Thomas the Apostle (Biblical Hebrew: תוּמָא הקדוש; Ancient Greek: Θωμᾶς; Coptic: ⲑⲱⲙⲁⲥ; Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ Ṯaumā s̲h̲liḥā (Thoma Sheliha); also called Didymus ("twin"), was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament.
Thomas is commonly known as "Doubting Thomas" because he doubted Jesus' resurrection when first told of it (as related in the Gospel of John alone); later, he confessed his faith, "My Lord and my God," on seeing Jesus' crucifixion wounds.
Traditionally, Thomas is believed to have travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamilakam which are the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in present-day India. According to tradition, Thomas reached Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 52  and converted several people, founding what today are known as Saint Thomas Christians or Mar Thoma Nazranis. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Ortona, in Abruzzo, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thoma remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India.
Saint Thomas the Apostle
Saint Thomas the Apostle
|Apostle, preacher, Christian martyr|
|Born||1st century AD|
Galilee, Roman Empire (present-day Israel)
|Died||3 July AD 72|
Parangimalai, Chennai, Chola Empire (present-day St. Thomas Mount, Tamil Nadu, India)
|Venerated in||Assyrian Church of the East|
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
|Major shrine||St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica in Chennai, India|
Basilica of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, Italy
|Attributes||The Twin, placing his finger in the side of Christ, spear (means of his Christian martyrdom), square (his profession, a builder)|
|Patronage||India, Saint Thomas Christians, Sri Lanka, and Pula in Croatia|
Thomas first speaks in the Gospel of John. In John 11:16, when Lazarus had recently died, the apostles do not wish to go back to Judea, where some Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. Thomas says: "Let us also go, that we may die with him. (KJV)
Thomas speaks again in John 14:5. There, Jesus had just explained that he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for his followers, and that one day they would join him there. Thomas reacted by saying, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?"
John 20:24–29 tells how doubting Thomas was skeptical at first when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other apostles, saying, "Except I shall see on his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." But when Jesus appeared later and invited Thomas to touch his wounds and behold him, Thomas showed his belief by saying, "My Lord and my God". Jesus then said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed."
The name Thomas (Koine Greek: Θωμᾶς) given for the apostle in the New Testament is derived from the Aramaic תוּמָא or Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܡܐ Taumā/Toma, equivalently from Hebrew תֵאוֹם Teom, meaning "twin". The equivalent term for twin in Greek, which is also used in the New Testament, is Δίδυμος Didymos.
The Nag Hammadi copy of the Gospel of Thomas begins: "These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos, Judas Thomas, recorded." Early Syrian traditions also relate the apostle's full name as Judas Thomas. Some have seen in the Acts of Thomas (written in east Syria in the early 3rd century, or perhaps as early as the first half of the 2nd century) an identification of Saint Thomas with the apostle Judas, Son of James, better known in English as Jude. However, the first sentence of the Acts follows the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in distinguishing the apostle Thomas and the apostle Judas son of James. Others, such as James Tabor, identify him as Judah, the brother of Jesus mentioned by Mark. In the Book of Thomas the Contender, part of the Nag Hammadi library, he is alleged to be a twin to Jesus: "Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…"
A "Doubting Thomas" is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience—a reference to the Apostle Thomas, due to his refusal to believe the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.
When the feast of Saint Thomas was inserted in the Roman calendar in the 9th century, it was assigned to 21 December. The Martyrology of St. Jerome mentioned the apostle on 3 July, the date to which the Roman celebration was transferred in 1969, so that it would no longer interfere with the major ferial days of Advent. 3 July was the day on which his relics were translated from Mylapore, a place along the coast of the Marina Beach, Chennai (Madras) in India, to the city of Edessa in Mesopotamia. Traditionalist Roman Catholics (who follow the General Roman Calendar of 1960 or earlier) and many Anglicans (including members of the Episcopal Church as well as members of the Church of England and the Lutheran Church, who worship according to the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer), still celebrate his feast day on 21 December. However, most modern liturgical calendars (including the Common Worship calendar of the Church of England) prefer 3 July.
The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches celebrate his feast day on 6 October (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian calendar, 6 October currently falls on 19 October of the modern Gregorian calendar). In addition, the next Sunday of the Easter (Pascha) is celebrated as the Sunday of Thomas, in commemoration of Thomas' question to Jesus, which led him to proclaim, according to Orthodox teaching, two natures of Jesus, both human and divine. Thomas is commemorated in common with all of the other apostles on 30 June (13 July), in a feast called the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles. He is also associated with the "Arabian" (or "Arapet") icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God), which is commemorated on 6 September (19 September). The Malankara Orthodox church celebrates his feast on three days, 3 July (in memory of the relic translation to Edessa), 18 December (the Day he was lanced), and 21 December (when he died).
The Passing of Mary, adjudged heretical by Pope Gelasius I in 494, was attributed to Joseph of Arimathea. The document states that Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial, he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle. In an inversion of the story of Thomas' doubts, the other apostles are skeptical of Thomas' story until they see the empty tomb and the girdle. Thomas' receipt of the girdle is commonly depicted in medieval and pre-Tridentine Renaissance art, the apostle's infamous doubting reduced to a metaphorical knot in the Bavarian baroque Mary Untier of Knots.
Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to India in AD 52 (but there is evidence of his being in Taxila in AD 43, where he did not have success) to spread the Christian faith, and is believed to have landed at the port of Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in modern-day Kerala state) where there was a Jewish community at the time.  The port was destroyed in 1341 by a massive flood that realigned the coasts. He is believed by the Saint Thomas Christian tradition to have established seven churches (communities) in Kerala. These churches are at Kodungallur, Palayoor, Kottakkavu (Paravur), Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Nilackal (Chayal), Kollam and Thiruvithamcode (half church). Thomas baptized several families, namely Pakalomattom, Sankarapuri, Thayyil, Payyappilly, Kalli, Kaliyankal, Pattamukku. Other families claim to have origins almost as far back as these and the religious historian Robert Eric Frykenberg notes that "Whatever dubious historicity may be attached to such local traditions, there can be little doubt as to their great antiquity or to their great appeal in popular imagination".
It was to a land of dark people he was sent, to clothe them by Baptism in white robes. His grateful dawn dispelled India's painful darkness. It was his mission to espouse India to the One-Begotten. The merchant is blessed for having so great a treasure. Edessa thus became the blessed city by possessing the greatest pearl India could yield. Thomas works miracles in India, and at Edessa Thomas is destined to baptize peoples perverse and steeped in darkness, and that in the land of India.— Hymns of Saint Ephrem, edited by Lamy (Ephr. Hymni et Sermones, IV).
Eusebius of Caesarea quotes Origen (died mid-3rd century) as having stated that Thomas was the apostle to the Parthians, but Thomas is better known as the missionary to India through the Acts of Thomas, perhaps written as late as c. 200. In Edessa, where his remains were venerated, the poet Saint Ephrem (died 373) wrote a hymn in which the Devil cries,
... Into what land shall I fly from the just?
I stirred up Death the Apostles to slay, that by their death I might escape their blows.
But harder still am I now stricken: the Apostle I slew in India has overtaken me in Edessa; here and there he is all himself.
There went I, and there was he: here and there to my grief I find him.— quoted in Medlycott 1905, ch. ii.
St. Ephrem, a doctor of Syriac Christianity, writes in the forty-second of his "Carmina Nisibina" that the Apostle was put to death in India, and that his remains were subsequently buried in Edessa, brought there by an unnamed merchant.
A Syrian ecclesiastical calendar of an early date confirms the above and gives the merchant a name. The entry reads: "3 July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in 'India'. His body is in Urhai (Edessa) having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. A great festival."
A long public tradition in Edessa honoring Thomas as the "Apostle of India" resulted in several surviving hymns, that are attributed to Ephrem, copied in codices of the 8th and 9th centuries. References in the hymns preserve the tradition that Thomas' bones were brought from India to Edessa by a merchant, and that the relics worked miracles both in India and Edessa. A pontiff assigned his feast day and a king and a queen erected his shrine. The Thomas traditions became embodied in Syriac liturgy, thus they were universally credited by the Christian community there. There is a legend that Thomas had met the biblical Magi on his way to India.
According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia and India. The Didascalia (dating from the end of the 3rd century) states, "India and all countries condering it, even to the farthest seas... received the apostolic ordinances from Judas Thomas, who was a guide and ruler in the church which he built." Moreover, there is a wealth of confirmatory information in the Syriac writings, liturgical books, and calendars of the Church of the East, not to mention the writings of the Fathers, the calendars, the sacramentaries, and the martyrologies of the Roman, Greek and Ethiopian churches.
An early 3rd-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas connects the apostle's Indian ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to one of the legends in the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and said,
Fear not, Thomas. Go away to India and proclaim the Word, for my grace shall be with you." But the Apostle still demurred, so the Lord overruled the stubborn disciple by ordering circumstances so compelling that he was forced to accompany an 'Indian' merchant, Abbanes, as a slave to his native place in northwest 'India', where he found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian king, Gondophares. According to the Acts of Thomas, the apostle's ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.
Remains of some of his buildings, influenced by Greek architecture, indicate that he was a great builder. According to the legend, Thomas was a skilled carpenter and was bidden to build a palace for the king. However, the Apostle decided to teach the king a lesson by devoting the royal grant to acts of charity and thereby laying up treasure for the heavenly abode. Although little is known of the immediate growth of the church, Bar-Daisan (154–223) reports that in his time there were Christian tribes in India which claimed to have been converted by Thomas and to have books and relics to prove it. But at least by the year of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India (Afghanistan and Baluchistan), with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.
Aside from a small remnant of the Church of the East in Kurdistan, the only other church to maintain a distinctive identity is the Saint Thomas Christian congregations along the Kerala in southwest India. According to the most ancient tradition of this church, Thomas evangelized this area and then crossed to the Coromandel Coast of southeast India, where, after carrying out a second mission, he died at Chennai. Throughout the period under review, the church in India was under the jurisdiction of Edessa, which was then under the Mesopotamian patriarchate at Seleucia-Ctesiphon and later at Baghdad and Mosul. Historian Vincent A. Smith says, "It must be admitted that a personal visit of the Apostle Thomas to South India was easily feasible in the traditional belief that he came by way of Socotra, where an ancient Christian settlement undoubtedly existed. I am now satisfied that the Christian church of South India is extremely ancient...".
Thomas is believed to have left northwest India when invasion threatened and traveled by vessel to the Malabar Coast, possibly visiting southeast Arabia and Socotra en route, and landing at the former flourishing port of Muziris (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor) (c. 50 AD) in the company of a Jewish merchant Abbanes (Hebban). From there he is said to have preached the gospel throughout the Malabar coast. The various churches he founded were located mainly on the Periyar River and its tributaries and along the coast, where there were Jewish colonies. In accordance with apostolic custom, Thomas ordained teachers and leaders or elders, who were reported to be the earliest ministry of the Malabar Church.
According to Syrian Christian tradition, Saint Thomas was allegedly murdered at St.Thomas Mount, in Chennai, in 72 A.D July 3rd,and his body was interred in Mylapore. Ephrem the Syrian states that the Apostle was martyred in India, and that his relics were taken then to Edessa. This is the earliest known record of his martyrdom.
The records of Barbosa from early 16th century inform that the tomb was then maintained by a Muslim who kept a lamp burning there.:237 The San Thome Basilica Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India presently located at the tomb was first built in the 16th century by the Portuguese and rebuilt in the 19th century. St. Thomas Mount has been a revered site by Hindus, Muslims and Christians since at least the 16th century.:31
Ancient oral tradition retained by the Guaraní tribes of Paraguay claims that Tomé Marangatu (The Good Thomas) or Paí Thome (Father Thomas), one of the twelve apostles, lived among the natives preaching the Gospel and doing miracles in the name of Jesus Christ. According to the Austrian missionary and writer, F.J. Martin Dobrizhoffer, who spoke with the warlord of the tribe:
..The Warlord (Cacique) said to me: "We don't need for priests, because Holy Father Thomé (Thomas the Apostle) walked on our homeland himself, and he taught us about the Truth, praying for us in the name of Jesus Christ.
Dobrizhoffer believed that it was "almost impossible" for that legend to be truthful, although "with the guidance of the Almighty Power of God", there was a chance for Thomas the Apostle to have arrived in Paraguayan lands.
Almost 150 years prior to Dobrizhoffer's arrival to Paraguay, another Jesuit Missionary, F.J. Antonio Ruiz de Montoya recollected the same oral traditions from the Paraguayan tribes. In a very famous book he wrote:
...The paraguayan tribes they have this very curious tradition. They claim that a very holy man (Thomas the Apostle himself), whom they call "Paí Thome", lived amongst them and preached to them the Holy Truth, wandering and carrying a wooden cross on his back.
Despite all these legends and traditions, no credible evidence exists about Saint Thomas the Apostle and his alleged journey to Paraguay and neighboring lands.
The sole recorded research done about the subject was during José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia's reign after the Independence of Paraguay. This is mentioned by Franz Wisner von Morgenstern, an Austro-Hungarian engineer who served in the Paraguayan armies prior and during the Paraguayan War. According to Von Morgenstern, some Paraguayan miners while working nearby some hills at the Caaguazú Department found some stones with ancient letters carved in them. Dictator Francia sent his finest experts to inspect those stones, and they concluded that the letters carved in those stones were Hebrew-like symbols, but they couldn't translate them nor figure out the exact date when those letters were carved. No further recorded investigations exists, and according to Wisner, people believed that the letters were made by Saint Thomas the Apostle, following the tradition.
Traditional accounts say that the Apostle Thomas preached not only in Kerala but also in other parts of Southern India – and a few relics are still kept at San Thome Basilica in Chennai, Mylapore, India. Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller and author of Description of the World, popularly known as Il Milione, is reputed to have visited Southern India in 1288 and 1292. The first date has been rejected as he was in China at the time, but the second date is generally accepted. He also stopped at Quilon (Kollam) on the western Malabar Coast of India, where he met Syrian Christians and recorded their tradition of Saint Thomas and his tomb on the eastern Coromandel Coast of the country. Il Milione, the book he dictated on his return to Europe, was on its publication condemned by the Church as a collection of impious and improbable traveller's tales. It became very popular reading in medieval Europe and inspired Spanish and Portuguese sailors to seek out the fabulous (and possibly Christian) India described in it.
According to tradition, in 232 AD, the greater portion of relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to have been sent by an Indian king and brought from Mylapore to the city of Edessa, Mesopotamia, on which occasion his Syriac Acts were written.
The Indian king is named as "Mazdai" in Syriac sources, "Misdeos" and "Misdeus" in Greek and Latin sources respectively, which has been connected to the "Bazdeo" on the Kushan coinage of Vasudeva I, the transition between "M" and "B" being a current one in Classical sources for Indian names. The martyrologist Rabban Sliba dedicated a special day to both the Indian king, his family, and St Thomas:
Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huisque mater Tertia (Coronation of Thomas the Apostle, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia) Rabban Sliba
In the 4th century, the martyrium erected over his burial place brought pilgrims to Edessa. In the 380s, Egeria described her visit in a letter she sent to her community of nuns at home (Itineraria Egeriae):
We arrived at Edessa in the Name of Christ our God, and, on our arrival, we straightway repaired to the church and memorial of saint Thomas. There, according to custom, prayers were made and the other things that were customary in the holy places were done; we read also some things concerning saint Thomas himself. The church there is very great, very beautiful and of new construction, well worthy to be the house of God, and as there was much that I desired to see, it was necessary for me to make a three days' stay there.
According to Saint Theodoret of Cyrrhus, the bones of Saint Thomas were transferred by Cyrus, Bishop of Edessa, from the martyrium outside of Edessa to a church in the south-west corner of the city on 22 August 394.
In 522 AD, Cosmas Indicopleustes (called the Alexandrian) visited the Malabar Coast. He is the first traveller who mentions Syrian Christians in Malabar, in his book Christian Topography. He mentions that in the town of "Kalliana" (Quilon or Kollam) there was a bishop who had been consecrated in Persia.
The reputed relics of St. Thomas remained at Edessa until they were translated to Chios in 1258. Some portion of the relics were later transported to the West, and now rest in the Cathedral of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, Italy. However, the skull of Thomas is said to be at Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the Greek island of Patmos.
Ortona's three galleys reached the island of Chios in 1258, led by General Leone Acciaiuoli. Chios was considered the island where Saint Thomas, after the martyrdom in India, had been buried. A portion fought around the Peloponnese and the Aegean islands, the other in the sea lapping at the then Syrian coast. The three galleys of Ortona moved on the second front of the war and reached the island of Chios.
The tale is provided by Giambattista De Lectis, physician and writer of the 16th century of Ortona. After the looting, the navarca Ortona Leone went to pray in the main church of the island of Chios and was drawn to a chapel adorned and resplendent with lights. An elderly priest, through an interpreter informed him that in that oratory was venerated the Body of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Lion, filled with an unusual sweetness, gathered in deep prayer. At that moment a light hand twice invited him to come closer. The navarca Leone reached out and took a bone from the largest hole of the tombstone, on which were carved the Greek letters and a halo depicted a bishop from the waist up. He was the confirmation of what he had said the old priest and that you are indeed in the presence of the Apostle's body. He went back on the galley and planned the theft for the next night, along with fellow Ruggiero Grogno. They lifted the heavy gravestone and watched the underlying relics. The wrapped in snow-white cloths them laid in a wooden box (stored at Ortona to the looting of 1566) and brought them aboard the galley. Lion, then, along with other comrades, he returned again in the church, took the tombstone and took her away. Just the Chinardo admiral was aware of the precious cargo moved all the sailors of the Muslim faith on other ships and ordered him to take the route to Ortona.
He landed at the port of Ortona 6 September 1258. According to the story of De Lectis, he was informed the abbot Jacopo responsible for Ortona Church, which predispose full provision for hospitality felt and shared by all the people. Since then the body of the apostle and the gravestone are preserved in the crypt of the Basilica. In 1259 a parchment written in Bari by the court under John Peacock contracts, the presence of five witnesses, preserved in Ortona at the Diocesan Library, confirming the veracity of that event, reported, as mentioned, by Giambattista De Lectis, physician and writer Ortona of the 16th century.
The relics resisted both the Saracen looting of 1566, and the destruction of the Nazis in the famous battle of Ortona fought in late December 1943. The basilica was blown up because the belfry was considered a lookout point by the allies, coming by sea from San Vito Chietino. The relics, together with the treasure of Saint Thomas, were intended by the Germans to be sold, but the monks entombed them inside the bell tower, the only surviving part of the semi-ruined church.
The tombstone of Thomas, brought to Ortona from Chios along with the relics of the Apostle, is currently preserved in the crypt of St Thomas Basilica, behind the altar. The urn containing the bones instead is placed under the altar. It is the cover of a fake coffin, fairly widespread burial form in the early Christian world, as the top of a tomb of less expensive material. The plaque has an inscription and a bas-relief that refer, in many respects, to the Syro-Mesopotamian. Tombstone Thomas the Apostle on inclusion can be read, in Greek characters uncial, the expression 'osios thomas, that Saint Thomas. It can be dated from the point of view palaeographic and lexical to the 3rd–5th century, a time when the term osios is still used as a synonym of aghios in that holy is he that is in the grace of God and is inserted in the Church: the two vocabulary, therefore, indicate the Christians. In the particular case of Saint Thomas' plaque, then, the word osios can easily be the translation of the word Syriac mar (Lord), attributed in the ancient world, but also to the present day, is a saint to be a bishop.
The finger bones of Saint Thomas were discovered during restoration work at the Church of Saint Thomas in Mosul, Iraq in 1964, and were housed there until the Fall of Mosul, after which the relics were transferred to the Monastery of Saint Matthew on 17 June 2014.
A number of early Christian writings written during the centuries immediately following the first Ecumenical Council of 325 mention Thomas' mission.
The main source is the apocryphal Acts of Thomas, sometimes called by its full name The Acts of Judas Thomas, written circa 180–230 AD/CE, These are generally regarded by various Christian religions as apocryphal, or even heretical. The two centuries that lapsed between the life of the apostle and the recording of this work cast doubt on their authenticity.
According to the text, following the Ascension, the Apostles cast lots as to where each should go and Thomas drew India. A man named Habban recruited (or enslaved) Thomas to work as a builder and architect, on behalf of king Gondophares, the ruler of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom. The journey to India is described in detail. After a long period working at the royal court at ancient Taxila, Thomas ordained leaders for a church there.
He left in a chariot for a kingdom named Mazdai (possibly Muziris), in South India. The king, Misdeus (or Mizdeos), was infuriated when Thomas converted the queen Tertia, the king's son Juzanes, sister-in-law princess Mygdonia and her friend Markia. Misdeus led Saint Thomas outside the city and ordered four soldiers to take him to the nearby hill, where the soldiers speared Thomas and killed him. After Thomas' death, Syphorus was elected the first presbyter of Mazdai by the surviving converts, while Juzanes was the first deacon. (The names Misdeus, Tertia, Juzanes, Syphorus, Markia and Mygdonia (c.f. Mygdonia, a province of Mesopotamia) may suggest Greek descent or cultural influences. Greek traders had long visited Muziris. Greek kingdoms in northern India and Bactria, founded by Alexander the Great, were vassals of the Indo-Parthians.)
3rd century; Church represented: Syrian  "After the death of the Apostles there were Guides and Rulers in the Churches… They again at their deaths also committed and delivered to their disciples after them everything which they had received from the Apostles; … (also what) Judas Thomas (had written) from India".
India and all its own countries, and those bordering on it, even to the farther sea, received the Apostle's hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and Ruler in the Church which he built and ministered there". In what follows "the whole Persia of the Assyrians and Medes, and of the countries round about Babylon… even to the borders of the Indians and even to the country of Gog and Magog" are said to have received the Apostles' Hand of Priesthood from Aggaeus the disciple of Addaeus
3rd century (185–254?), quoted in Eusebius; Church represented: Alexandrian/ Greek Biographical. Christian Philosopher, b-Egypt, Origen taught with great acclaim in Alexandria and then in Caesarea. He is the first known writer to record the casting of lots by the Apostles. Origen's original work has been lost, but his statement about Parthia falling to Thomas has been preserved by Eusebius. "Origen, in the third chapter of his Commentary on Genesis, says that, according to tradition, Thomas's allotted field of labour was Parthia".
Eusebius of Caesarea: 4th century (died 340); Church Represented: Alexandrian/Greek Biographical  Quoting Origen, Eusebius says: "When the holy Apostles and disciples of our Saviour were scattered over all the world, Thomas, so the tradition has it, obtained as his portion Parthia…" "Judas, who is also called Thomas" has a role in the legend of king Abgar of Edessa (Urfa), for having sent Thaddaeus to preach in Edessa after the Ascension (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiae 1.13; III.1; Ephrem the Syrian also recounts this legend.)
Ephrem: 4th century; Church Represented: Syrian Biographical  Many devotional hymns composed by St. Ephraem bear witness to the Edessan Church's strong conviction concerning St. Thomas's Indian Apostolate. There the devil speaks of Saint Thomas as "the Apostle I slew in India". Also "The merchant brought the bones" to Edessa.
Another hymn eulogizing Saint Thomas reads "The bones the merchant hath brought". "In his several journeyings to India/ And thence on his return/ All riches/ which there he found/ Dirt in his eyes he did repute when to thy sacred bones compared". In yet another hymn Ephrem speaks of the mission of Thomas: "The earth darkened with sacrifices' fumes to illuminate", "a land of people dark fell to thy lot", "a tainted land Thomas has purified"; "India's dark night" was "flooded with light" by Thomas.
Gregory of Nazianzus: 4th century (died 389); Church Represented: Alexandrian. Biographical Note: Gregory of Nazianzus was born AD 330, consecrated a bishop by his friend St. Basil; in 372 his father, the Bishop of Nazianzus, induced him to share his charge. In 379 the people of Constantinople called him to be their bishop. By the Orthodox Church he is emphatically called "the Theologian". "What? were not the Apostles strangers amidst the many nations and countries over which they spread themselves? … Peter indeed may have belonged to Judea; but what had Paul in common with the gentiles, Luke with Achaia, Andrew with Epirus, John with Ephesus, Thomas with India, Mark with Italy?"
4th century (died 397); Church Represented: Western. Biographical Note: Saint Ambrose was thoroughly acquainted with the Greek and Latin Classics, and had a good deal of information on India and Indians. He speaks of the Gymnosophists of India, the Indian Ocean, the river Ganges etc., a number of times. "This admitted of the Apostles being sent without delay according to the saying of our Lord Jesus… Even those Kingdoms which were shut out by rugged mountains became accessible to them, as India to Thomas, Persia to Matthew..."
Saint Gregory of Tours (died 594) Saint Gregory's testimony: "Thomas the Apostle, according to the narrative of his martyrdom is stated to have suffered in India. His holy remains (corpus), after a long interval of time, were removed to the city of Edessa in Syria and there interred. In that part of India where they first rested, stand a monastery and a church of striking dimensions, elaborately adorned and designed. This Theodore, who had been to the place, narrated to us."
Let none read the gospel according to Thomas, for it is the work, not of one of the twelve apostles, but of one of Mani's three wicked disciples.— Cyril of Jerusalem, Cathechesis V (4th century)
In the first two centuries of the Christian era, a number of writings were circulated. It is unclear now why Thomas was seen as an authority for doctrine, although this belief is documented in Gnostic groups as early as the Pistis Sophia. In that Gnostic work, Mary Magdalene (one of the disciples) says:
Now at this time, my Lord, hear, so that I speak openly, for thou hast said to us "He who has ears to hear, let him hear:" Concerning the word which thou didst say to Philip: "Thou and Thomas and Matthew are the three to whom it has been given… to write every word of the Kingdom of the Light, and to bear witness to them"; hear now that I give the interpretation of these words. It is this which thy light-power once prophesied through Moses: "Through two and three witnesses everything will be established. The three witnesses are Philip and Thomas and Matthew"— Pistis Sophia 1:43
Besides the Acts of Thomas there was a widely circulated Infancy Gospel of Thomas probably written in the later 2nd century, and probably also in Syria, which relates the miraculous events and prodigies of Jesus' boyhood. This is the document which tells for the first time the familiar legend of the twelve sparrows which Jesus, at the age of five, fashioned from clay on the Sabbath day, which took wing and flew away. The earliest manuscript of this work is a 6th-century one in Syriac. This gospel was first referred to by Irenaeus; Ron Cameron notes: "In his citation, Irenaeus first quotes a non-canonical story that circulated about the childhood of Jesus and then goes directly on to quote a passage from the infancy narrative of the Gospel of Luke. Since the Infancy Gospel of Thomas records both of these stories, in relative close proximity to one another, it is possible that the apocryphal writing cited by Irenaeus is, in fact, what is now known as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Because of the complexities of the manuscript tradition, however, there is no certainty as to when the stories of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas began to be written down."
The best known in modern times of these documents is the "sayings" document that is being called the Gospel of Thomas, a noncanonical work whose date is disputed. The opening line claims it is the work of "Didymos Judas Thomas" – whose identity is unknown. This work was discovered in a Coptic translation in 1945 at the Egyptian village of Nag Hammadi, near the site of the monastery of Chenoboskion. Once the Coptic text was published, scholars recognized that an earlier Greek translation had been published from fragments of papyrus found at Oxyrhynchus in the 1890s.
In the 16th-century work Jornada, Antonio Gouvea writes of ornate crosses known as Saint Thomas Crosses. It is also known as Nasrani Menorah or Mar Thoma Sleeva. These crosses are believed to date from the 6th century as per the tradition and are found in a number of churches in Kerala, Mylapore and Goa. Jornada is the oldest known written document to refer to this type of cross as a St. Thomas Cross. Gouvea also writes about the veneration of the Cross at Cranganore, referring to the cross as "Cross of Christians". It is widely perceived as the symbol of Saint Thomas Christians.
There are several interpretations of the Nasrani symbol. The interpretation based on Christian Jewish tradition assumes that its design was based on Jewish menorah, an ancient symbol of the Hebrews, which consists of seven branched lamp stand (candelabra). The interpretation based on local culture states that the Cross without the figure of Jesus and with flowery arms symbolizing "joyfulness" points to the resurrection theology of Saint Paul; the Holy Spirit on the top represents the role of Holy Spirit in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The lotus symbolizing Buddhism and the Cross over it shows that Christianity was established in the land of Buddha. The three steps indicate Calvary and the rivulets, channels of Grace flowing from the Cross.
Bab Tuma (Arabic: باب توما, meaning: "Gate of Thomas") is a borough of the Old City of Damascus in Syria, one of the seven gates inside the historical walls of the city, and a geographic landmark of Early Christianity. It owes its name to Saint Thomas the Apostle, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. During the Roman era, the gate was dedicated to Venus.Blackburn, Victoria
Blackburn is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 17 kilometres (11 mi) east of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Whitehorse. At the 2011 Census, Blackburn had a population of 12,796.
The origin of the name Blackburn is not certain, but may have been after an early settler or James Blackburn, who designed Yan Yean Reservoir. It lies within the City of Whitehorse, in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.
Blackburn is bounded in the west by Middleborough Road, in the north by Springfield Road, in the east by an irregular line along streets to the east of Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and in the south by Canterbury Road.Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit
The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Detroit (Latin: Eparchia Sancti Thomas Apostoli Detroitensis Chaldaeorum) is the sole eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Chaldean Catholic Church sui iuris (Syro-Oriental Rite in Syriac/Aramaic languages) for half of the United States and is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See, not part of an ecclesiastical province.
Its cathedral episcopal see is Our Lady of Chaldeans Cathedral, located in Southfield, Michigan, United States.Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle of Sydney
The Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of Saint Thomas the Apostle is in Sydney, Australia, and is immediately subject to the Holy See. The bishop was formerly Djibrail Kassab, appointed in 2006. His bishopric currently sits as St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Church, Bossley Park, New South Wales.
Archbishop Kasab was based in Basrah Iraq before he was posted to Oceania. In 2015, he was succeeded by Amel Shamon Nona.
As of 2014, the eparchy contains 35,000 Catholics. Nine priests serve a total of seven parishes.Infancy Gospel of Thomas
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a biographical gospel about the childhood of Jesus, believed to date latest to the 2nd century or earlier. It does not form part of the biblical canon in any form of Christianity.
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is thought to be Gnostic in origin. Later references (by Hippolytus of Rome and Origen of Alexandria) to a "Gospel of Thomas", are more likely to be referring to this Infancy Gospel, than to the wholly different Gospel of Thomas with which it is sometimes confused.Early Christians regarded the Infancy Gospel of Thomas as inauthentic and heretical. Hipploytus identified it as a fake and a heresy in his Refutation of All Heresies, and his contemporary Origen referred to it in a similar way in a homily written in the early 3rd century. Eusebius rejected it as a heretical "fiction" in the third book of his 4th-century Church History, and Pope Gelasius I included it in his list of heretical books in the 5th century.
While non-canonical in Christianity, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains many miracles and stories of Jesus referenced in the Qur'an, like Jesus giving life to clay birds.Mylapore
Mylapore (Mayilāppūr) is a neighborhood in the central part of the city of Chennai, India. It is one of the oldest residential parts of the city. It is also called Thirumayilai. The locality is known for its being the birthplace of the celebrated Tamil philosopher Valluvar. The place is also the resting place of St.Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Mylapore is known for its tree-lined avenues, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Katcheri seasons and Ramakrishna Math among many others. Portuguese invaded and demolished the original Kapaleeshwarar Temple and built San Thome Basilica which houses the tomb of Thomas the Apostle.Saint Thomas the Apostle Church (Connecticut)
St. Thomas the Apostle is a Roman Catholic church in Norwalk, Connecticut, part of the Diocese of Bridgeport. The Parish of St. Thomas the Apostle was established in 1935.St. Thomas the Apostle's Church (Detroit, Michigan)
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church was a church located at 8363 and 8383 Townsend Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, but was subsequently demolished.St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church (Los Angeles)
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic church and parish in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region. The church faces Pico Boulevard at 2727 W. Pico Blvd in the Pico Union section of Los Angeles, California. The Mission Revival style church was built in 1904.St Thomas' Church, Halliwell
St Thomas' Church is in Eskrick Street, Halliwell, a residential area of Bolton, Greater Manchester, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Bolton, the archdeaconry of Bolton, and the diocese of Manchester. Its benefice is united with those of five other local churches to form the Benefice of West Bolton. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.St Thomas the Apostle, Hanwell
St Thomas the Apostle is a Church of England church, which is situated along Boston Road in Hanwell, in the London Borough of Ealing. Designed by Sir Edward Maufe, It forms part of the Diocese of London and can hold 428 people. English Heritage has listed it as a Grade II* building.St Thomas the Apostle, London
St Thomas the Apostle was a parish church in Knightrider Street in the City of London. In existence by the late twelfth century, it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and not rebuilt.St Thomas the Apostle College
St. Thomas the Apostle School and Sixth Form College is an Outstanding Roman Catholic secondary school for boys in Nunhead, London. A co-educational Sixth Form was opened in 2015.
The school has been extensively rebuilt and the new school building was opened by the Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, in January 2013, to provide modern teaching spaces and updated facilities. The original Catholic chapel, an important feature in the life of the school, was retained and is the focus for the Catholic and pastoral life of the students.
The Headteacher is Mr. Eamon Connolly, formerly Vice Principal of Mossbourne Academy. Mr. Serge Cefai (Principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School, Camberwell) is Executive Headteacher. Mr Connolly was appointed Headteacher with effect from September 2012.
In August 2013, St Thomas the Apostle College achieved its – up until then – best ever GCSE results, recording 73% A*-C, including English & Maths. In 2013, St Thomas the Apostle College was one of the most improved schools in the UK and among the best in the London Borough of Southwark.
In August 2014, St Thomas the Apostle College achieved its – then – best ever GCSE results, recording 75% A*-C, including English & Maths, retaining its position among the best in Southwark. Under the new senior leadership team put in place by Mr Connolly and Mr Cefai from September 2012, the Ofsted inspection carried out an inspection on 27 and 28 November 2014 which rated the College "Outstanding" in every category.In September 2015, St Thomas the Apostle College expanded its provision by opening a co-educational Sixth Form.
2016 saw the school's best ever GCSE results (82% 5A*-C including English and Maths), continuing a trend of ever-improving results. In addition, 2016 saw the introduction of the Government's new Progress 8 measure showing the progress of students during their time in school. St Thomas the apostle College achieved a phenomenal Progress 8 figure of +0.91, ranking St Thomas the Apostle College 11th in all (Boys, Girls and Mixed) non-selective schools in the UK by the DfE; it was ranked 1st in the UK among Boys non-selective schools. St Thomas the Apostle College has again maintained its spectacular results with +0.88 in the 2017 Progress 8 rankings, ranking it 2nd in the UK among Boys non-selective schools.
The achievements of Eamon Connolly and Serge Cefai with the support of their senior leaders was recognised in 2017 with St Thomas the Apostle being named TES Secondary School of the Year; Eamon Connolly's own personal contributions were recognised with a Silver Award in Pearson's "Headteacher of the Year" awards.St Thomas the Apostle Rural
St Thomas the Apostle Rural, also known as St Thomas-by-Launceston (Cornish: Sen Tommos Lannstefan) is a civil parish in east Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is centred on the village of Tregadillett (Cornish: Tregadylet) and is in the Registration District of Launceston.
The parish lies to the west of the town of Launceston. It is bounded to the east by Launceston St Mary Magdelene, to the south by South Petherwin, to the west by Trewen, and to the north by Egloskerry and St Stephen-by-Launceston. The population of the parish in the 2001 census was 815. The district falls within the Altarnun civil ward but at the 2011 Census the parish population had increased only slightly to 836.In the 19th century, the parish of St Thomas the Apostle was split into rural and urban parts, the urban part being incorporated into Launceston. Thus the population in the 1891 census is given as 352 (urban) and 924 (rural).Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Melbourne
The St. Thomas the Apostle Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Melbourne is an eparchy (Eastern Catholic diocese) of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church sui iuris in Australia. The eparchy, established in 2014, is the second eparchy of the Syro-Malabar Church outside India, after the Eparchy of Chicago, and it has jurisdiction over Syro-Malabar Catholics in the entirety of Australia.
It is not part of any ecclesiastical province, but immediately subject to the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and depends on the Roman Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Its ordinary is also appointed permanent Apostolic Visitator for the Syro-Malabar Catholics in New Zealand, where they have no proper jurisdiction.
Its future cathedral episcopal see is the Cathedral of St. Alphonsa in Melbourne, Victoria.Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of St. Thomas of Chicago
The St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Chicago is an Eastern Catholic eparchy for Syro-Malabar Catholics in the United States. The eparchy, established in 2001, is one of the three eparchies of the Syro-Malabar Church outside India, and it has jurisdiction over Syro-Malabar Catholics in the entire US. It is based in Chicago, Illinois.The Incredulity of Saint Thomas (Salviati)
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas is a 1543–1547 painting by Francesco Salviati. It was commissioned for the église Notre-Dame-de-Confort in Lyon by Thomas II de Gadagne (also known as Tomaso Guadagni), a Florentine counselor to Francis I of France. It is now held in the Louvre Museum and measures 275 cm by 234 cm. It is signed FRANCESCO SALVIATO FLO. OPUS (S.B.D.) and the apostle shown in three-quarter-profile is a self-portrait of Salviati.Its choice of subject reflects an anti-Medici political viewpoint shared by commissioner and artist. The work proved popular from its arrival in Lyon onwards and was copied by several artists in several media, including an engraving by Master CC. Even after art history began to neglect art produced in and for Lyon, the painting was one of few such works still to be mentioned - for example, it appears in Giorgio Vasari's Lives.Thomas (name)
Thomas is recorded in the Greek New Testament as the name of Thomas the Apostle (one of the twelve apostles of Jesus). It is ultimately derived from the Aramaic personal name תאומא /tɑʔwmɑʔ/, meaning "twin," and the English spelling Thomas is a transliteration of the Greek Θωμάς.
New Testament people
† Recognized as a prophet. ‡Status as a prophet is not universally recognized
of the East
|West Syriac, legacy of |
the Patriarchate of Antioch
Saint Thomas Christians
|East Syriac, legacy of|
the Church of the East
(the "Nestorian Church")
|Saint Thomas Christians,|
the Malankara Church