the world. San Thome Cathedral in Chennai contains what is believed to be the tomb of St.Thomas, who was believed to have been killed on St.Thomas' Mount which overlooks the city.

Our Lady of Expectation, St Thomas Mount

St. Thomas Mount, overlooking the city of Chennai, is traditionally believed to be the site of St.Thomas's martyrdom. This National Shrine is located very close to the Chennai International Airport. The Jesuit S.Francis Xavier placed a church dedicated to "Our Lady of Expectation", the altar of which was built on the spot where St.Thomas was martyred in 72 AD.


A Door to Discovery

(inspired by John 20: 24-29)

How strangely comforting, Lord,

That so many of your servants

Have doubted you.

So, if I cannot always see

the sense of your Word;



If I do not always feel confident

about my faith;

If I wonder where your love is

In the face of pain and death;

I am not the first.




A great company of saints and martyrs

Has felt this way before me.

Now, in your presence,

They see face to face

And know as they are known.


Teach me, like them,

Not so much to fear doubt

As to see it

As a sign of the mystery of life

And a door to discovery.


— from More than Words, copyright Saint Andrew Press 2008.

"My Lord and my God" - He Qi

Christ comes.

Again and again He comes,

walking into our today

challenging us, leading us, loving us

into responding anew to His call….

Hung on a cross

not to stay,

to return again each time we come

to lay our burdens there

and discover the way

to pick them up again

to go, with lightness,

forward, reborn….

St.Thomas Mount, Chennai

Christ:

dead and risen,

inviting us to leap

across the barriers

into the tomorrow

of the Church:

With doors flung open

a place of sharing

all with all.


St.Thomas, St Thomas Mount

He comes

that we might live

to dream with daring,

and pray with hope

for a potency that creates

into reality a decent life for all…..

Christ – He comes….



Karol – “He Comes”

Almighty and eternal God, who, for the firmer foundation of our faith, allowed your holy apostle Thomas to doubt the resurrection of your Son till word and sight convinced him: grant to us, who have not seen, that we also may believe and so confess Christ as our Lord and our God; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Pilgrims on Saint Thomas Mount



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