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The Holy Bible does not give any details regarding the Acts of Apostle Thomas. It does not even mention Thomas except as one of the disciples. It gives only the implantation of the gospel in the Congresswoman culture. But it came as a surprise as I entered into writing the acts of Thomas to find a wealth of historical details and archealogical evidences to the vast ministry of Apostle Thomas.
Compared to Paul and Peter, Thomas’ mission covered a larger region and a variety of alien and unfamiliar cultures. This study I hope will only be the beginning. Thomas indeed penetrated the innermost regions and sealed his preaching with a passion unmatched by any other.
The journey of Thomas had been a close
parallel to my life journey. Thomas started as a scientist who refused to
accept anything without evidence. But the historical reality of resurrection
changed him completely. When I left
« My Face now is engraved in you, remain in this world of darkness to guide and delight the eyes that are lost there. Bear witness to my Truth! »
Mrs. Ponnamma Ninan
After we have published this in 2011, more details of the mission of Thomas has come up which requires additional chapters and some minor changes in the rest of the book. I have to rely on other scholars and was forced to include them with portions that are directly quoted by them. One problem was to follow a sequence which was followed by the Apostle Thomas. This in itself was often not possible since there is no dating and the duration are often conflicting and cannot be taken for granted. Hence these problems may still be there in the book, I have tried to present the mission of the Apostle as best and in detail as possible. To this I am indebted to hundreds of scholars and the internet. I have tried my best to acknowledge every one.
Thomas himself was a magi - magician - wiseman-
a scientist. As such the whole story seems to indicate that he was to baptize
the wisemen who came to
“This image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was painted by St. Luke.
It was carried by St. Thomas the Apostle to
It is kept at the main altar in the Church
of Mount St. Thomas in
the place where St.Thomas was martyred.
Three Gospels recount the names of the twelve Apostles in almost same order:
·Matthew 10:1-4 reads: “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
·Mark 3:13-19 reads: “13 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. 14 He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach 15 and to have authority to drive out demons. 16 These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter 17 James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
·Luke 6:12-16 states, “ 12 One of those days, Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: 14 Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, 15 Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
Thomas in Hebrew
means "The Twin". So he was also known as "Didymus" which
meant 'The Twin' in Greek. It obviously implies that Thomas was the twin
brother of some other known per-son. His real name was Judas. Judas
(Greek: Ιούδας) is the anglicized Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Yehudah (Hebrew:
הְיוּהָד. Since there are so many persons with the common name Yehuda (
lSaint Thomas and Doubting Thomas
lJudas Iscariot, the apostle of Jesus Christ who betrayed him
lJudas Thaddaeus, son of James, one of the twelve apostles
lSaint Jude, a brother, stepbrother, or half-brother, to Jesus
lSaint Jude, who some traditions think is Judas Thomas Didymus
lSimon the Zealot, the apostle named Simon that was not Simon Peter
The Gnostics considers Thomas as the twin brother of Jesus. We have no evidence for this in the Bible. No, Mary did not give birth to two Children, Matthew 1:18-23. It also has the problem of a twin being conceived in Mary by Holy Spirit making Thomas also God incarnate. Jesus Christ is the Father's only begotten Son, John 3:16-17.
The Book of
Thomas the Contender, found in the Nag Hammadi library, Jesus says: others
believe that Adai whom Thomas send to King Abgar of
"Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself…" Thomas probably looked like Jesus and so people called him the Twin. Still others consider that his attitude of rationality and interpretation corresponded a spiritual reflection of Jesus.
It has been conjectured that Thomas was the twin brother of Matthew, Some legends make Thomas the twin of James
What was his real name? All tradition ascribes the name Judas Thomas which makes his real name as Jude or Judas. In the lists of the apostles Thomas is always mentioned along with Matthew, who was the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18), and that these two are always followed by James, who was also the son of Alphaeus. Hence it may be assumed that these three, Matthew, Thomas, and James, were brothers.
Syriac tradition claims that Thomas was the son of Cephas who was the brother of Joseph, thus making him the first cousin of Jesus.
Even though the
references to Thomas are few, they are sufficient to give us insight into this
great rationalist scientist. Once committed he was willing to die for the
cause. So when Jesus was planning to return to
John 11:16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
When Jesus began to speak of a heavenly abode, Thomas wanted a clearer explanation of where, when and how?
John 14:2-6 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Thomas is also known as "The Doubting Thomas", because he demanded an objective proof of evidence for resurrection.
Thomas was the first disciple who confessed and acknowledged, Jesus as "My God and My Lord"
This indeed was the first time anyone ever recognized Jesus as God. Not even Peter ever came close to this realization even after the Mount of Transfiguration.
John 20:24 -29 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
THOMAS WORLD’S FIRST CHRISTIAN
In terms of Rom. 10:10 Thomas may be considered as the first Christian and was saved .
Rom 10:10 For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.
In this sense Thomas indeed was the Twin of all the rationalists and scientists who stand up and shout loud “We demand evidence”
In all these Thomas is presented as a rational scientist who demanded evidence. He came to Bhakthi (faith) through Jnana (Knowledge) and then went on to his business as a Karma (Action) yogi thus fully encompassing the dimensions of Spirit, Mind and Body.
JNANA YOGA - realization through Knowledge, objective scientific verification of truth BHAKTHI YOGA - realization through Devotion (commitment).
KARMA YOGA - realization through Action,
In this sense Thomas indeed was the Twin of those who were like me rationalists and scientifically minded. We thank him for his incredulity that he may beget children of courage and absolute confidence.
« Because you see Me, you touch Me, and You kiss Me, Thomas, you are happy, you believe again, truly! Even happier and forever blessed are they who, in your midst, have believed without having seen… My Face now engraved in you, remains in this world of darkness to guide and delight the eyes that are lost there. Bear witness to my Truth! »
(Abbé Georges de Nantes, The Kiss of the Disciple)
was an international experience. Jews from many nations were in
This was most probably in AD 30 - at any rate sometime between 29 and 33 AD giving all the uncertainty of dating.
In modern times Thomas had received the nickname “Doubting Thomas” and this phrase is even used today to describe someone who doubts what they are told.
The nickname arose because after Jesus had risen from the dead the other disciples told Thomas that they had seen the Lord alive. But Thomas doubted their words and said “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” (John. 20:25).
A week later Jesus appeared to the disciples and this time Thomas was with them. Jesus said to Thomas “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe.” (John. 20:27).
A lot of the
other disciples had moments of doubt, remember Peter sinking into the water
after walking upon it toward Jesus. He became afraid and doubted. Nathanael
doubted that the Messiah could ever come from such an insignificant town as
Well Thomas had
good qualities as well. After Lazarus had gotten sick and died Jesus said to
the disciples “lets go back to
want to go because the last time they were there the Jews tried to kill Jesus.
But Thomas was not afraid he bravely spoke up and said “Let us go with him, so that we may die with him.” (John. 11:16).
Maybe he should have had the nickname “Courageous Thomas” Instead!
Thomas was with the other Apostles at Christ’s ascension and was gathered with them in the upper room in Acts 1:13. After this the Bible tells us nothing else about Thomas.
Scientist Thomas= Magi Thomas
Make sure your assumptions are correct And the results are repeatable.
« Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. » (Rm 10:18)
Alexandria (ca. 185-254) writes that the apostles divided up the work of
evangelizing the world between them. He mentions “Thomas was assigned
the countries among them, in order that each one of them might preach in the region which fell to him and in the place to which his Lord sent him."
“At that time we the apostles were all in Jerusalem— Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the tax-gatherer; James of Alphæus and Simon the Cananæan; and Judas of James; — and we portioned out the regions of the world, in order that each one of us might go into the region that fell to him, and to the nation to which the Lord sent him”
Here is the allocation as finally declared by Apostle Peter:
230.Saint Peter then continued:
of Christ, our dearest brother Andrew, will follow his Master preaching his
faith in the Scythian provinces of Europe,
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother James the greater, will follow his Master preaching the faith in Judea, in Samaria and in Spain; thence he shall return in order to preach the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ in this city of Jerusalem.”
“The most dear brother John shall obey the will of our Savior and Master as made known to him from the Cross, discharging the duties of a son toward our great Mother and Mistress. He shall serve Her and assist Her with filial reverence and
shall administer to Her the sacred mysteries of the Eucharist and shall also
take care of the faithful in
And when our God
and Redeemer shall have taken into heaven his most blessed Mother, he shall
follow his Master in the preaching of the faith in Asia Minor, governing the
churches there established from the
“The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians, Mecles, Hircanians,
Brahmans, Bactrians. He shall baptize the three Magi Kings and, as they shall be attracted by the rumor of his preaching and his miracles, he shall instruct them fully in all things according to their expectations.”
“The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother James, shall follow his Master in his office of
pastor and bishop of
of Christ, our dearest brother Philip, shall follow his Master preaching and
teaching in the provinces Phrygia and Scythia of Asia, and in the city called
“The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother Bartholornew, shall follow his Master preaching in
Lycaonia, part of Cappadocia in Asia; and he shall go to further
“The servant of Christ,
our dearest brother Matthew, shall first teach the Hebrews, and go to further
“The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother Matthew, shall first teach the Hebrews, and then
shall follow his Master, preaching in
“The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother Simon, shall follow his Master preaching in
“The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother Judas Thaddeus, shall follow our Master, preaching
in Mesopotamia, and afterwards shall join Simon to preach in
The servant of
Christ, our dearest brother Mathias, shall follow our Master, preaching his
holy faith in the interior of
And may the Spirit of God accompany us all, govern and assist us, so that in all places we fulfill his holy and perfect will, and may He give us his benediction, in whose name I now give it to all.”
What Happenned to the disciples?
crucified head down in
2.Andrew was bound to death. He preached until his death in 74 A.D.
3.James , son of
Zebedee, was beheaded in
5.Phillip was crucified at Heirapole, Phryga, 52 A.D.
beaten, crucified, then beheaded by the command of a king, 52 A.D. 7.Thomas was
run through by a lance at Corehandal,
slain by the sword in the city of
9.James son of Alphaeus, was thrown from a pinnacle, then beaten to death, 60 A.D.
10.Thaddeus was shot to death by arrows, 72 A.D.
The Acts of Judas Thomas opens with the following passage :-
And when all the Apostles had been for a time in Jerusalem-Simon Cephas and Andrew and Jacob (James) and John and Philip and Bartholomew and Thomas and Matthew the publican and Jacob (James) the son of Alpheus and Simon the Kananite and Judas the son of Jacob (James)-they divided the countries among them, in order that each one of them might preach in the region which fell to him and in the place to which his Lord sent him.
And he was not willing to go, saying, " I have not strength enough for this, because I am weak. And 1 am a Hebrew: how can I teach the Indians?" and while Judas was reasoning thus, our Lord appeared to him in a vision of the night and said to him : " Fear not, Thomas, because my grace is with thee."
But he would not
be persuaded at all, saying : "Whithersoever Thou wilt, our Lord, send me;
And as Judas was reasoning thus, a certain merchant, an Indian, happened (to come) into the south country from --, whose name was Habban, and he was sent by the King Gidnaphar, that he might bring to him a skilful carpenter. And our Lord saw him walking in the street, and said to him :
"Thou wishest to buy a carpenter? " He saith to him "Yes."
Our Lord said to him, "I have a slave. a carpenter. whom I will sell to thee." And he showed him Thomas at a *distance, and bargained with him for twenty (pieces) of silver (as) his price, and wrote a bill of sale thus:
" I, Jesus,
the son of Joseph the carpenter. from the
And when they had completed his bill of sale, Jesus took Judas and went to Habbiin the merchant. And Habban saw him and said to him: "Is this thy master ? "
Judas saith to him : "Yes, he is my master."
Habban the merchant saith to him : " He has sold thee to me outright." and Judas was silent.
And in the morning he arose and prayed and entreated of his Lord, and said to Him : " Lord, our Lord, as Thou wilt, let Thy will be (done)." And he went to Habbin the merchant, without carrying anythlng with him except that price of his, for our Lord had given it to him. And Judas went and found Habban the merchant carrying his goods on board the ship and he began to carry (them) on board with him.'
“Thomas (Didymus): Notable for his initial incredulity regarding the Resurrection and his subsequent forthright confession of the divinity of Christ risen from the dead; according to legend, preached the Gospel in places from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf and eventualy reached India where he was martyred near Madras; Thomas Christians trace their origin to him; in art, is depicted knelling before the risen Christ, or with a carpenter's rule and square; feast, July 3 (Roman Rite), Oct. 6 (Byzantine Rite).” Catholic Almanac
Book (sometimes called the "Urantia Papers" or
"The Fifth Epochal Revelation") is a spiritual and philosophical book that
P1561:1, 139:8.1 Thomas was the eighth apostle, and he was chosen by Philip. In later times he has become known as "doubting Thomas," but his fellow apostles hardly looked upon him as a chronic doubter. True, his was a logical, skeptical type of mind, but he had a form of courageous loyalty which forbade those who knew him intimately to regard him as a trifling skeptic.
P1561:2, 139:8.2 When Thomas joined the apostles, he was
twenty-nine years old, was married, and had four children. Formerly he had been
a carpenter and stone mason, but latterly he had become a fisherman and resided
at Tarichea, situated on the west bank of the
P1561:3, 139:8.3 The early home life of Thomas had been unfortunate; his parents were not altogether happy in their married life, and this was reflected in Thomas's adult experience. He grew up having a very disagreeable and quarrelsome disposition. Even his wife was glad to see him join the apostles; she was relieved by the thought that her pessimistic husband would be away from home most of the time. Thomas also had a streak of suspicion which made it very difficult to get along peaceably with him. Peter was very much upset by Thomas at first, complaining to his brother, Andrew, that Thomas was "mean, ugly, and always suspicious." But the better his associates knew Thomas, the more they liked him. They found he was superbly honest and unflinchingly loyal. He was perfectly sincere and unquestionably truthful, but he was a natural-born faultfinder and had grown up to become a real pessimist. His analytical mind had become cursed with suspicion. He was rapidly losing faith in his fellow men when he became associated with the twelve and thus came in contact with the noble character of Jesus. This association with the Master began at once to transform Thomas's whole disposition and to effect great changes in his mental reactions to his fellow men.
P1561:4, 139:8.4 Thomas's great strength was his superb analytical mind coupled with his unflinching courage -- when he had once made up his mind. His great weakness was his suspicious doubting, which he never fully overcame throughout his whole lifetime in the flesh.
P1561:5, 139:8.5 In the organization of the twelve Thomas was assigned to arrange and manage the itinerary, and he was an able director of the work and movements of the apostolic corps. He was a good executive, an excellent businessman, but he was handicapped by his many moods; he was one man one day and another man the next. He was inclined toward melancholic brooding when he joined the apostles, but contact with Jesus and the apostles largely cured him of this morbid introspection.
P1561:6, 139:8.6 Jesus enjoyed Thomas very much and had many long, personal talks with him. His presence among the apostles was a great comfort to all honest doubters and encouraged many troubled minds to come into the kingdom, even if they could not wholly understand everything about the spiritual and philosophic phases of the teachings of Jesus. Thomas's membership in the twelve was a standing declaration that Jesus loved even honest doubters.
P1562:1, 139:8.7 The other apostles held Jesus in reverence because of some special and outstanding trait of his replete personality, but Thomas revered his Master because of his superbly balanced character. Increasingly Thomas admired and honored one who was so lovingly merciful yet so inflexibly just and fair; so firm but never obstinate; so calm but never indifferent; so helpful and so sympathetic but never meddlesome or dictatorial; so strong but at the same time so gentle; so positive but never rough or rude; so tender but never vacillating; so pure and innocent but at the same time so virile, aggressive, and forceful; so truly courageous but never rash or foolhardy; such a lover of nature but so free from all tendency to revere nature; so humorous and so playful, but so free from levity and frivolity. It was this matchless symmetry of personality that so charmed Thomas. He probably enjoyed the highest intellectual understanding and personality appreciation of Jesus of any of the twelve.
P1562:2, 139:8.8 In the councils of the twelve Thomas was always cautious, advocating a policy of safety first, but if his conservatism was voted down or overruled, he was always the first fearlessly to move out in execution of the program decided upon. Again and again would he stand out against some project as being foolhardy and presumptuous; he would debate to the bitter end, but when Andrew would put the proposition to a vote, and after the twelve would elect to do that which he had so strenuously opposed, Thomas was the first to say, "Let's go!" He was a good loser. He did not hold grudges nor nurse wounded feelings. Time and again did he oppose letting Jesus expose himself to danger, but when the Master would decide to take such risks, always was it Thomas who rallied the apostles with his courageous words, "Come on, comrades, let's go and die with him."
P1562:3, 139:8.9 Thomas was in some respects like Philip; he also wanted "to be shown," but his outward expressions of doubt were based on entirely different intellectual operations. Thomas was analytical, not merely skeptical. As far as personal physical courage was concerned, he was one of the bravest among the twelve.
P1562:4, 139:8.10 Thomas had some very bad days; he was blue and
downcast at times. The loss of his twin sister when he was nine years old had
occasioned him much youthful sorrow and had added to his temperamental problems
of later life. When Thomas would become despondent, sometimes it was Nathaniel
who helped him to recover, sometimes Peter, and not infrequently one of the
P1562:5, 139:8.11 Sometimes Thomas would get permission from Andrew to go off by himself for a day or two. But he soon learned that such a course was not wise; he early found that it was best, when he was downhearted, to stick close to his work and to remain near his associates. But no matter what happened in his emotional life, he kept right on being an apostle. When the time actually came to move forward, it was always Thomas who said, "Let's go!"
P1562:6, 139:8.12 Thomas is the great example of a human being who has doubts, faces them, and wins. He had a great mind; he was no carping critic. He was a logical thinker; he was the acid test of Jesus and his fellow apostles. If Jesus and his work had not been genuine, it could not have held a man like Thomas from the start to the finish. He had a keen and sure sense of fact. At the first appearance of fraud or deception Thomas would have forsaken them all. Scientists may not fully understand all about Jesus and his work on earth, but there lived and worked with the Master and his human associates a man whose mind was that of a true scientist -- Thomas Didymus -- and he believed in Jesus of Nazareth.
P1563:1, 139:8.13 Thomas had a trying time during the days of the
trial and crucifixion. He was for a season in the depths of despair, but he
rallied his courage, stuck to the apostles, and was present with them to
welcome Jesus on the
.This is the oldest painting of Jesus in the world
It is now in Cairo Museum
The picture represents the Thoma Margam, the way of Thomas as that of
the Magi the Scientist. It would be necessary to look into the theological
interpretation of the method of the doubting Thomas to be the Apostle who
became a believer through personal experience of verification and became the
one who was sent to baptize the Magi - the wise men and the one reached the
ends of the world in actuality. We will see that unlike other Apostles who
evangelized in and around
A modern version of the earliest painting of Jesus and Thomas.
Faith is based on everyday personal experience and exercise When Jesus appeared first time after the resurrection, this is what happened
Luke 24: 38-41 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?" "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?"…
How did Jesus make them believe that he was indeed risen and is alive in body mind and soul and not a spirit?
He showed his wound and encouraged them to touch and feel his body. He probably ate with them. What the other disciples experienced, Thomas wanted to experience himself to believe.
"Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
That is exactly what Jesus did with Thomas.
This indeed is the foundation of all science. Jesus did not ask them to believe blindly. It is in fact dangerous to believe blindly.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 ..do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
“A state in which the mind is suspended between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them. Any number of alternative propositions on the same subject may be in doubt at the same time; but, strictly speaking, the doubt is attached separately to each one, as between the proposition and its contradictory, i.e. each proposition may or may not be true. Doubt is opposed to certitude, or the adhesion of the mind to a proposition without misgiving as to its truth”
Phenomenology and Ethnomethology both operate on the assumption that the world of facts around us is unquestionable. That what we see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and even think are real, measurable, and that the world will continue to operate by these rules.
This is an essential precondition for empirical science,
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
As a Physics teacher I had always insisted that the students should repeat every laboratory measurements thrice and take the average as an assessment of the truth. Because there are a lot of variables which we know and even those we do not know that decides a final truth.
We have the example of Gideon who tested God’s assignment order by
repeated experiments. Then he went out and brought victory for
The Sign of the Fleece and Gideon’s experiment with God.
36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save
a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece
only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save
Then in Isaiah we see King Ahaz was challenged to test my any impossible results “as high as the heavens or as deept as the pit” and when he refused he was given the ultimate proof of a virgin birth.
Isaiah 7. Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the LORD your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.”
12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the LORD to the test.”
13Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:
The ultimate proof Christian faith depends on the resurrection of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:14-19 King James Version (KJV)
14And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Thus we see Apostle Thomas was really a magi and was willing to openly demand evidence before he commit himself to the cause of Jesus. But the as soon as he was convinced of the experience and the final conclusion that Jesus has indeed risen, his logical conclusion far outweighed the conclusions of all others - Jesus is indeed his Lord and Jesus indeed is God. None of the other disciples came not even close, inspite of the fact three of them really was with Jesus in the mount and saw the transfiguration. But none came to the conclusion that “Jesus is God”.
This has become the foundation of his ministry. In
Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:7,8).
Believers should expect these supernatural works. When Jesus sent out his disciples he said:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;
they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents;
and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”
How was the word confirmed - with signs following. Why?
Because faith grows with these signs and wonders.
Hebrews 2:3-4 says, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was
confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Traditions handed down to us)
God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles,
and gifts of the Holy Ghost, (Personal every day experience)
according to his own will?
Joh 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Joh 20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
Jesus accepted the doubt and was all out to assure them.
Colossians 2:6-8 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ
What is this "Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed"?
Thomas could touch the wounds of Jesus and verify his assumption. But in the ages to come, people cannot do that. They have to believe by touching the body of Jesus - the Church. By signs of miracles that the believers who are established in Christ perform. Do you know that the greatest magicians are the Christians.
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Matt. 18:18-20 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.
Colossians 2:6 -8 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Establishing in faith is a slow process. This a growth in confidence in character of God and his faithfulness derives from personal experience. Hence Paul uses the analogy of a growing tree. The deeper the root and greater will be tree and the fruit thereof.
Thomas was the first Christian full magi. So Thomas was asked to find those magi from all over the world who searched for the birth of the Son of God and confirm them as full Christian magi with creative power with their words and thoughts as the body of Jesus himself.
Thomas was thus one of the Magi and he was deployed to the ends of earth to preach and to baptize the magi into the faith. These signs followed him because he was rooted in faith.
Father Vincenzo Maria was one of four Carmelite friars sent to
Thomas, he says, began his mission in Syria-Mesopotamia.
From there the apostle went east to
He then revisited his original
A leap across a continent and an ocean brought him to
and thence to the
There he evangelized the
finally the Coromandel Coast (
My analysis makes a few changes which would fit all the documents and traditions including the recent discoveries of Rev. Fr. Pancras M. Raja .
This is my time line of Thomas Mission from 33 to 72. Only a few dates can be stated with confidence since nobody kept any record.
1.Thomas starts his ministry from
4.He then takes a ship to Kalyan near
5.procededs to Soutern
7.He then returns to Taxila area.
9.In AD 51 he left Taxila by ship due to the occpation and slow displacement of Parthian chiefs by the Kushans
On the way he is shipwrecked and visits
10 Then reaches Kodugallore in AD 52 for his Kerala ministry of establishing seven churches.
Reaches Chennai and visits
Returns to Chennai and was Martyred there. AD 72
The Breviary of. the
In the same Chaldean service for
"The Indians, the Chinese, the Persians, and the other insular
people (cceteriinsulani*), offer their adorations to your holy name in
First on Vincenzo Maria's list is Syria-Mesopotamia, "the neighborhood of Edessa," and expands it to all of the Persian empire, or "Parthia," where he preached "to Parthians, Medes, Bactrians (Northern Afghanistan), Hyrcanians (of Caspian Sea), and Taprobanians.(Ceylon / Sri Lanka.)”. This will indicate the vastness of the mission field. Indeed Thomas turns out to be the Apostle who travelled far away to the end of the earth and covered the maximum area with his mission. Apparently he was not a writer and left us nothing in writing. He was accompanied by a secretary scribe who reported everything. Hence we have to rely on the traditions of the countries where he evangelized.
However Apostle Thomas went beyond the known world of the time even
unto the end of the world - the
All these areas were the ministry allocated to Thomas and we can see the extent of the Eastern Churches distributed all over by 4th century.
All the areas where Thomas worked was connected to the Syrian Eastern Church and were Nestorians in the early centuries.
Since it covered the portions east of
- 30 years before Christianity came into existence ( from the birth of Jesus to the Pentecost ) and were the leaders in their regions when the Church was established.
(Academy for Christian Thought.
As far as
geography is concerned
Trade in Early India, Oxford University Press says the
following on page 66:
"Thanks to a graphic description left behind by Pliny, historians are able to trace the development of the sea-route to the west coast of
The Indian Christians of St Thomas, Leslie Brown adds the following on page 60:
"At first(from about 90 B.C.) ships went from Aden and other Arabian ports direct to Bombay and finally discovered how to sail direct, diagonally across to Muziris, the port of Malabar, instead of tacking laboriously down the coast. Malabar was in any case the end of the voyage. for it was from there that pepper, spices and precious stones were exported."
"We know something about
the extent of this trade from references in Latin writers and from coins
discovered in south
It enjoyed semi-autonomy to complete independence from the years of 132 BC to AD 216.
Birthdate: estimated between 100BCE and 20 Death: 50 AD
Immediate Family: Son of King of Osroene - Ma'nu III Saphul (23–4 BC)
and Augustina Husband of
Father of King of Osroene - Ma'nu V (50–57) and King of Osroene - Ma'nu VI (57–71) Brother of King of Osroene - Ma'nu IV (7–13)
Among the illustrious disciples of the
Early Church historian Eusebius (AD 260-340) in his
"Ecclesiastical History" gives the story of how
Ukomo (AD 13-50) was its king. Abgar wrote a letter to Jesus. A copy of a letter written by Abgarus the toparch to Jesus, and sent to him by means of Ananias the runner, to Jerusalem.
“Abgarus Uchama the toparch to Jesus the good Saviour that hath
appeared in the parts (place) of
”And having heard all this of thee, I had determined one of two things, either that thou art God come down from heaven, and so doest these things or art a Son of God that doest these things.
“Therefore now have I written and entreated thee to trouble thyself to come to me and heal the affliction which I have. or indeed I have heard that the Jews even murmur against thee and wish to do thee hurt. And I have a very little city but (and) comely (reverend), which is sufficient for us both.”
The answer, written by Jesus, sent by Ananias the runner to Abgarus the toparch. “Blessed art thou that hast believed in me, not having seen me.
“For it is written concerning me that they that have seen me shall not believe in me, and that they that have not seen me shall believe and live. But concerning that which thou hast written to me, to come unto thee; it must needs be that I fulfil all things for the which I was sent here, and after fulfilling them should then be taken up unto him that sent me.
“And when I am taken up, I will send thee one of my disciples, to heal thine affliction and give life to thee and them that are with thee.”
The Syriac document The Teaching of Addai contains the purported correspondence (Eusebius, Ecc.
Hist.,I, 13). Eusebius wrote that he personally had seen the exchange
of letters, supplied to him from the archives at
It is said that after the assumption of Jesus, Apostle Thomas sent Addai (Thaddaeus) his twin brother who was one of the seventy-two, to the king who healed the King and the King himself became a Christian.. In this mission he was accompanied by a disciple, Mari, and the two are regarded as cofounders of the church. The Liturgy of Addai and Mari (c. AD 200), is still used by the Assyrian Churches of the East.
Icon of Abgar holding the mandylion,
the image of Christ And Abgar’s wife Helena of Adiabene
(encaustic, 10th century, Saint
Mandylion - not made by hands
The Cathedral of the Holy Madylion in Andronikov Monastery
Hannan, the messenger, was archivist at
Ananias therefore departed for
Fresco from Varaga St. Gevorg church chapel showing king Abgar with image of Christ This he gave to Ananias saying, "Go, give this back to the one who sent you." He also gave him his reply mentioned above along with it.
When Abgar saw the picture he was glad and immediately his leprosy was healed. He was still disfigured which was later healed by Thddaeus.
Abgar V (Armenian Աբգար Ե) nicknamed Ukkāmā, which means “black”, was the King of Osroene in 4 BC – 7 AD and 13-50 AD. Besides, he was the 15th representative of the Osroerne dynasty of the Abgarids.
The legend is also found found in the Acta Thaddaei, the "Acts of Thaddaeus".
A version of the tradition says that St. Jude Thaddeus showed the Face of Christ on the towel to King Abgar again, who is thereupon cured of all his disease.
This 19th century painting
hangs above the altar in the Carmelite
Icon of St. Thaddeus (10th century, Saint
Mosaic figures on floor in Edesa.
According to the Daily Sabbah,2016 five mosaics have been discovered
from the reign of Abgar V (ranging. 4 BCE – 7 CE; and then 13-50 CE), the fifth
king of the
The Transfer from
King Agbar V was the first Christian King in the World
On August 24, 2009, the board of the Central Bank of
Abgar V called “Ukkāmā” meaning "the Black” was the King of
Osroene with his capital at
Abgar V came to the throne in 4 BC as a Roman client. He lost his throne in 7 AD and regained it five years later,and died in c. AD 40.
On August 15, 944, the
Mandylion - not made by hands
This may be the face of Jesus.
Osrhoene, probably the first
However there is no solid evidence that Apostle Thomas himself went to
Tradition also says Christianity became the official religion of
Like all the other countries where Thomas touched,
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church (NPNFtranslations of early Christian writings into English published between 1886 and 1900.) editors wrote about this story as follows:
. "Abgarus was the name of several kings of
to A.D. 217. The Abgar contemporary with Christ was called Abgar Ucomo, or “the Black.” He was the fifteenth king, and reigned, according to Gutschmid, from a.d. 13 to a.d. 50.” It is certain that
in the latter part of the second century there indeed was a a King of Edessa called Abgar who became a Christian. It was in his court the famous Syrian Gnostic who turned into Christian - Bardesanes - lived and who visited Kerala during his time. Evidently there is no doubt that Abgar was the first King to be a Christian and Syrian Christianity was firmly rooted there long before most other churches were fully established early in the mission period of the Apostles”
In the year 33 A.D. before starting for India St. Thomas must have
paid a visit to King Abgar and baptized him, in accordance with the mandate
Apart from the possible Thomas ministry along with his disciples there
is the possible contact of Christianity through Jerusalem Pentecost soon after
the resurrection. Acts 2:9 lists “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of
Mesopotamia” among those who were reportedly present in
Apostle Thomas is considered as the saint of
After Agbar V the later kings turned away and became pagan. Yet by 301
Osrohene became the first
By Foot To China Mission of The Church of the East, to 1400 gives the following chronology
A.D. 35 A tradition arose that the apostle Thomas Preached in the
A.D. 100 A congregation existed in
A.D. 180 Tatian's Diatesseron completed.
A.D. 200 The Church of the Eat in
A.D. 258 Djondishapur founded on the lower
A.D. 280 Bishop of Selucia-Ctesiphon on the lower
Thomas was an important Apostle in that land because most of the
Thomas literature originated from
Among them are:
Acts of Thomas is a dramatical poetic work describing the ministry of Thomas in
Acts of Thomas starts with this .1:1: “At that season all we the
apostles were at Jerusalem, Simon which is called Peter and Andrew his brother,
James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas
and Matthew the publican, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Canaanite,
and Judas the brother of James: and we divided the regions of the world, that
every one of us should go unto the region that fell to him and unto the nation
whereunto the Lord sent him. According to the lot,
"Acts of Thomas”, describes it
with embellishments and exaggerations. It was probably written in Greek and was
translated in to Syriac. . It is also found in Latin, Armenian, Ethiopic
(Coptic), and Arabic. These were written by Gnostic writers in
Gospel of Thomas discovered during archeological excavations of an ancient library in
Anglican bishop N.T. Wright, history professor at
The New Testament and the People of God: “Thomas reflects a symbolic universe, and a worldview, which are radically different from those of the early Judaism and Christianity.”
The Book of Thomas the Contender, from the Nag Hammadi Library Collection The content of this work is quite hyperbolic and gnostic in style and content. “The secret sayings that the savior spoke to 2 Judas Thomas which I, even I, Mathaias, 3 wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with 4 one another.” It was likely composed in the first half of the 3d century A.D.
The Apocalypse of Thomas c. 300-400 C.E.
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas is a gospel about the childhood of Jesus that dates to the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
Why is that there existed a prolific tradition on Apostle Thomas in
this area? We cannot but come to understand that it was certainly part of his
area of ministry though we have no specific record of it. In actual fact most
of these writings associated with the Thomas tradition, were rejected during
the early formation of Christian orthodoxy; and by the end of the fourth
century most of the writings associated with Thomas had been condemned and
destroyed. We have clear evidence in this direction. For one Cyril of Jerusalem
[(Cathechesis V (4th century)] says: "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
Manichaen the prophet of the Religion of Light
While it is true that Mani practically followed Apostle Thomas’ footsteps
and established his own religion in those areas. In
"conviction that direct, personal and absolute knowledge of the authentic truths of existence is accessible to human beings, and, moreover, that the attainment of such knowledge must always constitute the supreme achievement of human life."
He himself presented as the younger brother of Gana Pathy (Logos made
flesh) as Manikandan Subramanian. Manichaeism rapidly spread west into the
The region known as Mesopotamia stretched from the Mediterranean east,
all the way to the
On his way, the apostle Thomas, founder of the
And the people still believe that there is healing to gain for all
kinds of sicknesses for everybody who the third of july will bath in the waters
of Urinia Lake or in the spring of St. George, near the lake Urmia.“Eusebius of
East of the Euphrates: Early Christianity in Asia by T.V. Philip
Church Tradition regarding the evangelism,holds that the holy Apostle
Thomas founded Christian churches in
According to the Greek historian Herodotus (c. 490-c. 425 BC), called
“Father of History,” the Magi made up one of the original six tribes of the
Medes, who lived in Media – what is today northwestern Iran and southeastern
Turkey. . By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were
able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day
They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism.Josephus traces their origin to Medes to the Old Testament Hebrew Madai and then to the biblical character, Madai, son of Japheth:
"Now as to Javan and Madai, the sons of Japhet; from Madai came the Madeans, who are called Medes, by the Greeks" Antiquities of the Jews, I:6. (See Gen 10)
http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/History/madha/medes.htm by Dr. Glanpaolo Savola Vizzi 2006
Zorastrianism was one of the earliest monotheistic religion of the world. Like the Levites the Magi tribe was the Priests of the Zorastrianism.
They were described as a priestly class, but their main task appears
to have been the interpretation of the king’s dreams. In this respect they were
like similar “wise men” kept at the courts of various Near Eastern monarchs.
Daniel was the head of the Magi (/Rab Magi) of all
Avestan maga, magauuan, means "sacrifice" and
"sacrificer" which in sanskrit means “Mahabali” the names of the
Christian Kings who came to power in the
They were the chief counsellors of the King, scientists of the period, astrologers who can predict future etc.
In his work Every Good Man Is Free, Philo of Alexandria says:
”And in the land of the barbarians, in which the same men are authorities both as to words and actions, very numerous companies of virtuous and honorable men are celebrated. Among the Persians there is the body of the Magi, who, investigating the works of nature for the purpose of becoming acquainted with the truth, do at their leisure become initiated themselves and initiate others in the divine virtues by very clear explanations.”
The Infancy Gospel of the Savior, Circa 300-600 AD (http://gnosis.org/library/infarab.htm)
The Magi and Zarathustra are also mentioned in the non-canonical Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of The Savior (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0806.htm) where in section 7 of this early gospel it reads:
“And it came to pass, when the Lord Jesus was born at Bethlehem of Judea, in the time of King Herod, behold, magi came from the east to Jerusalem, as Zeraduscht (Zoroaster) had predicted; and there were with them gifts, gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And they adored Him, and presented to Him their gifts. Then the Lady Mary took one of the swaddling-bands, and, on account of the smallness of her means, gave it to them; and they received it from her with the greatest marks of honor."
German writer Manfred Barthel,explains how when the Persians invaded
A sixth-century Syrian source, cited by Zoroastrian scholar Dariush Jahanian, names the Three Kings as :
"Hormizdah king of
Hor, king of
Priests of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) were indeed known as the Magi. The
Bible gives us the direction, East and the legend states that the wise men were
Matthew 2:1 - "After Jesus was born in
- When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was
furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in
Some of them may have been indeed the Zorastrians.
Christ and the Persian magi Marco Polo on
From Chapter XI (Of the
Marco inquired often in that city concerning the three magi, and nobody could tell him anything about them, except that the three magi were buried there in ancient times. After three days' journey you come to a castle which is called Palasata, which means the castle of the fire-worshippers, and it is true that the inhabitants of that castle worship fire, and this is given as the reason.
Like the Chinese wise men it was alleged that the Persian Magi, from time immemorial, each year ascended a mountain at harvest time to await the appearance of the star that would show them where the Zoroastrian savior would be born (Herzfeld 1935, 61–62; J. Russell 1991, 524)
The men of that castle say, that anciently three kings of that country went to adore a certain king who was newly born, and carried with them three offerings, namely, gold, frankincense, and myrth: gold, that they might know if he were an earthly king; frankincense, that they might know if he were God; and myrth, that they might now if he were a mortal man.
When these magi were presented to Christ, the youngest of the three adored him first, and it appeared to him that Christ was of his stature and age. The middle one came next, and then the eldest, and to each he seemed to be of their own stature and age. Having compared their observations together, they agreed to go all to worship at once, and then he appeared to them all of his true age.
When they went away, the infant gave them a closed box, which they carried with them for several days, and then becoming curious to see what he had given them, they opened the box and found in it a stone, which was intended for a sign that they should remain firm as a stone in the faith they had received from him.
When, however, they saw the stone, they marvelled, and thinking themselves deluded, they threw the stone into a certain pit, and instantly fire burst forth in the pit. When they saw this, they repented bitterly of what they had done, and taking some of the fire with them they carried it home.
And having placed it in one of their churches, they keep it continually burning, and adore that fire as a god, and make all their sacrifices with it; and if it happen to be extinguished, they go for more to the original fire in the pit where they threw the stone, which is never extinguished, and they take of none other fire. And, therefore, the people of the country worship fire.
Marco was told all this by the people of the country; and it is true
that one of those kings was of
According to Assyrian writers, the magi from
The story says that upon their return from
Apostle Thomas visited in AD 47 according to the traditions of the Eastern Church along with
Addai (Thaddaeus) and his disciples Aggagi and Mari. They establised
the first church there which is
The Assyrian people adopted Christianity in the 1st century AD and
According to traditions “Acts of Mar Mari”,(written in about the 8th
century AD in
Seleucia, the ruins of which are at Tell Omar near Salman Pak southeast of modern Baghdad, remained one of the chief cities of the Parthian Empire and later became the winter capital of the
This was originally a
After coming back they converted the fire temple to a church. A Chinese princess, who contributed to its reconstruction in 642 AD, has her name engraved on a stone on the church wall. The famous Italian traveller Marco Polo also described the church in his visit.
Briefly prior to the World War I, it was converted by the Russians to a Russian Orthodox church. In early 1960s, the old church was restored and a modern church with a spire was built adjacent to the ancient church.
The sign at the entrance of the church
Naneh Maryam church has 9 pews. On the right of the altar, there is a narrow corridor with a traditional oven built in the wall which is said to be where the holy breads were baked. And next to this oven, there is a Baptismal font.
The first Patriarch of the East had attended the chapel as a boy built
by the Three Wise Men in the town of
After establishing the first Christian church in
Naneh Maryam is considered by some accounts to be the first church built in the East and by other accounts to be the second largest church of the old world after the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Archeologists say that the arches and pillars of Naneh Maryam Church date back to the Sassanid era (226-651 CE) and that the interior of the church displays a combination of Parthian (247 BC–224 CE) and Sassanid architecture. In accordance with Assyrian values, the interior of the church lacks ornate decorations or embellishments in the form of wall paintings or stucco reliefs. The church has 9 pews, 9 confessionals and a low door above that opens to a large courtyard. Above this door is a sign that tells visitors to remove their shoes as they are entering sacred ground. The floor is covered with rugs.
Over the years
the appearance of this church has significantly changed due to several
renovations. According to Assyrian accounts, a Chinese princess who resided in
the church on returning from her visit to the Archbishop of Nineveh was the
first to renovate the church in 642 CE. The
This is an unbelievable proposition since
Two thousand years ago, around the time that Jesus of Nazareth was
born, the second
The best scholarly guide to the world Jesus was born into is a man
called Strabo. He was born in Amasia, a town in the central north of what’s now
Amasia was on the edge of the Roman empire, and when Strabo was born
around 64 B.C., in Amasia, a town in the central north of what’s now
There is no mention of the
A description of the debate on Hebrew connection to the South and North American tribes can be found in https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/native-americans-jews-the-lost-tribes-episode/
This was the
This was the Thomas journey to
During the first centuries of colonization in
same person. The natives also reported the mythological figure of a white man who would have visited their South of America in Pre-Columbian times. This figure, which they attributed the nickname “Father Sumé”, was identified and merged with São Tomé - Saint Thomas.
St. Thomas the Apostle, in
According to these reports, long, long before the arrival of the
Europeans, a tall, white-bearded, extraordinarily wise man called Pai Sumé or
Pai Zumé [Father Thomas] came walking over the ocean to teach the Indians the
art of agriculture, to sow maize and cassava and other products, and to show
them the use of yerba mate. (the national beverage of
Most importantly, this wise old man spoke to them about a religion with
the One True God and told them one day there would be men who would carry the
Cross and teach them this truth. Then, after a time, having completed his
mission among the natives, this man turned back to the sea, leaving traces of
his footsteps on the rocks in various sites along the coast and interior of the
South American Continent. In
A procession with St. Thomas in the city of Paraguarí in Paraguay; at right steps of St. Thomas at the top of a hill of Tacumbú near Asunción
Signs left by
In this part of
It received this name by the disciples of St. Ignatius of Loyola and
the Spaniards, since those roads were connected to the legend of Pai Zumé.
These first Jesuits who evangelized in these areas believed that this personage
was in fact the Apostle St. Thomas, who had come to
Route taken by
Ancient oral tradition retained by the Guaraní tribes of
..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.
— Quoted by Martin Dobrizhoffer: "Geschichte der Abiponer: eine
berittenen und kriegerischen Nation in Paraquay", Volume 3, ch.II.
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
...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.
— Quoted by Antonio Ruiz de Montoya: Conquista espiritual hecha por
los religiosos de la Compañía de Jesús en las provincias
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
Nieremberg (Historiae Naturae, l. xiv, c. cxvii) writes: "The
Indians of Brazil still show a path followed by
Traditions similar to these are reported in other parts of South
America, such as those of the Tupinambas, and along the
The most ancient traditions of the Peruvians tell of a white-bearded
man, named "Thonapa Arnava," ...who arrived in
Horn aptly remarks that proper names frequently undergo slight variations in their passage from language to language, so that Thonapa might easily represent Thoma-Papas. The title Papas, or
Father, is evidently imported, as it is without meaning in the native tongue Thesurname "Arnava" is not unreasonably interpreted from the Peruvian Nechua dialect, in which arma or arna signifies to bathe or pour water, referring probably to the ceremonies of baptism administered by St.
Thomas.Thus the name seems to designate him as Father Thomas the Baptist. Sahagun tells the curious fact that the Peruvians gave to their missionaries, after the Spanish conquest, the name of ...Padres Tomés.
There is speculation that the American Red Indians are descended from
the lost tribes of
In November of
1860, David Wyrick of
The inscription is carved into a fine-grained black stone. The inscribed stone was found inside a sandstone box, smooth on the outside, and hollowed out within to exactly hold the stone.
The inscriptions on the four sides:
Qedosh Qedoshim, "Holy of Holies"
Melek Eretz, "King of the Earth"
Torath YHWH, "The Law of God"
Devor YHWH, "The Word of God"
They were written in the modern Hebrew alphabet, and also in the older
Paleo-Hebrew. The stones contained the name of God spelled out in YHVH and the
Ten Commandments, Some years Later, the Los Lunas Dacalogue stone, an 80-ton
boulder found in
Lithograph J. Royer,
Two years later, in 1867, David M. Johnson, a banker who
co-founded the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, in conjunction with Dr. N. Roe
Bradner, M.D., of Pennsylvania, found a fifth stone, in the same mound group
south of Newark in which Wyrick had located the Decalogue. The original of this
small stone is now lost, but a lithograph, published in
The letters on the lid and base of the Johnson-Bradner stone are in the same peculiar alphabet as the Decalogue inscription, and appear to wrap around in the same manner as on the Decalogue's back platform. However, the lithograph is not clear enough for me to attempt a transcription with any confidence. However, Dr. James Trimm, whose Ph.D. is in Semitic Languages, has recently reported that the base and lid contain fragments of the Decalogue text. Click here and select 5/11/98, James Trimm, Johnson-Bradner Stone, to view his report. (Link updated 12/05.)
The independent discovery, in a related context, by reputable citizens, of a third stone bearing the same unique characters as the Decalogue stone, strongly confirms the authenticity and context of the Decalogue Stone, as well as Wyrick's reliability.
Foot prints and Grotos
There exiss footprints of
Henry Jenné da Costa Jr.
Adam's Peak, the highest point in
Foor prints of St.Thomas left in the mud which became hard. Similar
footprints are also found in
Grotos that São Tomé lived in
These are very similar to the ones in Chennai, India.- given belowCave
One cannot deny the similarity of the two sites confirming the identity of the same Apostle Thomas in both places.
Jesuit Manuel da Nóbrega says:
“a reliable person told me, that the roots of bread that are made here
today are given by,
“They say (the natives) that St. Thomas, whom they call Sumé, passed
by here and this was told to them by their ancestors and that their footprints
are signaled by a river, which I went to see, for the certainty of the truth,
and I saw with my own eyes four footsteps very marked with their fingers, to
which they are covered by the river sometimes, when it fills. They also say
that when he left these footsteps he was escaping from the natives who wanted
to shoot him, and when he got the river it opened, and he passed through it,
without getting wet. And from there he went to
These natives had a cross, which associated with the story caused greater admiration. According to the Jesuits, the natives reaffirmed other Christian religious ideas taught by Sumé (Tomé). Admirably, they said that to their ancestors, Sumé taught that a virgin of incomparable beauty gave birth to a beautiful son who had no father; and this son restored health to the sick, vision to the blind, life to the dead.
The hospitality of them was very friendly, having a festive demonstration
of dances, being offered food, causing him surprise. The Indians then told him
an age-old tradition received from their ancestors. When
“The doctrine that I now preach to you, you will lose it in time. But when, after a long time, some of my successor priests, who bring crosses as I bring, will hear your descendants this same doctrine that I teach you.”
There are many who think that there is not enough evidence to this assertion.
According to Church Tradition, the holy Apostle Thomas founded
Christian churches in
this view was held by John Chrysostom.
Thomas did establish a church in
Coin of King Ezana, under whom Oriental Orthodox Christianity became
the established church of the
The church is called
Tewahedo (Ge'ez: ተ ዋ ሕ ዶ täwaḥədo) is a Ge'ez word meaning "being made one" or "unified". This word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one single unified nature of Christ; i.e., a belief that a complete, natural union of the Divine and Human Natures into One is self-evident in order to
accomplish the divine salvation of humankind. This is in contrast to the "two Natures of Christ" belief (unmixed, but unseparated Divine and Human Natures, called the hypostatic union) which is held by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Parthian, the Media, the
St. Isidore of Seville in Spain confirms that,“This Thomas preached the Gospel of Christ to the Parthians, the Medes, the Persians, the Hyrcanians and the Bactrians, and to the Indians of the Oriental region and penetrating the innermost regions and sealing his preaching by his passion he died transfixed with a lance at Calamina (present Mylapore),a city of India, and there was buried with honour.”
In the Paschal Chronicle is a fragment of a work of Bishop Dorotheus (born 254), in which he relates the acts and journeyings of the Apostles, and this is what he says of St. Thomas : — " The Apostle Thomas, after having preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Germanians*, Bactrians, and Magi, suffered martyrdom at Calamina, a town of India." http://library.umac.mo/ebooks/b21512644a.pdf
(Germanians are an agricultural people of
St. Jerome ; for, in speaking of the immensity of the Saviour regarded
as God, he says these words, of which no one will dispute the authenticity :
—" The Son of God remained then with the apostles for forty days after his
resurrection, at the same time that he was with the angels in the bosom of his
Father. He was present in all places, with Thomas in
A passage in the pseudo-Clement's Recognitions (possibly written in the third century) as well as Bardaisan speaks that "the righteous and true Prophet" (that is, Jesus) is able to overcome the barbarous customs "among the Parthians -- as Thomas, who is preaching the Gospel among them, has written to us”
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
Origins of Christianity in
“The Teaching of the Apostles in describing the work of various apostles says:
“Edessa and the countries round about it which were on all sides of
it, and Zoba (Nisibis) and Arabia, and all the north, and the regions round
about it, and the south and all the regions on the borders of Mesopotamia,
received apostles’ ordination to the priesthood from Addaeus the apostle, one
of the seventy-two apostles. (Cureton, W. Ancient Syriac Documents,
Ante-Nicene, Christian Library, Vol XX, T&T Clark:
“The whole of
There is a common misconception that the ten tribes of
Whether these groups were absorbed into the population or remained
distinct groups, or returned to their tribal lands is not indicated. In c. 732
BC, Tiglath-Pileser sacked
Thus they were displaced from their original home. But they were never
lost in the sense that their where-abouts were lost. Flavius Josephus (37 –
c.100 AD) the well known historian wrote this in “Antiquities of The Jews”
(Book XI – Chapter V – Verse 2.) “Wherefore there are but two tribes (Yahudah
and Benjamin plus the Levites) in Asia and Europe subject to the Romans, while
the ten tribes are beyond the
‘Thus has the Lord, God of Israel, spoken: “Your fathers dwelt in
olden times beyond the River [
Thus what has happened was they were back to the land from which the
Patriarchs started their journey. The Parthian Empire existed in and around
But majority of them were in Mesopotamia where they rose to become of the great powers of the period which contended with the Roman Empire.The Parthian empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and -for brief periods- territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine .
Parthian Empire First Century AD
“…the picture of the world during the Roman period…put before students in ‘Histories of Rome,’ was defective, not to say false, in its omission to recognize the real position of Parthia …as a counterpoise to the power of Rome, a second figure in thepicture not much inferior to the first, a rival state dividing with Rome the attention of mankind and the sovereignty of the known earth.
Writers of Roman history have been too much in the habit of representing [Rome] as…a Universal Monarchy, a Power unchecked… having no other limits than those of the civilized world…the truth seems to be that…from the first to the last …there was always in the world a Second Power, civilized or semi-civilized, which in a true sense balanced Rome, acted as a counterpoise and a
check… This power for nearly three centuries (B.C.64 – A.D. 225) was
Parthians were at the feast of the Pentecost at
“They have a Semitic-Israelite connection and a link to King David
within the Parthian royal family. The names of Israelite tribes and clans are
in evidence within the Parthian Empire.
The Parthian Empire rose to power when
Just decades before the birth of Christ (around 53 B.C.), the Parthian
Empire fought and soundly beat the Romans at the battle of Carrhae and killed
Crassus (who, with Julius Caesar and Pompey, governed the entire
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the Parthians even forced the ruling Herod the Great to flee for his very life:
"Now, in the second year, Pacorus, the King of Parthia's son, and
Barzapharnes, a commander of the Parthians, possessed themselves of
"Now Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand
talents, and five hundred women, upon condition they would take the government
away from Hyrcanus (the governor of the Jews and Herod the Great's
father-in-law), and bestow it upon him, and withal KILL HEROD. And although he
did not give them what he had promised, yet did the Parthians make an expedition
" Herod was under great disturbance of mind, and rather inclining to believe the reports he heard
about his brother and the Parthians, than to give heed to what was said on the other side, he determined, that when the evening came on, he would make use of it for his flight, and not make any longer delay, as if the dan-gers from the enemy were not yet certain. " (History (Antiquities) of the Jews, Book 14, Chapter 13)
The Parthian empire came to an end when the Persians, who had been
Parthian subjects for years, defeated them in battle. The empire of
During the 476 years that the Parthian Empire existed, all nations and
empires of the world became part of the extensive Roman Empire except the
Local potentates played an important role and the king had to respect
their privileges. Several noble families had a vote in the Royal council; the
Sûrên clan had the right to crown the Parthian king; and every aristocrat was
allowed/expected to retain an army of his own. The constituent parts of the
empire were surprisingly independent and were allowed to strike their own
coins, which was, in Antiquity, very rare. These are reminiscent of the period
Various officials of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were from the
Israelite tribe of
In the “sceptre”promise of Genesis 49:10 King David was promised that
he would always have descen-dants ruling over the House of Israel (Jeremiah
33:17). Jeremiah’s prophecy was made after the relocation of the House of
Israel (the northern ten tribes) into
In II Kings 24:8-15, the last kings of
The Phares branch of the Jews produced both King David and Jesus. This
reference to the Zerah branch of
The Bnei Menashe (from northeast
Notice the Indo-Parthian sub Kingdom that covers the
“The Magi were powerful members of one of the two assemblies which elected Parthian monarchs and wielded great influence within the empire.
One assembly was composed of members of the royal family (the Arsacids),
and the other consisted of the priests (the Magi) and influential Parthians of nonroyal blood (the Wise Men).
The Magi and Wise Men were jointly known as the Megistanes.
The Greek word translated "wise men" is "magian,"
literally meaning "Persian as-tronomer or priest."
While traditional Christian accounts of this episode celebrate the coming of "the three wise men", the Bible does not limit the number of visiting Magi/Wise Men to three. Indeed, Biblical events and the realities of that time argue for a much larger contingent of Parthian Magi. …..
Since we saw ….that the Parthians were descended from the Ten Tribes of Israel and that their priests were likely descended from the tribe of Levi this delegation of Magi consisted of leading
members of the [lost] Ten Tribes of Israel. Since there were numerous
members of the tribe of
Their arrival in
This suggests that the Magi came to
The Wise Men were not bringing just a few samples of gold and other
precious things that they carried in their personal saddle bags. They were
coming to worship a King. The caravan was so big that their arrival quickly
became a "cause celebre" in
They informed Herod they had come to worship Him "that is born king of the Jews"...
Since Matthew 1:3-17 tells us that Jesus Christ was also a descendant of Phares and King David, Jesus was a blood relative of the Parthian ruling dynasty which ... serves as a further explanation for the homage paid to Him by the Parthian Magi ...
Alexander III of Macedon ( 356 – 323 BC),
Alexander the Great was a Greek king of Macedon. Alexander was tutored
by the famed philosopher Aristotle. In 336 BC he succeeded his father Philip II
of Macedon to the throne after he was assassinated. Philip had brought most of
the city-states of mainland
Alexander’s Empire covered most of the Parthian area. After the death
of Alexander Taxila was taken over by Gondaphorus and the
In 2010, Amir Mizroch in the Jerusalem Post referred to the theory
that even Pashtuns in
It is evident that almost all Apsotles went to Jews in dispersion and established the first churches among the Jews. This is true in the case of Thomas also.
Religion during the Parthian era (ca.129 BC-224 AD) http://www.angelfire.com/nt/Gilgamesh/parthian.html
“The Parthians left the local administrations and rulers intact when
“During the Parthian occupation the ancient religion and cults of
In Mesopotamia, in particular, the influence of Jewish monotheism, with the beginning of rab- binic schools and the organization of the community under a leader, the exilarch (resh galuta in Aramaic), must have had a significant influence on the local population……
In the first two centuries of the Common Era, Christianity and various
baptismal sects also began to expand into
Parthian Zoroastrianism reinforced local Zoroastrian communities in
The known world during the Apostolic period.
The powerful empires of the age were Roman, Parthian, Kushan and Chinese Empires.
Thus all traditions indicate that Thomas started his ministry in the
The acts of Thomas are not found in the Acts of the Apostles. But an apocryphal book written around 200 AD called "Acts of Thomas", describes it with embellishments and exaggerations. “Like other apocryphal acts combining popular legend and religious propaganda, the work attempts to entertain and instruct. In addition to narratives of Thomas' adventures, its poetic and liturgical elements provide important evidence for early Syrian Christian traditions.” (Harold W. Attridge: The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 6, p. 531) The style of the book is typical of the period and is written in the form of a dramatic story telling. In the days when books were rare and not accessible to common man, the idea was to make the point clear with added techniques of keeping the major theme in tact while embellishing them with memorization fringes. Acts of Thomas, is thus an early Christian kind of novel, which was originally written either in Greek or Syriac.
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the historicity of the events and hence the traditions were questioned by scholars.
“Did a king of the name of Gondophares reign over any portion of
Should the above questions receive an affirmative solution, they would justify the inference that the re-cital in the Acts of Thomas in this point was based on historical knowledge; and further, that on this ac-count the Acts themselves deserved closer study and examination.
The name of King Gondophares appears in the Syriac text of the Acts as Gudnaphar; in the Greek version as GoundaforoV : codd. Rand S of a later date give GoutaforoV and GoundiaforoV ; the longer Latin ver-sion, De Miraculis, does not reproduce the name of the king: he is throughout styled ‘rex’; it appears in the shorter Latin version, Passio, as Gundaforus: codd. QGR of Max Bonnet’s Acta Thomae give Gundoforus.
Some scholars recognize the name of Gondophernes through its Armenian form, Gastaphar, in Gaspar, the traditional name of one of the Magi (Wise Men) who came from the East to worship Jesus Christ at his nativity.
It was only about the middle of the nineteenth century that it became
possible to say whether a king of that name ever existed and had reigned
In 1854 General Alexander Cunningham, writing in the Journal of the
Asiatic Society of Bengal (Vol.xxiii. pp.679-712), was able to say that in the
preceding twenty years no less than thirty thousand coins bearing Greek and
Indian legends, and extending over a period of more than three centuries, had
been found in Afghanistan and the Punjab. A large, if not the greater, number
belong to Greek princes who ruled over the country as inheritors of and
successors to the conquests of Alexander the Great. Another portion bear the evidence
of Scythian conquerors, confirmed also by other authorities, and of Parthian
kings and rulers who had become masters of these territories. The coins of
Gondophares, the king with whom we are concerned, belong to the latter
The exact route of Thomas is not clear. We know that on the way to
The fragment of Acts of Thomas in Coptic
A 17th Century drawing of St.Thomas going with Abbanes found in
The basic story is that a merchant Ambassador Habbanes (This is
probably a Greek pronouncement of the name Appana. Habbanes was probably from
It has also been suggested that Gondophares may be identical with Phraotes,
a Greek-speaking Indo-Parthian king of the city of
The Ruins of Taxila, the Capitol of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom of Gondaphorus
- now in Pakisthan St. Thomas is said to have begun his missionary work here in
The coins from Taxila with the seal and inscription of King Gudophorus as "Maharaja rajarajasamahata -dramia -devavrata Gundapharase"
Thirty-three of these coins are now in the
The discovery of Gondophoras coins was made by one Charles Masson who
worked in the
Takthi-Bahi Buddhist monastery where the stone iscription was
found.According to an inscription at Takht-i-Bhai (near
This Takhth-i-Bahi Stone 17" long and 14.5" broad has the inscription:
"In the twenty-sixth year of the great King Gudaphara in the year three and one hundred, in the month of Vaishakh, on the fifth day"
“The Indo-Parthian kingdom was founded by the first of several kings
named Gondophares in the late first century BC. Gondophares, as well as being a
Saka king, was probably a member of the Suren family, one of the seven major
noble houses of the Parthians, whose feifdom was in Seistan, by now known as
Sakas-tan, on the eastern borders of the Parthian empire. Indo-Parthia expanded
to the east, sometimes as vassals of the Parthians and sometimes independently,
eventually stretching to
British museumThe dates are as stated in the reference and has some probable errors within5 to 10 years
Pahlavas / Indo-Parthians
The expansion of the Kushans was checked by the Indo-Parthians, or
Pahlavas, who had their origins in
c.AD 10 The Indo-Greek kingdom disappears under Indo-Scythian pressure.
Pockets of Greek population probably remained for some centuries under the subsequent rule of the Ku-shans and Indo-Parthians.
c.AD 20 – 50 Gondophares Parthian vassal of Alexander of Macedonia who declared independence
c.20 Gondophares ventures east and establishes an independent
Indo-Parthian kingdom in
c.70 Orthagnes / Orthagnes-Gadana
c.75 The Kushan ruler, Kadphises, subdues the Indo-Scythians and
establishes his kingdom in
c.77 Ubouzanes Son.
c.85 Sases / Gondophares-Sases
c.90 Abdagases II
c.100 The neighbouring Kushans capture former Indo-Greek Arachosia (Medieval Ghazi) from the Indo-Parthians.
c.100 – 135 Pacores / Pacores is the last king with any real power. One more Indo-Parthian king follows him but in diminished circumstances, and virtually unknown to history
? Known from numismatic evidence only.
c.140? By this date, if not before, the last Indo-Parthians are conquered by the Kushans.
"Gondophares" was probably a title held by many kings of the period who ruled the Indo-Parthian King-dom. The name Gondophares is a latinization of Greek ΥΝΔΟΦΕΡΡΗΣ, from Old Persian Vindafarna meaning "May he find glory." Indian names include 'Gondapharna', 'Guduvhara' and Pali
'Gudaphara'. Gondophares is 'Gastaphar' in Armenian. “Gundafarnah” was apparently the Eastern Iranian (Sistani) form of the name.
Coin of Gondophares (20-50 AD ?), king of the Indo Parthians
Obv: Bust of Gondophares
Rev: Winged Nike holding a diadem, and Greek legend: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΥΝΔΟΦΕΡΡΟΥ ("of
King Gondophares, the Saviour").
Coin of Gondophares-Sases from Seistanin the Parthian style (Early-mid 1st century CE).
Obv: King with Parthian-style tiara.
On the coins of Gondophares, the royal names are Iranian, but the other legends of the coins are in Greek and Kharosthī. Kharosthi is developed from Hebrew.
Gandhara's language was a Prakrit or "Middle Indo-Aryan"
dialect, usually called Gāndhārī. Texts are written right-to-left in the Kharoṣṭhī
script, which had been adapted for Indo-Aryan languages from a Semitic
alphabet, the Aramaic alphabet. Gandhāra was then controlled by the Achaemenid
dynasty of the
Semitic scripts were not used to write South Asian languages again until the arrival of Islam and subsequent adoption of the Persian-style Arabic alphabet for New Indo-Aryan languages like Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi and Kashmiri. Kharosthi script died out about the 4th century. However, the Hindko and the archaic Dardic and Kohistani dialects, derived from the local Indo-Aryan Prakrits, are still spoken, though the Afghan Pashto language is the most dominant language of the region today
·Gondophares I (c. 20 BC – first years AD) Coin
·Gondophares II Sarpedones (first years AD – c. 20 AD)Coin
·Abdagases I (first years AD – mid-1st century AD) Coin
·Gondophares III Gudana, previously Orthagnes (c. 20 AD – 30 AD)
·Gondophares IV Sases, (mid-1st century AD) Gondophares-Sases as he appears on many of his coins, is most probably the king when Thomas visited Taxila.
·Ubouzanes, (late-1st century AD)
·Pacores (late 1st century AD) Coin
The name Gad which is given as the name of the Brother of King Gondaphores is of interest as Gadana, or Gadaranisa, appears on coins either with the name of Orthagnes or with the apparent double title 'Gondophares-Gadana' (Senior, 2001:114-117 Senior, R (2001) Indo-Scythian Coins and History Volume I, Classical Numismatic Group)
ACTS OF THOMAS
From NewWorld Encyclopaedia
Long considered fictional, King Gundaphorus, or Gondophares, is now believed
to be the first king of the
The apostles gather in
<<Acta Thomae places the landing of Thomas in a royal city
called Andrapolis. According to Warinington, Andrapolis was the capital of the
From the description this king was from
On arriving, Thomas attends the wedding feast of the king's daughter with his master. He declines food and drink, and refuses to gaze at a lovely flute-girl who dances for him. For his rudeness, he is struck by a royal cup-bearer. Thomas responds by bursting into a hymn of praise to thdancer and God, in which he prophesies the cup-bearer's death. The cup-bearer is soon killed by a lion while drawing water from a well, and the flute-girl, a Jew herself, immediately breaks her flute and becomes Thomas' first disciple.
The king hears of the miracle and asks Thomas to pray for the success of his daughter's marriage, she being an only child. At the bridal chamber, Thomas blesses the couple and prays to Jesus as "the ambassador that wast sent from the height… who showedst the way that leadeth up unto the height." However, when the groom enters the bridal chamber, he sees a vision of Jesus speaking with the bride. Jesus declares "if ye abstain from this foul intercourse, ye become holy temples." He explains that procreation is an error, since "children become useless, oppressed of devils… they will be caught either in adultery or murder or theft or fornication, and by all these will ye be afflicted." The couple immediately convert, committing themselves to "abstain from foul desire." In the morning, the bride tells her parents: "I am yoked unto a true husband," and her groom gives thanks to Jesus "who
hast removed me far from corruption." The king is understandably upset and commands that Thomas, "the sorcerer," be apprehended.
<< The Gospel of Thomas and the Acts of Thomas maintains an encratic approach to salvation. Encratism is the belief that absolute sexual abstinence was required for salvation.
Writings of Irenaus, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius (“Encratites” 123126) gives us the feeling that there indeed were Christian sects who held it. “The encratites can only loosely be called an identifiable sect, having more of the characteristics of a movement that transcends manysects,” states Hultgren and Haggmark. Currently there is no information available on the individual churches that practiced encratism; the heresiologists only discuss the practice, not the churches that endorsed it. Since the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, encratism can be understood through the writings attributed to the encratites, not just the denouncements from theorthodoxy.
(Book of Thomas the Contender 138:39139:12). “Woe to you who beguile your limbs with fire!” he says and “Woe toyou who love intimacy with womankind and polluted intercourse with them!” (Book ofThomas 144:910, 14). The body is a “beast,” like the lion in the Gospel, that shouldbe restrained. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/59235535.pdf
Thomas meets King Gundaphorus, who learns of his carpentry skills and commands him to build a new royal palace, leaving him with a substantial sum of money to complete the task. Thomas, however, gives the money away to the poor and the sick as an manifestation of God's love for them. The king then imprisons both Thomas and his master, declaring that they will be punished with death. The king's brother, Gad, then takes sick and dies. The angels carry him to heaven and show him a gorgeous house, which they explain was built there for Gundaphorus by Thomas.
We can take this Gundaphores as the King of Indo-Parthian Kingdom with capital at Taxila
But the name of the Pandyan King of Maanaveera Naadu was Kandappa Raja
which which also sounds like Gondaphorus when some one outside of the Tamil
areas says it. So that can also be the alternate kingdom where these events
happened.This is a question of identifying the King and the Kingdom who are
Gad receives permission to return to earth, where he attempts to buy the king's heavenly palace from him. Learning the true value of Thomas' actions, the king releases Thomas from prison and both the king and his brother humble themselves before Thomas, becoming disciples and devoting themselves to the care of the poor. Thomas seals their commitment with a sacrament of holy oil, reciting a liturgical psalm, and invoking the Trinity. In a Gnostic variation, however, he refers to the
Holy Spirit as "Compassionate Mother… she that revealeth the hidden mysteries, Mother of the seven houses."
After this, Thomas continues his preaching, teaching all to "abstain from fornication and covetousness and the service of the belly."
On the road, Thomas encounters the dead body of a handsome youth. A huge black serpent (or dragon) emerges from a nearby hole and declares that he has killed the youth out of jealousy over the youth's sexual intercourse with a beautiful young woman with whom the dragon was enamored. The dragon knows that Thomas is Christ's twin brother and identifies himself as "the son to him that sitteth on a throne over all the earth" and also as he who "spake with Eve the things which my father bade me speak unto her." He also takes credit for inspiring Cain to kill Abel and binding the fallen angels in lust toward human women, in order that children might be born who would do his will. He boasts of hardening Pharaoh's heart, causing the Israelites to sin in the wilderness, and moving Judas Iscariot to deliver up Christ.
Unafraid, Thomas commands the beast to suck out the venom by which he has slain the youth. The young man revives, and the dragon swells up, bursts, and dies. The youth proclaims that he is now free of the lust that caused him to sin with the young woman. He then accompanies Thomas toward the city, and a great multitude of believers join the true faith.
A young donkey then approaches Thomas and miraculously speaks,
addressing him as "Thou Twin of Christ." The colt invites Thomas to
mount him and ride into the city. Thomas asks the colt about his origins, and
he answers that he descends from the very ass who spoke to the prophet Balaam,
and also from the donkey on whom Jesus rode when he entered
Thomas, feeling humbled, declines the colt's offer, but the donkey insists, and Thomas finally consents to mount him. A huge throng of onlookers follows Thomas and the colt. Thomas dismounts and dismisses the ass at the city gate, whereupon the poor colt promptly falls down dead. The crowd implores Thomas to raise the beast from the dead, but he refuses, not because he is unable, but because the colt had already fulfilled his miraculous purpose by speaking and testifying to the work of God. The people then bury the colt by the side of the road at Thomas' command.
Thomas and his throng enter the city, where he is approached by a very beautiful woman, who explains that she has been tormented by the Devil for five years. The trouble began when a "young man" had "foul intercourse" with her in her dream, which he has continued to until the present time. Thomas is outraged at this and commands the Devil to come forth and face him. No one but Thomas and the woman can see the fiend, but all hear him as he shouts: "What have we to do with thee, thou apostle of the Most High! … Wherefore wilt thou take away our power?" Weeping, the Devil says to the woman: "I leave thee, my fairest consort… I forsake thee, my sure sister, my beloved in whom I was well pleased. What I shall do I know not."
He then vanishes, leaving behind only fire and smoke, which were seen by the astonished crowd. Thomas then blesses the crowd and seals the woman and many others in the name of the Trinity.
Those who are sealed then partake of the Eucharist. Once again Thomas speaks of the Holy Spirit as feminine: "She that knoweth the mysteries of him that is chosen… she that manifesteth the hidden things and maketh the unspeakable things plain, the holy dove that beareth the twin young; Come, the hidden Mother… Come and communicate with us in this Eucharist which we celebrate in thy name and in the love."
A young man who has just taken the Eucharist is smitten with withered hands. He confesses that he had been in love with a young woman, but after hearing Thomas' teaching, he determined to refrain from having sex with her, asking her to join him in a spiritual marriage instead. When she refused, he murdered her with a sword, not being able to bear the thought of her having sex with another man. Thomas decries the "insane union" of unrestrained lust and commands the youth to bathe in holy water. They then go to the inn, where the victim's body lies. Thomas prays, and the young man takes his former lover by the hand, whereupon she comes back to life. She testifies that she has been in Hell, which she describes inconsiderable detail. Many people become believers as a result of the miracle and the woman's horrifying testimony.
The wealthy captain of King Misdaeus, later named as Siphor, asks Thomas to help his wife and daughter, who are being tormented by devils that throw them down and strip them naked, even in public. The two woman are so beset by these incubi that they have not been able to sleep or eat properly for three years. Greatly grieved for the man, Thomas first secures his commitment to Jesus and then agrees to help, converting many more believers through his public prayers.
Thomas travels with Siphor in his chariot or coach, but the animals pulling the vehicle soon tire. At Thomas' suggestion, the captain goes to a nearby herd of wild asses and commands four of them, in Thomas' name, to come. Thomas then commands the asses to yoke themselves in the place of the wearied other animals. When the chariot arrives at the captain's home city, Thomas instructs one of the assess to command the devils to come forth. The ass promptly enters Siphor's house and does as Thomas commanded, and the women approach Thomas in a zombie-like state. When Thomas confronts them, they both fall down as if dead, but the spirit inside the older woman speaks. Thomas recognizes him as the same demon he had driven out of the woman in the previous city. The devil pleads that he is only doing what comes naturally to him. Surprisingly, the wild ass now gives a lengthy sermon urging Thomas to act and declaring the doctrine which Thomas normally preaches.
Thomas responds by praising Jesus, the "heavenly word of the Father … the hidden light of the understanding, who shows the way of truth, the driver away of darkness, and blotter-out of error." He then prays: "Let these souls be healed and rise up and become such as they were before they were smitten of the devils." The women are immediately healed. Thomas then leads the wild asses outside the city and dismisses then back to the natural life and a happy ending.
King Misdaeus may represent an anachronchistic version of Vasudeva I,
who is thought to have returned the relics of
Here in the realm of King Misdaeus, Mygdonia, the wife of Prime Minister Charisius, comes to learn of Thomas and his "new god." Because of her arrogant attitude in pressing through the crowd to see him, however, Thomas blesses the servants who carry her palanquin, rather than the great lady herself. He teaches the crowd to abstain first of all from adultery, which he characterizes as "the beginning of all evils." After listening to Thomas' long moral sermon, Mygdonia jumps from her chair and prostrates herself before the apostle. He urges her to rise and instructs her to take off her jewelry and other fine ornaments, and also to refrain from "polluted intercourse with thine husband."
Her husband Charisius later discovers Mygdonia in a depressed state, refusing both to dine or to sleep with him, pleading illness. The next day Charisius leaves home early to salute the king, while Mygdonia goes to attend Thomas. Trouble brews between the couple when Charisius learns of his wife's seeming infatuation with the stranger, whom she calls a physician, but he suspects is a sorcerer. That night she again refuses either to dine or sleep with her husband. "Thou hast no more any room by me," she informs him, "for my Lord Jesus is greater than thou, who is with me and resteth in me." The distraught Charisius cannot hide his anguish from King Misdaeus, who sends immediately for Captain Siphor to deal with the troublemaker. Siphor testifies to the king concerning Thomas' good works. Ultimately, Charisius himself confronts Thomas and brings him before the king. When Thomas refuses to answer the king's questions, he is sentenced to death. In prison, Thomas is not anxious at all. Instead, he sings the remarkable Hymn of the Soul (see below), a Gnostic psalm of remembrance of the value of the spirit and the worthlessness of all material things, including the body.
Charisius, thinking his troubles are over, finds Mygdonia in deep grief over Thomas' fate. Even his own tears do not move her, as she only sits silently looking at the ground during his impassioned entreaties. She insists again that her love is only for Jesus.
Taking ten denarii to bribe Thomas' jailers, Mygdonia is miraculously met by an apparition of Thomas on her way. She is at first frightened, but after Thomas comforts and teaches her, she requests to be "sealed." Taking Thomas to her home, she receives the necessary elements for the ceremony from her nurse, Narcia. Thomas sanctifies her with holy oil, and she then comes to him clad only in a linen cloth to be baptized in a fountain of water. After dressing, she shares the Eucharist with him, and a voice from heaven declares "Yea, Amen!" Narcia, hearing the voice is also converted and receives baptism. Thomas then returns to prison.
The next morning at dawn, Charisius finds Mygdonia and her nurse praying: "O new god that by the stranger hast come hither unto us… turn away from us the madness of Charisius." He is outraged, imploring her to remember their love as bride and groom. She replies:
That bridal chamber is taken down again, but this remaineth always; that bed was strown with coverlets, but this with love and faith. Thou art a bridegroom that passest away and art dissolved, but Jesus is a true bridegroom, enduring for ever immortal. That dowry was of money and robes that grow old, but this is of living words which never pass away.
Charisius goes to the king and demands Thomas' death. King Misdaeus sends for Thomas and offers to let him go free if he will persuade Mygdonia to return to her husband. Back at Charisius' house, Thomas tells Mygdonia to obey Charisius, but she reminds the apostle of his own teaching, declaring that he has said this only "because thou art in fear." Thomas then leaves the house to stay with Captain Siphor, where Thomas baptizes the household and holds communion with them.
Tertia, the wife of King Misdaeus, visits Mygdonia, who testifies to the truth of Thomas' teachings. Tertia immediately goes to Siphor's house and asks to partake in the promise of life that Thomas offers. He accepts her, and she returns to Misdaeus, who is understandably unhappy to hear that the teaching of the "sorcerer" now infects his own wife. He finds Charisius, and the two of them arrest Thomas again as he is teaching at Siphor's house. He is placed under guard awaiting trial by Misdaeus.
Midaeus' son Iuzanes speaks with Thomas and is inspired to help him escape, but Midaeus returns, and Thomas faces trial. He insists that the king has no power over him, and that his fate in is God's hands. The king orders that Thomas be tortured with red-hot iron plates, but a huge spring of water rises up to quench their heat. The king now begs Thomas to pray that the resulting flood will subside, and Thomas complies. Midaeus sends Thomas back to prison, accompanied by Iuzanes and Siphor. Thomas prays once more, including a version of the Lord's prayer, this time seemingly in preparation for death. "I am thine," he declares to his Lord, "and I have kept myself pure from woman, that the temple worthy of thee might not be found in pollution."
Iuzanes, who is chaste though married, wishes to become a disciple and requests that Thomas heal his ailing wife, Mnesara. Tertia, Mygdonia, and Narcia bribe the jailer to allow them entrance to the prison, where they join Iuzanes, Siphon, and Siphon's wife and daughter. Thomas and his band then go to Iuzanes' home, where Mnesara is quickly healed. Mygdonia anoints Mnesara, and Thomas anoints Iuzanes; then Thomas baptizes the couple, after which they share the Eucharist.
Thomas returns to his prison, together with Tertia, Mygdonia, and Narcia. On the way, he declares to them and "the multitude" a final message in preparation for his departure. He stresses that they must focus on Christ, not himself, and should hope in his coming.
Misdaeus now places Thomas on trial again. The apostle confesses that he is the slave of Jesus. Taking him out of the city for fear of the crowds, the king commands four soldiers and an officer to take him to a nearby mountain and slay him there with spears. Iuzanes persuades the soldiers to allow Thomas to pray before his death. Thomas concludes his prayer and then invites the soldiers to do their duty. They pierce him with their spears, and he dies.
While Siphor and Iuzanes keep watch over his body, Thomas appears to them and asks: "Why sit ye here and keep watch over me? I am not here, but I have gone up and received all that I was promised." Thomas is buried with great honor, and with much mourning.
After this, the husbands of Mygdonia and Tertia badly mistreat their
wives in a vain attempt to force them to perform their conjugal duty, but the
two saints bravely hold up, and eventually their husbands allow them to live in
chastity. Siphor becomes a presbyter and Iuzanes a deacon, and the church grows
rapidly under their leadership. Thomas' bones are transferred to
As one can see the Acts of Thomas starts with the mission to
I am certain of the ministry of Thomas in Yemen, sometime though it is
difficult to ascertain, It may well have been after AD 50 around the time of
Soccotran ministry. While in Taxila he went around 4 and a half years in
Gondophares-Sases (20-45 CE)was probably the Gondaphores we are
interested in whose term ended around 45 AD. Later the Gupta empire slowly
ousted the Gondaphores dynastry from Northen end till they ceased to exist.
This may be why Thomas had to leave North India by boat when he was ship
Additional details of his earlier mission journey surrounds the three magi (or were there
more ?)from Indian continent from North and South and their baptism. These are now available due to further archealogical search and are now added to this book.
The Book of the Saints of The
ON APOSTLE THOMAS’ MINISTRY
Some of the apostolic missions of
Later on, the king asked him about his achievements, and St. Thomas
answered: "The palaces that I built were the souls that have become the
temples of the King of Glory; the carpentry that I did was the Gospel that
removes the thorns of sin; and the medicines I practiced are the Holy Mysteries
which heal the poison of the evil one. The king became angry and tortured him,
and bound him among four poles, cut off his skin and rubbed his wounds with
salt and lime.
Lukios’ wife saw him suffering, and she fell from the window and died.
Lukios came to him and said: "If you raise my wife from the dead, I
believe in your God."
According to church tradition,
Glory be to God who is glorified by His saints!!
•Ethiopic Synaxarium, on 3 June.
•Coptic Orthodox Church Network (http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/9_26.html)
•Wikipedia, the free encyclo.,(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_the_Apostle#Feast_days).
John 19: 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother and her sister, as well as Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.”27Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home.…
Thus we know for certain is that Mary lived with
Some say she returned to
Legend says she died after the ninth hour, which is the same time as Our Lord.
Legend says that Peter anointed the body with Myrrh laid in the armpits and bosom of her body as well as between the shoulders and the neck, chin and cheeks. Her body was
then wrapped in a gravecloth and placed in a wicker coffin. On her breast was laid a wreath of red, white, and sky-blue flowers. The coffin was taken to the cave where she was buried.
While St. Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia, the ancient Salamina, in
the isle of
“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the
Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Kerala Tradition starts from AD 52 only when Thomas arrived in
Kodungallur. If Thomas landed in Taxila in AD 40 this will give him a period of
12 years of ministry in the Northern India, Parthia and China. It is probably
during this period the Apostle traveled to
The House believed to be where Mother Mary lived under the care of
Apostle John in
Jesus is also present in this figure carrying a baby - the soul of Mary.
This is a reverse Mother and Child - Just as Mary carried the swadling baby Jesus, here Jesus carry the Soul of Marium.
Mary after her death was placed in a sacrophage.
While all the other Apostles were there when she was placed in the sacrophage, Thomas as usual was absent. When he reached there, he wanted see the body of Mary. When the Sacrophage was openned her body was said to be missing.
Apostle Thomas came late and when the Sacrophagus was opened the body of Mary was found missing. This gave rise to the doctrine of Domition.
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church,
Apocryphal Story of the Assumption of Mary and Apostle Thomas
In the Apocryphal work, 'Assumption of Mary' (c.400) is found an
account which tells how Thomas, who was in
"And Thomas also answered and said: And I, traversing the country of the Indians,when the preaching was prevailing by the grace of Christ, and the king's sister's son Labdanus by name, was about to be sealed by me in the palace, on a sudden the Holy Spirit says to me, Do thou also, Thomas, go to Bethlehem to salute the mother of thy Lord, because she is taking her departure to the heavens. And a cloud of light having snatched me up, set me down beside you." (From the Greek)
<<"Then the most blessed Thomas was suddenly brought to the
Mount of Olivet, and saw the most blessed body going up to heaven, and began to
cry out and say: O holy mother, blessed mother, spotless mother, if I have now
found grace because I see thee, make thy servant joyful through thy compassion,
because thou art going to heaven. Then the girdle with which the apostles had
encircled the most holy body was thrown down from heaven to the blessed Thomas.
And taking it, and kissing it, and giving thanks to God, he came again into the
And they all prayed for him. Then the blessed Thomas said: Where have you laid her body? And they pointed out the sepulcher with their finger. And he said: The body which is called most holy is not there.
Then the blessed Peter said to him: Already on another occasion thou wouldst not believe the resurrection of our Master and Lord at our word, unless thou went to touch Him with thy fingers, and see Him; how wilt thou believe us that the holy body is here? Still he persists saying: It is not here. Then, as it were in a rage, they went to the sepulcher, which was a new one hollowed out in the rock, and took up the stone; but they did not find the body, not knowing what to say, because they had been convicted by the words of Thomas.
Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in
which they had put about her, glorifying God, all asked pardon of the blessed Thomas, on account of the benediction which the blessed Mary had given him, and because he had seen the most holy body going up into heaven. And the blessed Thomas gave them his benediction, and said: Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!">>
The Holy Belt, according to the tradition, was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself with camel hair. The Empress Zoi, wife of Leo 6th the Wise, out of gratitude for her miraculous cure, embroidered the Belt with gold thread, as it is found today, but divided in three pieces. Originally it
was being kept in
Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s death nor her Assumption into heaven.
The concept of dormition is not the same as going to heaven in their bodies as Elijah and Enoch and Jesus did. 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Here Mary is considered as one of the first fruits of resurrection after Jesus paid the price of Sin. The assumption of body of Mary is a symbol of the resurrection of the church where the dead in Christ will rise and they will receive a translated body and be with Christ.
However, many believe that Mary returned to
Steps down to the Tomb of Mary (Seetheholyland.net)
Stone bench where the body was laid - now empty
Entrrance into the tomb of Mary
Thomas returned to
Who the magi were is not specified in the Bible; there are only traditions. Since English translations of the Bible refer to them as "men who studied the stars", they are believed to have been astrologers, who could foresee the birth of a "Messiah" from their study of the stars. The very first chapter of the Bible defines that the 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for isigns and for jseasons, and for days and years,
Bible does not number or their regal status nor their names. The number three probably came just because three gifts are specified. In the west these are defined :
Caspar is often considered to be an Indian scholar. An article in the 1913 Encyclopædia Britannica
states that "according to Western church tradition, Balthasar is
often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of
Caspar as a king of India."
However there are equally strong traditions for a number 12 which may be a better estimation. May be there were many more. They were probably accompanied by a large retinue of guards and servants that it might have constitued an army like entry which would cause concern for Herod the King.”
When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in
Some consider Caspar to be King Gondophares (AD 21 – c.AD 47) mentioned
in the Acts of Thomas. Others consider Magi to have come from the southern
There are some who consider that Caspar’s kingdom was located in the
region of Egrisilla in India Superior on the peninsula that forms the eastern
side of the Sinus Magnus (
The Magi are now not considered by some to have been kings. The
reference to "kings" is believed to have originated due to the
reference in Psalms "The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer
presents; the kings of the Arabians and of
The “City of
What did they do after their journey to Bethelhem and returning to
Evidently Thomas arrived in Taxila the capital of the
The second magi was from the
The Third magi was the King of the
Hence we should expect that after the baptism of Gondaphorus Thomas
travelled to South India to meet the two other Magi from
NEW DISCOVERY ON ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE by Fr. Pancras M. Raja is the basic source of this period .
“Joao de Barros, the Portuguese historian, in his book, “Asia de Joao Barros, dos fectos que od Portuguese fizeram no descobrimento & conquista dos mares & teras do Oriente,” published after 1563, relates, “a king of the island of Ceilam, called Primal, went in a ship to the coast of Muscat, to join other kings, who were going to adore the Lord, at Bethlehem, and that he was the third.”
“………..An early king of
Source: www.bahamaswriter.com/magi.htm - 48k -
There is a tradition that this Peria Perumal (Kandappa rasa) came to
Thomas the Apostle of India” (1971, pages 32 and 33) as follows:
“Peria Perumal, the King of Jaffna (
me His life and teachings and baptize me. The Saint, accepting the request and having instructed on the life and teachings of the Saviour, baptized him as Gaspar.”
Kandapparasa was one of the kings of “Ukkiraperuvazhuthi”, the Pandian
The late P.V. Mathew, an author, and researcher, states that a unique nomadic tribe (the Fakir community with a Hindu outlook) by the name Barthuma (Aramaic) existed in the Thatta region of Sindh Province of Pakistan. Rev R. A Totter, an Anglican Missionary, once had an encounter with them. During the encounter, they showed him the original copy of the Gospel in their possession but were reluctant to hand over a copy. They might still be wandering in the deserts of Balochistan or elsewhere. We are not sure about their fate.
It is also interesting to note that the ‘Brahuian’ people who live in
Brahui People. Pic- Wiki
There are over 2 million Brahuin people in
Legend based on the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient
documents suggests that
Bardaisan, writing in about 196, speaks of Christians throughout
Media, Parthia and Bactria and, according to Tertullian (c.160–230), there were
already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220. By the time of
the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of
the Church of the East in northwest
In 409, the Church of the East (also sometimes called the
In 424, Bishop Afrid of Sakastan, an area which covered southern
Bardaisan (154 AD–222 AD) the Gnostic Bishop (formerly a Syriac
Orthodox Prelate) in his book ‘The Account of India’ (which he wrote after
interviewing wandering Monks from
“There are other facts which seem to indicate a northern locus for
CHURCH OF THE KINGS
RAJAKALUDEY PALLY PIRAVAM
The Search for the Twelve Apostles by William Steuart McBirnie quoting Prof. Mundalan
" According to a stone inscription which the Christians of
St.Thomas read and interpreted for Roz, the Apostle converted 3 principal kings
of India: that of Bisnaga called by them Xoren Porumal, that of Pandi called
Pandi Perumal and that of all Malabar called Xaran Perumal. Fr.Guerreiro found
in a Chaldean book that the Apostle had converted six kings and three emperors:
the emperors correspond to Roz's three principal kings. The Pandi kingdom,
according to Guerreiro, corresponded to the then existing
Eastern Churches believes that there were at least twelve magi who
visited baby Jesus when he was two years old. According to George Nedungatt
“…where Thomas first arrived was the
This is even today called the “Church of the Kings”
Piravam Valiya Pally in Muvattupuzha river at Piravom, is popularly known as the 'Church of the Kings' (“Rajakkalude Pally”). "The place-name Piravom means “Nativity" or “Birth”. It is believed that three of the wise men who were experts in Astronomy came from this area. Indian traditions assigns other Kings from Kerala as well.
When the three king returned, they built a church to woship infant Jesus
on this mount. Kaniyanparambil Kurian Corepiscopa in the History of St.Thomas
(Page. 15; Suriyani Sabha) states that
Kandapparasa, one of the Magi kings ruled the kingdom known as Maanaveera Nadu (which means the land of the Brave Men).
Maanaveeranaadu was recorded in the ancient inscriptions as “Velli Pon Veesum Veeramulla Naadu.” It means - a brave country glistening with Silver and gold. It was a Pandyan Kingdom in the Southern part of India extending all the way from Thiruchendur to the cape Kanya Kumari (which means Virgin Women and into the island of Ceylon.
This Southern Pandian Kingdom between Thiruchendur and Kanyakumari was
covered by a huge sand hill since the year 1649. So the fact of
This King Kandhappar (Gaspar) was reigning the Southern Pandian
Kingdom which at that time consisted of
Gaspar was the youngest of the three kings. He brought frankincense to the Christ Child.
Some scholars assume in the story of Acts of Thomas, that it was this KIng who send Abbas to bring an architect to build his palace and then applies the rest of the development to Periya Perumal (Big King) and Chinna Perumal (Younger King his brother) instead of the Gondaphores of Taxila and his brother Dan. After all, Gondaphores and Kandappa Raja sound similar.
Now there is a tradition that this Peria Perumal came to south
'Church of the Kings' , Muvattupuzha
An ancient painting in the church
(St. Mary with infant Jesus being worshipped by MAGI)
St. Mary's Jacobite Syrian Cathedral (Popular name: Piravom Valiyapally)
is located in Piravom, Ernakulam Dt.,
About 2000 years ago, "…after the birth of Jesus Christ in
Bethlehem of Judaea, in the days of king Herod the "Wisemen" from the
east (The Magi) reached Bethlehem through Jerusalem. The "star" they
saw in the east was moving to direct them till they reached the birthplace of
Infant Jesus… They saw the young child on the lap of mother Mary, knelt down
and worshipped him. They opened their treasures and presented gifts to him:
Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh (
t is the only church in the name of the Magi which claims to have started by the Magi themselves. This Church is now associated with the Patriarch of Antioch,
During the 5th Century, this building may have been rebuilt as a Christian church as we now see, " Piravom Valiyapally"
"The place-name Piravom itself is related to piravi(Birth)" When Apostle Thomas came here, after instructing them of the way that Jesus taught they were baptised as Christians.
It is believed that, in the beginning, this church building was in the architectural style of other indian temples essentially following the Buddhist tradition which was the popular religion of Kerala at that time. . the church building was renovated adopting the Persian architecture. The picture of fish, an ancient Christian emblem has a venerable place in the church. The Church was built as a strong fort; having been built in the periods of "Padayottam" (civilwars and banditry) its walls are more than four feet in thickness.
John of Hildesheim’s Historia Trium Regum or History of the Three
Kings, a text belonging to the 14th century, says Balthasar, Melchior and
Caspar (he already uses these traditional names) were from
worshiping Christ, they returned together to
The Shrine of the Three Kings.
Two hundred years later, John of Hildesheim explains, St. Helena, the
mother of the emperor Constantine, traveled to
It is placed above and behind the high altar of Cologne Cathedral.
Who were the Magi, really? https://aleteia.org/201<<===========================================
It was in this
Manavazha Veera Nadu was one among the five vazhanadus of the late Pandiyas. The last ruler of Manaveeravazhanadu was one (Manatachia alais Aabathukuthai) meaning (savior at the dead the end). along with other few chieftains. He ruled the Manaveeravazhanadu along with four other valzha nadu kings. After their demise they have seen worshiped by locals as deities (Anju Veetu Samy). The ruler had his capital at arasoor as the domicile of the kings.
“Excavations (1799) have revealed the existence of a church below the
said sand hill of Maanaveera Naadu dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and an
ancient wooden Statue of Our Lady. St. Francis Xavier while tracing out the
W. Faber D.D. (1923) in his “The Life of St. Francis Xavier” (page, 67).The present Church of Manal Matha Kovil replaces earlier churches built on the same site going back to the time of St. Thomas The Apostle” (Fr. Pancras M. Raja)
Athisaya Manal Matha Church, Sokkan Kudieruppu.
http://manalmatha.blogspot.com/2009/04/history-of-church.html https://www.facebook.com/118359141597639/photos/a.235997663167119/333801430053408/?type= 1&theater
Reference Books to learn more about Athisaya Manal Matha ( in Tamil Language )
1."Punitha Thomayarum, Aposthalargalum " - by V.C.George
2." Thomasin Natpadigal " - by Judos
3." Manaveera Nadu " - by Alex Muthiah
4." Madhuravil 50 Aandu " by Deniskushan Aayar
“In the first century AD,
During the first century A.D., the southern tip of
With the blessing of Lord Jesus, St.Thomas healed the sufferings of King and his family. The king was surprised by the miraculous powers of St.Thomas.
St.Thomas preached Christianity to the King and his followers and they soon started following Christianity. St.Thomas renamed the King as "Sabor".
As a mark of respect, the King donated 3 cents of land to St.Thomas to
build a church fin the name of Mother Mary. As per tradition in those days,
St.Thomas built the church with palm leaves. This piece of land was the first
In this church, St.Thomas embibed a holy cross made of wood and instructed the people to pray the cross. St.Thomas marked the letters INRI on the top portion of the cross. During St. Xavier 's visit In the 16th century, he re-built the church following the Roman style.
We are not sure of the period when Tiruvalluvar of the Sangam period
lived. It is quite possible that he was a contemperory of St.Thomas. In that
case he must have been influenced by the principles of Christianity and if he
was honest enough must have become a disciple of Thomas. G.U.Pope the first principal
It has been suggested that King Gandhappar, requested
A critical study on the existing story of “Thiruvalluvar”, the “Deiva
Pulavar” will show that the super - eminent character of the person, the divine
eloquence of the doctrines, and the un-equivalent style of the literature could
be attributed to the Christian doctrines of
Thirukkural is divided into three parts -
Arathupal (Notes on Dharma), Porutpal (Notes on country), and Kaamaththupal (Notes on Love and Married Life).
It consists of 133 chapters and each chapter has its own title like Kadavul Vaazhththu, Kallamai and Arivutamai.
Every chapter has 10 Kurals each. In total, 2660 lines are in the Thirukkural.
This classical work has some other names like Dravidavedam, Uththaravedam, Poyyamozhi, Muppanool and Daivanool.
Refer to the following doctoral thesis:Comparative study of the Bible, Thirukkural and Saiva siddhanta
- by Dr. M. Deivanayagam, Origin and Development of Tamil Bhakti Movement - in the Light of the Bible - by Dr. D. Devakala,
Six Darshanas and the Religions of the Tamils - in the Light of Bible - by Dr.J.D. Baskara Das The Songs of Tamil Siddhars and the Bible by Dr. Moses Michael Faraday and
Trinity in Tamil Literature by Dr. Johnson Thankiah
Tiruvalluvar, The disciple of Thomas
As per Tamil tradition, Tiruvalluvar is believed to have lived some time during the 1st millennium AD. While most scholars place him between 100 and 300 AD, there are a few who consider him to have lived around 600 A.D. and therefore certainly within the Kalabhra era. Maraimalai AdigaL did extensive research on the date of thiruvaLLuvar. While presiding over the Thiruvalluvar Day conference of Thiruvalluvar Kazhagam held on 18 Jan 1935, he declared that thiruvalluvar was born 30 years before the birth of Jesus. His suggestion was that the Tamil Thiruvalluvar year can be obtained by adding 31 years to the Christian Calender. (http://tamilelibrary.org/teli/tvazthu.html) So when Thomas landed in Kerala he was probably in his 80s, a respected old man, full of wisdom. Even if the dates are little off the mark, it is almost certain that he was a in the right place and time to be a disciple of St.Thomas and within the margin or errors of the relevant datings of the periods. In 1975 Dr. M. Deivanayakam and Dr. R. Arulappa. co-authored the book Perinba Villakku in which Tiruvalluvar is represented as one of the first disciples of St.Thomas in the Mylapore area.
Like all other Indian scriptures, the trend of the orthodox hindu is to predate everyone and every document way back into antiquity. New tactics is to post date Valluvar to avoid his presence during the time of Apostle Thomas. Thus the Hindutvas consider Tirukkural as composed during Sangam period (500-200 BC). However C. Rajagopalachari,( Indian independence activist with Gandhi, leader of the Indian National Congress who was the last Governor-General of India who after independence served as the Premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of Madras state, the founder of the Swatantra Party and the first recipient of Bharat Ratna) says that Kural belongs to a period anterior to 2nd century CE. Some scholars put it in the 1st century BC. Some put the date between 200 BC to 800 CE. Some even to 1000 CE.
After composing and presenting the Deiva Nool (Doctrines of St.
Thomas), the Saint began his preaching tour in the towns and villages of the
Villages were: Korkai, Kayal, Kombuthurai and Thiruchendur in the
Maanaveera Vazhanaadu; Manapadu, Periathlai, Kooduthalai and Ovari in the
Maanaveera Naadu; and Muttappathi (now Chinna Muttam) and
There were two islands, one near the
Since the Pandyan King was ruling
“Historia Ecclesiastica of Nikephoros Xanthopulos written from
In the 5th century during the Sigiriya period, 75 ships carrying
Murundi Christian soldiers from Mangalore (
Cosmos Indicopleustes, an Egyptian monk who visited
Cosmos Indicopleustes who wrote in the sixth century that - “Even in Taprobane, and island in Further India, where the Indian sea is, there is a church of Christians, with clergy and a body of believers, but I know not whether there be any Christians in the parts beyond it.” (Cosmos Indicopleustes - Christian Typography, edited with English Translations by J. M. McCrindle, London: Hakluyt Society, 1897 p.118 quoted by T V Philip p. 155).
Similar cross is also found in
“In the cross rising from the lotus, the passion of Christianity finds its place in the Eastern symbol of being rooted in this world but rising above it to full beauty and fulfillment.” (Martin Palmer - The Jesus Sutras, pg. 9).
His mission then led to Thiruvithancode - modern Travancore - where he is said to have lived in a cave. Surprisingly this cave is over three kilometer long and connects it to the King’s Palce. This palace is now a Church.
The entrance to the cave and the Raja's residence having the cave
inside Now converted into the
During the period of struggle between the Ettuveetil Pillayars and King Marthanda Varma of Travancore (1729 - 1758), the King could escape the raiders through this cave. This is what became the Arapally later because of the connection with the Kings.
Apparently Thomas spent his time on a nearby hill meditating and praying for a long time. He has left a foot print in that site which is now a reverred spot.
Thomas’ foot print and Kissing the footprint
You can see the stone where he might have been sitting.
After these Apostle Thomas went back to Taxila to continue his mission among the Parthas.
The Gondaphores of Apostle Thomas was Gondaphorus V . The
Thus by AD 50 Apostle Thomas was forced to leave the
Within a few years of the arrival of Thomas in Taxila, the empire of
The remains of the
Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889 -1929)
was an Indian Christian missionary. He is believed to have died in the
foothills of the
Sadhu Sundar Singh was said to have been rescued by members of the "Sannyasi Mission"—secret disciples of Jesus wearing Hindu markings, whom he claimed to have found all over India.
The secret Sannyasi Mission is reputed to have numbered around 24,000
The origins of this brotherhood were reputed to be linked to one of
the Magi at Christ's nativity and then the second century AD disciples of the
apostle Thomas circulating in
Speaking of the Nestorians and their Apostolic origins Stewart says,
"The center of this marvelous church was first in
https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1414385358 William Steuart McBirnie)
In this Northern part of
Fakir Community living in Tatta Nagar BarThomai
Bardaisan (154 AD–222 AD) St. Panthaenus (200-2010)
P.V. Mathew & Rev R. A Totter, an Anglican Missionary,
Nomadic tribe (the Fakir communitywith a Hindu outlook) by the name Barthuma (Aramaic) existed in the Thatta region of Sindh Province of Pakistan.
VOLUME 8| issUe 4 January 2019 THOMAS CHRISTIANS OF INDIAS.
Pragasi Arul Jothi1and Dr. M. S.Thangam
When St.Thomaspreached the Gospel in
Thana Gujarat; Abati in central India Udaipur in the Malwa kingdom, on the Western Coast Goa, Mysore, Orissa, Patna and other places in Eastern India along the banks of the Ganges4.Patna was a renowned metropolitan city .In the year 1222 AD, Marco Poloinformed in his account that there were six Christian kingdoms in central India during the thirteenth century. Among them three were Christian and three were Saracen.
There are Christian communities in the mouth of river Indus that
By presenting a paper dealing with Udaipur. Inscription, at the XII International Congress of Orientelists held at the ‘Academia’ del Lincei on 13 October 1899. According to him the temple was built by one of the first desciples of St.Thomas and perhaps St.Thomas himself laid its foundation
After its ruin it was rebuilt by Sangai Vardha king of Sac in the middle of XI century AD.
Textor de Ravisi Explains "The truth is that the
The Sanskrit inscription of the Church states as follows:
“Amen.He is the only son of the most Blessed Lady. May he be praised. Glory be to Him who the son of the most High! O you the triple eye of this marvelous universe the author of all that passes and the producer of the breath which will endure forever, invisible being which art not limited by space and which having once assumed our flesh dost not cast off his raiment in the infinite grace of thy nature”.
This Church was dedicated to Mother Mary. During its rededicating ceremony 4339 people attended Pope Nicholas II (1058 AD -1061 AD) sent a holy relic that was enclosed by a metal ……
.Besides, the inscription mentions the names of the contemporary sovereign as below:….
Frank incense tree
The Indo-Parthian Empire was over ran by the great Kushan Dynasty
around 50 A.D, and the Apostle Thomas set sail to the Southern Parts of India.
But tricky as the monsoon winds are he was shipwrecked and was pushed ashore in
Socotra or Soqotra is a small archipelago of four islands in the
G.W.B. Huntingford remarks that the name
“The earliest mention of the existence of Christians on that island is
that by Philostorgius, the
“Cosmas Indicopleustes, before the middle of the sixth century
(Topographia Christiana, Migne, P.Gr.-L., tom. lxxxviii. col. 170), says:
‘Similarly on the island named of Dioscoris [the Greek name for Socotra],
situated in the same
placed there by the Ptolemies, the successors of Alexander of Macedon,
there are clergy ordained in
“The Arab travellers of the ninth century, whose narrative was published by Reinaud, with Arabic text and a translation in French, in two small volumes, Paris, 1845, mention Christians on the island (vol.i.p.130): ‘The same sea holds the island of Socotra.... The greater part of the inhabitants are Chris-tians.’
“Abulfeda (Reinaud’s Géographie d’ Aboulféda,
“Marco Polo, a.d. 1294, also mentions these
Christian inhabitants (vol. ii., ut supr., pp. 398-399):
‘ Further towards the south you come to an island
“Assemani (Bibl. Or., tom. ii.p. 458 ff.) gives two lists of the sees
under the Nestorian Catholicus or Patriarch. In the second, which is that by
Elias, a Nestorian Bishop of Damascus, the see of Socotra is placed under
the Metropolitan of Persia, and this appears to be the older of the two lists;
while in the first list, that given by Amr’, son of Matthew, of about
a.d. 1349 (Bibl. Or.., tom.ii. p. 425), Socotra is placed as the eleventh
Metropolitan see under the name of Katraba. No date can be assigned to
the au-thorship of the first list. Lequien (Oriens Christiana, tom. ii.
col. 1290) mentions the transfer of one Elias from the see of
“Nicolò Conti, c. 1435, visited Socotra and spent two months there (R.H. Major’s India in the Fifteenth Century, London, Hakluyt Society, 1857, p. 20 of narrative): ‘ this island produces Socotrine aloes, is six hundred miles in circumference, and is, for the most part, inhabited by Nestorian Christians.’
“The evidence of the local tradition mentioned before is contained in
St. Francis Xavier’s letter written from Goa, 18th September 1542, to the
‘ After sailing from Melinda we touched at
often repeat a word which is like our Alleluia. The Caciz never baptize any one, nor do they know the least what baptism is. Whilst I was there I baptized a number of children, with the utmost good will of the parents. Most of them showed great eagerness to bring their children to me, and made such liberal offerings out of their pov-erty of what they had to give, that I have been afraid to refuse the dates which they pressed upon me with such great good will. They also begged me over and over again to remain with them, promising that every single person in the island would be baptized. So i begged the Governor to let me remain where I found a harvest so ripe and ready to be gathered in. But as the island has no Portuguese garri-son, and it is exposed to the ravages of the Mussulmans, the Governor would not hear of leaving me, fearing that I might be carried off as a slave. So he told me that I should soon be among other Chris-tians who were not less, perhaps more, in need than the Socotrians of instruction and spiritual assis-tance, and amongst whom my work would be better spent.
‘One day I went to Vespers as recited by the Caciz; they lasted an hour. There was no end to their repetitions of prayers and incensations; the churches are always full of incense. Though their Caciz have wives, they are extremely strict in regard to abstinence and fasting. When they fast they abstain not only from flesh meat and milk, but from fish also, of which they have a great supply. So strict is their rule that they would rather die than taste anything of the kind. They eat nothing but vegetables and palm dates. They have two Lents, during which they fast; one of these lasts two months. If any one is profane enough to eat meat during that time, he is not allowed to enter the church.
“The customs described as prevailing among the Christians of the island are those peculiar to Nestorian Christians.
“The Carmelite Friar Vincenzo Maria di Santa Catarina (Viaggio alle Indie Orientali, Venezia, 1683, lib. v. cap. ix.p.472), describing the state of the island on his voyage home about the middle of the sev-enteenth century, found Christianity quite extinct, with but some faint traces of Christian names yet lingering.
W. B. Huntingford notes that
“The inhabitants seem always to have been a mixed people. Some of them
at one period were Christians, converted it was said by
The locals lived essentially in caves until very recently. So most of our evidences are found in the cave drawings.
It is said that Apostle Thomas was shipwrecked and landed in the
Indian seafarers have been stranded due to Cyclone Mekunu which hit that area a few days back. Scocotra is about 1,180 nautical miles from Mumbai.
This is quite reasonable knowing that in 1897, in spite of all the advances in Marine navigation technology a British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company ship Aden sank after being wrecked on a reef near Socotra, , with the loss of 78 lives. In the first centuries, the island itself was inaccessable to the outside world because of the wind and climatic conditions of the sea.
A cave drawing in
Line drawing of the motifs found on panel 1 in Dahaisi cave.
We can discern cross motives above.
Soqotra Heritage Project in 2018,
has expanded upon this corpus, locating and recording 187 rock art motifs that include feet, cupules, a ship, various geometric patterns, cruciform shapes, several plant-like motifs, and a script
An altar stone discovered in the island
“ Firstly, it appears that with the arrival of Christianity the cruciform shape became the most predominant symbol. However, it appears that the cross may have been placed besides the foot symbology not only in an apotropaic manner, but also as a form of syncretism.
This syncretic behaviour is noted in both historically and ethnographic accounts, which remark that in spite of the inhabitants being Christian and revering the cross, they were also involved in a number of pagan rituals (Snell 1955; Yule and Cordier 1993, p. 407). It could also be argued that this was very much the case within Dahaisi cave, with its long sequence rock art that appears to demonstrate a change from earlier pagan symbology, to later Christian cruciform shapes and Arabic inscriptions.
This long sequence also shows that, despite recent folkloric
traditions to the contrary, the Soqotri were not only entering caves but
spending time within them.”Julian Jansen van RensburgRock Art of
We notice the foot symbology in most of the Apostle Thomas mission
areas even in the
Local tradition holds that the inhabitants were converted to Christianity by Thomas the Apostle in AD 51.
In 880, an Ethiopian expeditionary force conquered the island, and a Nestorian bishop was consecrated. The Ethiopians were later dislodged by a large armada sent by Imam Al-Salt bin Malik of Oman.
In the 10th century, the Arab geographer Abu Muhammad al-Hasan
al-Hamdani stated that in his time most of the inhabitants were Christians.
Socotra is also mentioned in The Travels of Marco Polo; Marco Polo did not pass
anywhere near the island but recorded a report that "the inhabitants are
baptised Christians and have an 'archbishop'" who, it is further
explained, "has nothing to do with the Pope in
Penguin Books. pp. 296–297.
Frankincense, the resin produced by a species of Boswellia, was one of the most valuable commodities produced in the ancient world. Highly prized as fragrant incense, it was also widely used in medicine, cosmetics, and even cuisine.
Frankincense is obtained from the dried sap of the wild growing
boswellia trees of
Did one of the magi came from Socotro also?
Dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari),
One of the most striking of
The monsoon season brings these areas cloud, drizzle and sea mists – and the dragon trees’ leaves intercept this airborne moisture, channelling it towards root systems shaded by a dense, umbrella- shaped canopy. The dragon tree’s strange looks and ancient age belie a species expertly adapted to its environment.
This remarkable tree has been economically important for centuries. Local people value it as food for livestock: feeding very small quantities of berries to cows and goats improves their health, though they cause sickness in excess.
The tree is perhaps best known for the red resin it is named after. Known to Socotris as ‘emzoloh’, this has a range of traditional medicinal uses. Referred to by the ancients as ‘cinnabar’, it was well known in trade before 60AD; and the dye ‘dragon’s blood’ is thought to have been responsible for the intense colour of Stradivarius violins.
Bottle Tree (desert rose - adenium obesum) on the
Ancient mythology of the country paints a picture of a magical bird, called Phoenic, a radiant and shimmering, bird which lives in socotra and lived a long
five hundred years before it dies by bursting into flames. It is then
reborn from the ashes, in a twinkling of the eye to start a new life. The
"Then I thought, ‘I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days like the phoenix.’ " (Job 29:18)
This evidently is a symbol of resurrection and immortality which is the ultimate hope of Adamic race.
We can surmise that the mission of Thomas in Socotro took around an
year or less and Thomas continued his journey to
Nasranis of Kerala (ancient Malabar)
The Nasranis of
However, recent DNA analysis results suggest significant Middle
Eastern / Israelite components among the Nasranis, also known as Mar Thoma (
Archaeologists in Kerala have discovered a 2000-year-old port
settlement probably dating back to the first BC to third AD, in Pattanam about
50 km from the modern day port city of
The Rambaan Pattu was originally written by Maliyekal Rambaan Thomas who was the disciple of Apostle Thomas as a means of coveying the Acts of Apostle Thomas to the coming generation. It was in song form which were transmitted orally as the performers presented it during festivities as an Art.
It was initally written down by Rambaan Thomas II, the son of Ramban
Thomas I originally in Persian in Edesa sometime around the second century. It
was based on the stories from South India and from the
The following is the Malayalam version which emerged in 1601 AD as written down by another Ramban Thomas.
I give the translation also.
The Songs of Rambaan Thomas
The Story of the Ministry of
As handed over by the first disciple of Apostle
Finally written down in 1601 AD
You can download the Ramban paattu from this site : http://www.nasranifoundation.org/downloads.html
By tradition these songs were written by Thomas Rambaan the first Brahmin convert to Christianity Which is handed down through generations and written down in 1601by one of the descendents of Malyekal Thomas another Rambaan Thomas.
By the grace of the true Triune God, may I be able to tell the story of the good works of Apostle Thomas
Kay the grace of the incarnate Mesiah be invoked through the good works of Apostle Thomas. Let the grace of Mother Mary also be with us.
I will describe in summary how the Way of the Son of God was brought into Kerala by the grace of grace of God.
Mar Thoma who was the son of the uncle of the Way of Grace, entered in
the ship along with servant of Chola Perumal and travelled across the
Then he went to Mailepuram (
He stayed four and a half months in
He took some more money from the Chola King for additional work. He spent all of that money for the improvement the poor to whom he showed the Way
After he had been there for about a month, the son-in-law of the Rajah of Thiruvanchikulam came to him and begged him kissing his feet to return to Malabar. So they took ship and came to Maliankara on AD 51 in the month of Dhanu.
where the apostle converted the Rajah and his family, along with 3000 unbelievers, 40 Jews who were migrants to the country within a period of one and half years and were baptised.
He preached to the people, built a church with a cross, and ordained priests and appointed some to be teachers of the law. He conveyed to them the secrets of the Way.
One of the first whom he consecrated was the Rajah Andraos’ son-in-law and was called Kepha.
Accompanied by Kepha he went to south to the citi of Quilon where he set up a cross and baptized 2400 people.
He proceded to Noth-East and reached Trikpaleswaram. In an year 1000 people were baptised where as his practice established a cross for worship.
From Quilon, he went easr on to Chayal, in the mountains, and Stayed there a whole year and baptized 1100 people and set up a cross there also. Along with liturgical services he established a cross there also.
At the request of the elders of Tripaleswaram, he returned to that village. But when he saw that the people had desecrated the cross the believers worshipped and which he had set up, he cursed that place. Nonetheless, he remained there for two months. He once more set up a cross and instructed the people so that they should no longer return to heathen ways and ordained as a priest Thomas, one of the elders who had remained true to his faith.
During these two months that he stayed in Tripaleswaram He strengthened all the Christians in their faith and converted another two hundred to faith.
Not far from there, further south, he built the
went to the
He again visited Kottakavu Parur, stayed almost a year there and converted and baptized1700 people and established a cross and the ways of worship.
From there he went to Maliankara along the southern road, and was pleasantly surprised to see the flourishing state of the Christian community there. He stayed there only two weeks and went away to the north, to Palayur, where in one year he baptized 1050 people and according to his custom set up a beautiful cross and taught them the methods of worship
Towards the end of the year 59 AD month of Dhanu he returned to Mailepuram with the King’s people who reached him by then. He inquired about the construction of the palace and when he could not see the palace Thomas was placed in chains. The King’s brother died because of the anger when he saw the palace in heaven. He got resurrected and told the King about it. The two kings along with their attendants went to the jail with great procession and got Mar Thoma in their chariot and went back home. They begged him to pardon their great and many sins.
They asked Mar Thoma many questions to know the truth and when they understook subjected themselves to the baptism. Along with them 2000 people also joined the way and for their worship a place and a cross was installed. He contined to stay there for another two and a half years and evangelized. As a result over 7000 people were baptized. The Kings of Chandrapuri who were named Petros (Peter) and Paulose (Paul), Thomas ordained the elegant Paul was ordained bishop. He also ordained under him were teachers of the word so that they may rule over the believers. They all brought all their belongings and kept it at the feet of the Apostle. The Apostle established rules and regulation for all the proceddures.
Then he travelled to Malayalam and with the help of the angles reached Mayatur
He stayed two months at Maleattur and converted and baptized 220 people, He then proceded to Palur village. From there through
Maliankara he reached Kottakayal and then onto Kokamangalam and to Kollam (Quilon). He stayed an year each in every village and established order and procedures for woship and elders and Priest for the churches there. In the end according to the tradition gave them the indwellig of the Holy Spirit and reached Niranam
He stayed a whole year at Niranam and was satisfied with the faith of the people and the exemplary life that they led; and annointed them with the Holy Spirit also. He then proceded with the Priest Thomas of the place and reached the hills of
Thomas establised a worshipping place and the order of worship and other routines there also. Finally he blessed them with the Holy Spirit
After giving them the annointing of the Holy Spirit he took his leave of the Christians and told them that they would never see him again,
Apostle Thomas then took off his own clothes and put it on the Elder Kepha and put his both hands on his head and entrusted the care of the believer to him. The Apostle entreated the believers to accept Kepha to be accepted as himself.
Kepha with humble adoration to the name of Mar Thomas received it. It
was then ordained that for ever the right of priesthood will remain to the
progeny of Maliekal Thomas. He also gave them the need of Ramban position to be
trained in order to be perfected before taking over the position of Bishop.
Along with these understandings many other things were told to Kepha and
entrusted those with him. In this way Mar Thoma established the rites and
orders of the
As they saud farewell their nerves failed them and their eyes got wet and their voice became a cry. The three went together along the hill path for a distance of seven and a half units and Apostle proceded with the help of the angels towards the Pandyan land. until AD 69 till the month of Medam our Father Thomas did what was great and worthy of praise to the countries that did not have the understanding of truth.
. It would be impossible to relate all the wonders which our saint performed by making the sign of the cross with the hands that had touched the wounds of the Lord.
He raised 29 dead men to life,
Freed 250 who were possessed by devils, Healed 230 lepers,
Restored their sight to 250 blind people And the use of their Limbs to 220 cripples, And their speech to 20 deaf mutes.
He healed 280 sick people who had been given up by their physicians.
He did remove the blindness of people so that they can receive the truth.
Because of the character that is above the sinful nature of man he gained the souls of men - a 17480 of them
He converted to the Christian faith 6850 Brahmins;
2500 Kshatriyas (Warrior Caste)Vaisyas (merchants) and farmers 3780, and 4280 Sudras. He ordained two bishops and seven priests, Of whom four were called Rabban
And appointed 21 deacons to take care of the common properties and wealth and to perform
everything for the common good. He ordained that the procedures and steps he had given may not be violated.
As the rulers of the church followed every regulatory procedures without fault Mar Thoma travelled through many countries and declared the way of grace and brought in many to the grace of the savior and Mesiah in the month of Karkadakam 3 rd day in the year AD 72 at the early morning joined travellors to the temple of Kali Devi for Pooja in the Mount Chinna Malai in Milapore where they surrounded him and told him that no one may go through the path if they do not bow down to the grove before the idol of Kali. They assured him that he will receive food if he just bow down to the Devi
Will I bow down to the Satan just for the food made out of dried rice?
Marthoma then said to them that if he bows down the whole grove will burn. They wanted to see the truth of it. Mar Thoma made the sign of the cross and then the Kali idol fell down and the
grove burst in fire. Upon this the Brahmins did cruel things like wolves to Marthoma. They pierced his heart and ran and hid themselves. Marthoma fell down on the stone and began to pray.
The angels told everything to Bishop Paul who with all the others with him ran to the Grove of the Kali. They pulled out the spear that went through his body. When they were trying to take him in the
chariotThomas became conscious and tols them not to be afraid. He said the time for his good forturne has come. He also gave them clear instructions until the morning till 3 in the morning and departed from this world. They saw the soul rise like a white dove. They also heard heavenly music of verious instruments and songs
The elders took the dead body with all honors and placed it inside the church. They all prayed and worshipped god till early morning. They then retired to their home.
The news of the death was transmitted by the angels to Bishop Kepha. He took the lamd route along with other deacomsand reached there on the month of Karkadakom 21. The two bishops and priests and elders did the ordered the rituals and worship in the Church for a period of ten days without stop
Marthoma suddenly displayed a visible revelation to all those gathered. There was a bright golden light that shone on the body of all those who were there. They also saw a vision of the heaven which cannot be explained.
Bishop Peter said that he had seen this before. All gather heard the heavenly music. All the children who remembers my death will be blessed said the voice. All those who bowed in respect before my burial place whill be also blessed. After all this everything cleared. Man cannot explain all what they saw. In one of those Marthoma sits on the throne. He continues to guide and instruct them. Then all the people went home.
How Marthoma gave the Way as described by Thomas Ramban was written by Thomas Ramban II without description is sung here so that people may know about it. It is now transcibed by the 48
th descendant of the first Thomas Ramban and places it at the foot of the Lord all the stories of the powerful Apostle Thomas in the year 1601 in the month of Karkadakom 3.
Let the Lord give the ability to understand these with worship where it is due.
Acts 24: 14-15
I do confess to you, however, that I worship the God of our fathers according to the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, 15and I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.…
Margam Kali Dance of Syrian Christians
It is said that Thomas ordained one Prince Peter to be the head of the
church of the Jews and left for the other areas of
Here he preached to a jewish community who accepted mesia and their synagogue became a Christian church.
He returned to Kerala where he established seven and half churches with 75 Brahmin families as teachers and over 3000 converts from Kshatriyas, Nairs and Chettiars. These new converts were called St: Thomas Christians. This church is one of the most ancient churches in Christendom.
There are other traditional modes of transmission of the history of St.Thomas Churches. Below are some of them.
Parichamuttukali, (Shield hitting dance)
Parichamuttukali, a martial dance art form is performed by men bearing swords and
shields. Apparently some Thomas Christians specialised in Kalaripayattu (martial art) and served the kings in various states as warriors. These parichamuttu kali follows the movements and steps of Kalarippayattu.
The dancers are usually dressed in a white loin cloth with red wrist bands and sing in chorus as they dance. The performers dance with sword and shield on their hands. The group is usually headed by a leader called Asan around whom the rest of the dancers perform. The dance used to be performed as a religious offering.
Veeradiyan pattu Paanan (Vaanan) Pattu
Veeradiyan pattu was sung by a particular caste among the Hindus known as Paananmar
(Vaanan) . Paanan actually means singers. Vaanan means forest
dwellers. They were hill tribals and were considered high class during the
Sangam Period in
house in the village at festival time, singing traditional songs and being paid in grain. The rest of the year, they worked at some trade. The instrument known as Udukku is used as an
accompaniment. In group performances a Villu (bow with the tight string with several bells which is struck with a stick) was used as in the picture above. The Saivites still use the art form to tell stories. In a childhood memories (Balyakalasmaranakal) James Joseph (Kavalam) in a blog says like this Koythu kazhiyunna samayam It is after the harvest.
Kavalathe Ellaa christian veedukalilum veeradiyan ethukayai....…
In every Christian home in Kavalam the Veeradyan reaches.
tholil oru bhandavum thalyil chuvanna thalappavum ketti
Thoma sleehayude pattu padan ethunna veeradiyane kanumbol ellavarkum santhosham aanu.
In their shoulders there is a band and in their head a red covering tied around; he comes to sing the songs of the Apostle Thomas. When they see them they are happy.
veeradiyan thinnayil ethy tharayil erunnu viseshngal chodikkum...…
The Veeradiyans comes into the port of the home and sits down and asks of their news.
Njangal kutttikal veeradiyanu chuttum irikkum...…
We the children will sit arond the Veeradiyans. veeradiyante pattu enthu rasam aanenno… The songs of Veeradiyans are beautiful.
pattinte avasanam Bhum,,Bhum,, Karthave enna vili kelkkathavar churukkam aanul,,,,,,
At the end of the songs there is a sound of Bhum, Bhum and a loud call O Lord. There are only a few who did not hear them.
ella veedukalil ninnum kittunna neellum panavum aanu veeradiyante geevitha margam. ............…
They live with the provisions and money each household gives.Koythu kazhiyumbol ippozhum etharundo,,,,,aavo
Do they still come in the harvest seasons?
Udukku is a handheld drum
Songs accompanied by Bow
Villu Paattu (The Bow Songs)
Villu Paatu ( 'Bow Songs’)- Villadichan pattu (Striking the bow songs)-
is an ancient form of musical story-telling where narration is interspersed
with music, It is an art form of
There are also Udukku, Kudam (mud pot), Thala, Kattai , which are used as supplementary instruments in performances. Occasionally, the Villu Pattu team divides itself into two groups, each trying to prove opposite points-of-view of a subject.
Traditional site where
The tradition of Christians of Thomas is a much more reliable source
of information than the Acts of Tho-mas. According to this tradition thousands
of locals including Brahmins, Khathriyas and Dravidians were baptized by
Ramban song does not mention Taxila mission and hence this must have
been an earlier mission. Since Thomas landed in a ship in Kodungallur in 52 AD
we could assume the Taxila mission was somewhere in 40 – 52 AD during the time
of Gondaphores. He might have made his first mission trip to
Among the first converts there were forty members of the Jewish
community including Rabbi Paul of the Cranganore Synagogue where every Saturday
the Apostle used to go and read and explain the Old Testa-ment for the Jewish
congregation. Though Rabbi Paul received baptism and became a Christian, a good
number of the Cranganore Jewish community continued to stick fast to their
ancestral religion and gave the Christians the name"Nazaranis ",
meaning followers of the man from
The "Black Jews" settled in the Malabar coast during the
times of King Solomon of
A massive migration came soon after the destruction of temple in 70 AD. These Jews are called “Paradesi Jews” or “White Jews” A chieftain by the name of Joseph Rabban was granted a principality over the Jews of Cochin by the Chera Emperor of Kerala, Bhaskara Ravivarman II. Rabban's descendants maintained this distinct community, which was called Anjuvannam. ). C. Achuta Menon (A.D. 1911), says:
"In the first centuries of Christian era, a number of Jews immigrated into Kerala and settled in that portion of it which afterwards became the Kingdom of Cochin and Christianity also made its way in to the country about the same time…steadily grown in prosperity and importance so much so that the local Kings by char-ters engraved in copper plates constituted them self governing communities. By these charters Joseph Rab-
ban was made the hereditary chief of the Jews and Irvi Cottan that of the Christians and they were also given powers and privileges of Naduvazhi chiefs. Most of the privileges mentioned in the Jews deed are identical with those enumerated in the grant to the Christians but the latter were also given the right of "the Curved Sword", that is the right of carrying arms which was not granted to the Jews…".
During the first five centuries three powers ruled over today’s
Kerala. They were Aay Rajas in the southern side, Ezhimala Kings in the
northern side, and the first Chera kingdom comprising most of the present
cen-tral Kerala. The capital of Chera was Vanji or Tiruvanchikulam and the most
important port was Muchiri (Muziris). The capital of
They were ruled by a large number of local rulers controlling few villages.
Besides Jews, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Nairs, and Chettiars were among
the earliest converts to Christianity. The first Brahmin convert was a young
member of a Niranom Brahmin family that had settled down in Cranganore engaged
in some business. The young man's conversion was not liked by his father, who
de-cided to cast him away from the family. The Apostle called the young convert
and asked him to live with him. The young man, who had received the Apostle's
name in baptism agreed to live with him and came to be known as Thomas Maliyakal,
in recognition of his Brahmin family name. Subsequently he was raised to priest
hood, and after sometime was given the title of Ramban or Arch-priest. In
course of time a Jewish Synagogue as well as a Hindu temple at Cranganore were
transformed into Christian churches. Accompa-nied by Prince Kepha, who was
consecrated as the Bishop of Cranganore and Malabar,
Kodungalloor is believed to be the ancient Muziris of Pliny, and the
Periplus, on the north bank of
Athen Cheran I
”The story starts with a a human sacrifice in the Kali temple in Kodungallur. It was the practive to select a male child under 5 years old from one of prominent families by lot. The lot that year fell on Kunjan, the nephew of King Aten Cheran I while he was on tour to the Pandyan empire. The family of Kunjan came to the new divine person recently arrived from abroad for help. Thomas and his Jewish friends were present at the ceremony and promised the family that they will save the child if they will believe in Isa. Before delivering the child for sacrifice the child was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit and sealed him with the Holy Spirit. The Brahmin Priest took the child into the inner sanctuary of Kali and the door was shut. However the door was never reopened announcing the fulfillment of sacrifice. When the waiting crowd finally forced opened the door, Kunjan was standing there smiling and the Priest was not to be found anywhere.
“The whole city which was present accepted Jesus and were baptized in
a repetition of Pentecostal day. The custom of Narabali came to an end. Thus
Kodungaloor became a Christian city. It is since then known as the city of the
Great God, city of
The church is built on the model of St. Peter's Basilica,
On the occasion of the 19th centenary celebration of the coming of
The Marthoma Pontifical Shrine carrying the holy relic of St.Thomas
was entrusted by the Holy See to the C.M.I. fathers of
The King of Cranganore (Kodungallur)
The Jew towns existed in cranganore and palayur from 5th century B.C.
It is suspected by some historians that Jews established trade with
·Peacock – Tokai in Tamil. Tuki in Syriac the word used in vulgate and septugint versions of the Bible AD 1st Century
·Monkey – Kapi in Sanskrit and Kaphi in Syriac
·Sandalwood – Chandan in Tamil Chandal in Syriac
·Rice – Arisai in Tamil Oryz in Latin and oryza sativa in Botanical name, Greek word for rice is Ari the same word in Malayalam
·Mother – Amma in Tamil Emma in Syriac
·Father – Appa in Tamil Abba in Syriac
·Teak – Take in Tamil Teak in Syriac
These are quoted by linguistic experts in support of the theory of Kerala trade with Jews from 10th century, B.C.
Here is an unbelievable absolute verification of the arrival of Apostle Thomas in Kerala shores consisting of a Hindu Family’s ancestoral heritage recived from one Thandachen consisting of four silver coins which they invariably calls ““Raktha Velli” or Blood Money”. Let me quote the whole story as give by Justin in the Malankaraworld website.
[Note: Justin says when she posted this story in fathersofthechurch.com, “I picked up this story travelling through Kerala. I think it is worth researching.”
Justine adds: “The credit for writing this article should go to
Ms. Paula Gruber, a German tourist who visited India/Kerala in 2005.
I was responsible for translating it from German to English.”]
The story goes like this:
The worship of
Thondachan, a Hindu family deity, by a particular lineage of Nairs (native
martial clan) of Malabar, Kerala, and especially the manner and ritual of this
worship is noteworthy. Though a family deity, Thondachan is never worshipped
within the Nair household. Nor has this deity been ever given a berth among the
pantheon of Hindu gods at any of the Hindu temples presided over by the Brahman
priests (called Namboodiris). Thondachan has a special altar built outside the
Nair family compound, where non-Brahmin priests perform rituals. While
Chaamundi, Vishnumoorthy, Pottan, Rakteshwari and Bhagavathi became the
non-Aryan non-Brahmin deities for the village folk of Kolathunaad (an ancient
“The deity of Thondachan represents a temple custodian and is believed to be the “grand ancestor.” The shrine of Thondachan is at the upper citadel ( called “mele kottam”). The offerings for him include, beetle leaves, areca-nut and dried rice. His idol is that of a bearded divinity with bow and arrow on his left hand and a sword in his right, weapons that the sailors in his entourage carried. His citadel serves as the site of performance for two forms of oracle dances namely “Vellattom” and "Kaliyattom". The Hindu adaptation of St.Thomas worship represented him as Vaishnava and Shaiva, thus revered as Vishnu-Shiva in single form (as Guru (teacher) and Vaidya (physician)). In addition he is also worshipped as Sani (another Hindu deity), a misplaced reverence arising from confusion in the folk-lore because St. Thomas had told the Nair family that he had set sail from a place called “Sanai.”” https://www.ccel.org/node/5374
When Thomachan (the apostle St. Thomas, – achan, signifying ‘father’) came ashore, landing at Maliankara near Moothakunnam village in Paravoor Thaluk in AD 52, (this village located 5 kilometers from Cranganoor (Kodungallur), Muziris, on the coast of Kerala), some of his followers as well as other sailors and merchants were suffering from a severe form of scurvy. Thomachan himself suffered from a sore throat which he chose to ignore, and which grew steadily worse, until no voice emanated from his lips for many days. A local Jew named Matan took the weary travelers to a local Nair tharavad (locally known as Kambiam Vallapil), in the province of Kolathunaad, a territory comprising the present Cannanore District and Badagara Taluk of Kerala State.
It is said that at the time of Thomachan’s arrival at the Nair tharavad, the Nair karnavar (landlord or head of family) lay injured from a grievous wound that had been inflicted upon him in a feudal duel. Upon seeing this, Thomachan sat beside the injured man and meditated, laying his hands on the man’s head, his throat, his chest and his groin. Immediately the karnavar felt relieved from pain, and his healing was hastened. Within a day he was up and about, his wounds nearly healed.
In return, the Nair household offered shelter to the strangers and called upon their family physician to cure the scurvy that the travelers suffered from, as well as Thomachan’s severely infected throat. Nellikaya (Emblic Myrobalan or Indian Gooseberry) based potions prepared by the tharavad was used to cure the sea-worn voyagers. In an act of gratitude, Thomachan is said to have blessed them, and gave them four silver coins saying, ‘May these coins bestow my guru’s blessings upon you and your household, for take heed when I tell you that the money I pay you today is anointed with the blood of my guru’.
This holy man, Thomachan, is believed to have related a curious story to the members of the tharavad, which has been passed down the ages.
Before he set sail from a seaport in the region called ‘Sanai’ somewhere in the western seas, he had witnessed the persecution of his guru, who was tortured and nailed to a wooden cross and left to die. He spoke of how his guru returned from his ordeals three days later, fully cured. His guru handed him the silver coins saying, ‘my body was sold with these, and now they have been returned to me, all thirty pieces. Put them to good use, as I have. Though you shall choose to travel by sea, I shall meet you again in the mountains of the land where you will finally arrive.’
The Nair tharavad later migrated further north to the Cherukunnu area of present day Kannur. They referred to the four silver pieces as ‘rakta velli’ (blood silver) or ‘parindhu velli’ (parindhu for eagle, as one face of all these four ancient coins bear the figure of an eagle). They also decided never to utilize the silver as it was the custom then not to part with the gift of a guest.
Over time, and with the advent of Christianity, the significance of the four silver coins received by the tharavad was understood, but family history is still obscure as to whether Thomachan possessed, or what he did with the remaining twenty-six pieces of silver his guru gave him.
This Nair family never converted to the Christian faith as did many others in that region. Subsequent migrations of Nair clans continued throughout history, but the story of the four rakta velli pieces was passed down the generations, as did their veneration for the holi sanyasi Thomachan, (later called Thondachan, a nickname perhaps coined from the story of his sore throat, -thonda for throat. Another story goes that the name Thondachan was adopted in the early 16th century to avoid persecution by the Portugese).
Thus by a curious
turn of events, the apostle
A present day
member of this family is still in possession of the four pieces of silver. I
have seen the four pieces and have identified them as the Shekels of Tyre, a
common coinage of
Paulo D’Souza, Panaji,
….… I have been able to verify from my
The story continues in the Historic Mysteries discovery
A 16th-century fresco depicting Judas being paid the thirty pieces of silver. Image credit: Wikipedia.
Ms. Paula Gruber, a German tourist presents the story:
Towards the end of the Second World War, my father
Johann Gruber, a German school teacher was hiding in
I first reported this story in 2005 in
It was actually on my initial visit to
But by the year 1976, sitting in my room in Munich, I had begun to give a more serious thought to what exactly I had been shown at Parukutty’s ancestral house four years ago. My curiosity had reached a highpoint for I had just returned from Lisbon where I had the opportunity to go through a private collection of very old manuscripts dated between 1690 AD and 1860 AD, recovered or rescued from Daman and Goa, India, in 1961 by one Manuel António Vassalo e Silva, which contained details of several attempts by the Portuguese to acquire four silver coins, referred to variously asmoedas de prata santos, moedas de Tomas, relíquias de Tomas and moedas sangrentos supposedly in the possession of some Hindu family in Malabar. There were details of arrests made, interrogations carried out and even summary executions. It is also mentioned in a Padroado Real, indicating that even the Pope of that time was aware of the existence of these coins. Now there was no doubt in my mind as to what the Portuguese were looking for. I longed to return to Kerala once again and visit Cherukunnu.
Thus in the winter of 1976 I landed at
However, I had no intention of abandoning my quest. In the
very first week of that visit I had not only come to know the story of St.
Thomas and his martyrdom in India, near Madras, but also that in the past,
various denomination of Christians in Kerala had made attempts to acquire the
four coins gifted by St. Thomas to preserve them in a church as relics. I was
told by some old priests of a Catholic Church that Syrian Christians or Nasrani
Christians made the most vociferous claims to the coins as early as the 1920s
but that the issue took a back seat during the Malabar riots of 1921 and the
matter was subsequently forgotten. According to my friend at the mission
hospital, Malayalam writings of that time made several mention of the
On my request, and when the table was cleared, the old lady produced the little box with the coins. My excitement this time was irrepressible. I washed my hands before handling them and took pictures of each as best as I could. Using a small weighing scale I carried for the purpose, I weighed each piece of silver. I even measured the approximate diameter of each coin. Satisfied that at last I had enough data, I returned the coins to the old lady. She then began to narrate three or four instances when the nun from the mission hospital brought Christian patients with acute and chronic ailments furtively to the taravad to pray before the coins, placing their hands over the little box that contained them. The nun claimed the patients experienced quick and complete recovery from their afflictions. I listened to the familiar miracle stories related to Christian relics the world over, wondering what to make of it……………….My dear Parukutty amma was long dead and the compound in which the taravad stood was overgrown with weeds…..
These were the Shekels of the period of Herod used in the
David Hendin, Adjunct Curator, American Numismatic Society explains as follows
Silver coin used to pay the half-shekel tax to the
This rare silver coin was discovered in 2008 during
archaeological excavations in the main drainage channel of
These were the four half
shekel coins in the family heirloom of Parukutty.
She referred to them as
”Parunthu Velli” of “Eagle silver”
along side of
“Raktha velli “or “Blood silver”
As you can see these are same coins that are produced by the
Parvati family as given by Thomas.
You can see they are the same. They are indeed the coins used for the four situations. The referrence to blood money identifies it as part of the money paid by the
Quilon was the next scene of the labors of the Apostle. The majority of the people of Quilon belonged to the Chettiar caste, the recognized trading caste of the time. A good many of them accepted the Gospel at-tracted by the preaching of the Apostle and the miracles performed by him. Many inhabitants of Quilon hated the new religion and migrated from Quilon to Nanjinad to keep themselves away from the influence of the new religion; After erecting a cross for the worship of the converts who numbered about one thou-sand and four hundred, the Apostle left Quilon.
Kollam Kadisa Pally
Old Niranam Cross and stone carving of crucifix
The Apostle and Prince Kepha proceeded from Quilon in a northeasterly direction and arrived at Thrika-paleswaram, near Niranom. Thrikapaleswaram had Hindu temples at that time, and to provide a place of public worship to the Christian community, the Apostle planted a cross a few furlongs away to the west of one of the temples. The non-Christian people in the locality did not like this and they pulled it out and cast it into the nearby river.
This desecration took place sometime after the Apostle had left the place for Chayal or Nileckal. Two Christians from Thrikapaleswaram went there and requested the Apostle to re-visit their place and set mat-ters right. The cross that had been thrown out into the river moved downwards floating on the waters for some distance, and eventually rested on a strip of land on the opposite bank of the river.
Here at Niranom a new site for a church was secured. During this
second visit, the Apostle stayed at Niranom for two months and during this
period two hundred persons were baptized by him giving new vigor and strength
to the Christian community. Local tradition is that most of the Nambutiris
having been made Christians by
Nerkadavu at Niranam
Thommathu Kadavu at Niranam.
This is Thommathu Kadavu at Niranam. It is believed that in the year
inscription on stone inside the church undeciphered.
Palm leaves preserved in the church
The St. Mary's (Orthodox) Church, Niranam, Kerala.
A new church has been built under the joint auspices of all the Christian denominations The St.Thomas Ecuminical Church, Nilakkal
The Apostle returned from Niranom to Chayal or Nileckal. According to
the Ramban song the Apostle worked here for one year and during this period one
thousand and one hundred persons were converted to Christianity. It was ruled
by Vel kings of the
Nilakkal is a forest, almost 52 kilometres east to Ranni and near
Sabarimala. It was a mountain route of trade between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
and preached good news and baptised 1100 people. Today there exist the
As early as 1902, what was believed to be the remains of an ancient
Christian church and cemetery were accidentally discovered in the forest
regions of the south of the
The site was discovered again, once more by an Orthodox layman serving in the Forest Department of the Government of Travancore, in the late thirties or early forties. Obviously a bell and a large cross had also been found. Again the Orthodox Church appealed to the Dewan of Travancore, to assign the land to the church, The response of the Dewan, Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer, no friend of the Christians, was an order to remove the bell and the cross to some unknown place, and to begin construction of a Hindu temple on the spot. The present Hindu temple in Nilakkal was thus built in 1946.
The third ‘discovery’ of the site was in independent
of the Orthodox Church, The basement of a Church (believed to be) and several graves, all east west, were regarded as conclusive evidence that this was a Christian spot.
The struggles marked its beginning on 24 March 1983, with the discovery of a stone cross on the Kerala Farming Corporation's (KFC) private land, just 200 m (0.20 km) south to the Nilakkal Mahadeva temple.
This is head of Siva on
See my book “Emergence of Hinuism from Christianity”
Next day, singing hymns, Father Mathew Anthiyakulam, chief priest of
As a compromise between the existing Hindu Saivite temple (which probably was on the original site of the Church) a new church was built on the other side of the hill without trespassing each other. "There is a hill between the Nilakkal temple and thIs site. It has a separate approach road. There will be no connection between the temple area and the church." It is built jointly by all the Christian Communities, Roman Caotholic, Orthodox, Reformed and Evangelical Churches.
The church is an example of the unity of the Christian churches and
also of the communal harmony. The church trust proved that unity among the
churches can be maintained and at the same time give respect to the sentiments
of the faiths of other religions. The main message which the church provides is
of 'love, peace and fraternity'. This church has the importance that it is the
first Ecumenical church in the world and has been dedicated by all the
denominations as an example of heritage by
You can read the report here where all representatives of religions, churches and political groups and scholars came together to celebrate the sacrifice and love and unity which the church had shown in dealing with this issue.
Silver jubilee celebrations of
Nilakkal St.Thomas Ecumenical Church I957
Hindus still argue Syrian Christian site is too close to popular temple. Oscar Fernandes, a former federal minister, opens the jubilee celebrations
Hindus still argue Syrian Christian site is too close to popular temple. Oscar Fernandes, a former federal minister, opens the jubilee celebrations
St Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church ,Kokkamangalam
Kokkamangalam, far to the north of Quilon, Niranom and Nileckal, was
the next centre of the missionary activities of
Kokka-mangalam and baptized one thousand and six hundred persons to Christianity. After planting a cross and opening a church there the Apostle left the place. During the absence of the Apostle unknown hands removed the cross from its site and threw it into the nearby backwater lagoon. The cross moved with the water current and reached Pallipuram. The believers at Pallipuram installed the cross solemnly at a suitable place and a church was opened there.
The cross reputedly erected by the Apostle Thomas in Kokkamangalam
Cross erected by St.Thomas Restored in 2002 AD
Kottakuvu near Parur was the next centre where the Apostle preached the Gospel and founded a church. According to the Ramban song the Apostle succeeded in receiving into the Christian fold one thousand seven hundred and seventy persons at this center.
The St Thomas (Catholic) Church, Kottakkavu, North Paravur, Kerala.
Kottakkavu Sliba, a Persian cross founded by Mar Sabor and Mar Proth
Kottakavu Old Church at North-Paravur is one the seven churches (Ezharappallikal) established by St.
Thomas in 52 C.E.
The church founded by
The church we see today is the one constructed in its place.
From Kottakavu the Apostle proceeded to Palayur, one of the strongest Brahmin centers in Kerala.
Interior of the Church
Palayoor is near Guruvayoor/Kunnankulam
Palayur was the stronghold of the Namboodiri Brahmins. Ruins of an ancient Jewish Synagogue are still visible the Church. “When Thomas came to the great Brahmin centre of Palayur, a leading Brahmin Gramam (Village) among the 64, he came across some Brahmins doing the Pithru Yajna or Pooja to the manes or ghosts of deceased ancestors. They were throwing water into the air (Tharpan) while reciting manthras. The Apostle learned from them the meaning of this ritual and remarked: ‘If your performance is acceptable to the gods they could keep the water suspended in the air without allowing it to fall again and again’. “The Brahmins said that this was unthinkable as it was opposed to the laws of nature. Then Thomas asserted that the One true God he worshipped could do it, and he proceeded to perform a miracle on condi-tion that the Brahmins accept his faith if he is successful.
The Apostle, invoking the Holy Trinity, made the sign of the Cross and
threw a handful of water up into the sky. After reaching a particular height
the water stood still in the air, the particles glittering like diamonds.
Looking down the Brahmins could see the cavity made by the removal of the water
still there in the pond. Most of the witnesses were baptised on the spot.
However those Brahmins who did not accept the faith called the place ‘Shapa
Syrian Christians traditionally believed that the four Brahmin families Kalli, Kaliyankal, Sankarapuri & Pakalomattam were converted at this place.
This is a legend , shared by Hindus and Christians alike, of the locality, and to this day , no orthodox Brahmin takes a bath or a meal in the village. ( Quoted in the Trichur District Gazetteer ( History ), Chapt. II / p.100 , from the book ' Syrian Christians of Malabar, by K.E.Job. ).
The Pond is today known as Thaliyakulam and is used as a baptismal pond
This pond and statues at the Palayur church represent
As per the local tradition, the place Chavakkadu, (Saapakkad--place of
curse), near Palayur(Thrissur), has got that name, as the place was cursed by
Nambudiris, because some of their families were converted to Christianity by
Persian Cross at Palayur.placed by Apostle Thomas
Palayur replica of St.Thomas cave in St.Thomas Mount
Sankarapuri Family Tradition
Sankarapuri was among the families who received Baptism in Palayoor.
The families of Shankarapuri, Pakalomattom, Kalli, Kalikavu, and Kolath.were
given Priestly Status by
Migrations of Our forefathers from Palayoor to Etamanoor:
In the 2nd Century AD all the four Family migrated from Palayoor via
Angamali, Kadathuruthi to Ett- manoor. The Devasom of Ettmanoor did not allow
them to stay there and sent them to a place 5 Km. away which was the
It is believed that the above said 4 families and the Kadapoor family,
which came from Palayoor, joined together and established the
From there one family moved to Chengannur. From Chengannur one family moved to Kozhench-ery in Plamoottil. From this came the Chennattu family out of which came Madathilparampil Family.
(St.Mary's Church), Thiruvithamcode, Kanyakumari
Thiruvithamcode Arappally: or Thomaiyar Kovil as named by the then Chera king Udayancheral,
(St. Mary's Orthodox Church now) was founded by St.Thomas sometime in AD 57
/63 , called Thiruvithamcode Arappally
Thiruvithamcode Arappally is located at Thiruvithamcode in Kanyakumari
District of Tamilnadu. Thiruvithamcode Arappally is also called as
Apostle founded another church at Malayattur which is accorded the
status of half church. Another tradition claims this half church as the one
founded in Thiruvithamcode. When the christians in east coast sufferred
persecution St.Thomas took 64 families with him across the ghats over
Oral tradition says that while travelling through Malayattor, faced
with hostile natives, he fled to the hilltop where he is said to have remained
in prayer and that he left his foot prints on one of the rocks. According to
beliefs, a cross formed on one of the rocks, upon his touch. The chief festival
is on the first Sunday after Easter. It is traditionally believed that
Malayattoor Kurisumudy is an international pilgrim centre of
A footprint said to be of St.Thomas in Malayattor
It is believed that St.Thomas knelt on this rock and signed a cross with his finger.
He prayed hee for a long time. Later a golden cross emerged at this spot.
It is said that the people belonging to hilltribes were attracted by the splendour of the cross .
Out of curiosity they struck the spot with their crude weaoons to their surprise they saw the blood emitting from the cross.
They were wonderstruck and they reported the incident. Thus began the historic pilgrimage to kurisumudy.
The King also gave 64 houses for them built on 64 fragments of land.
He also gave another 24 cents of land for worship. It is said that
Why is it called as
The Church itself was rebuilt during the past two millenium but the basic form is maintained
Here are a few good pictures as given by the Tamil Nadu Tousrism department as advertisement.
The entrance of the church (Prakaram) and behind that is the Holies and the Holy of Holies.
The Nila Vilakku (Oil Lamp) mounted with St.Thomas Cross.
Stone cross outside of the Church
The oil lamp at many levels.
It is said that during the 1940’s, this church was tried to be converted
as a Hindu temple due to the resemblance of a Hindu temple. Some believe that
it was Hindu shrine which was converted into a Church. But there was a cross
curved on a pillar which stopped the issue. According to believers, this cross
was carved by
Tucked in an
alcove inside the antechamber is an old world baptismal font, made of granite,
and said to be as old as the church itself. Right in front of the font, on what
is the southern wall of the sanctum, is a cross. It is believed to have been
The flag post
The Church of the Thomas Christians was one of the four great
"Thomite Churches" of the East. The three others were the Edessan,
the Chaldean (of Mesopotamia or
According to the tradition of the Church in India Thomas finished his
mission in Mylapore (Me- liapouram) for
One of objections of this traditional story raised recently is the problem of the presence of Brahmins in Kerala who were converted and were given the responsibility of teaching the gospel. The Namboodiri traditions of the present day traces their origins back only to the sixth century AD.
According to the legends, Lord Parasurama created the land between Gokarna and Kanyakumari by throwing his axe .
This could have been only in the sixth century AD if Brahmins were given Kerala as a grant!! In fact there could have been no Kerala in existence until sixth century AD.
But we know no historical Parasurama who raised Kerala from the sea at that time.
Evidently the Parsurama story of raising the
32 out of the 64 gramams are in the Tulu speaking region (in between Gokarnam and Perumpuzha) and the remaining 32 gramams are in the Malayalam speaking region(in between Perumpuzha and Kanyakumari) in Kerala. Those in Kerala listed in the Keralopatti, the narrative of Kerala history are:
1, Payyannoor 2. Perumchelloor (Talipparambu) 3. Alatthiyoor 4. Karanthol 5.Chokiram
(Shukapuram) 6. Panniyoor 7. Karikkau 8. Isaanamangalam 9. Thrussivaperoor 10. Peruvanam.
11. Chamunda (Chemmanta) 12. Irungatikkootal (Iringalakkuda) 13. Avattiputhur (Avittathoor) 14. Paravoor 15. Airanikkulam 16. Muzhikkalam 17. Kuzhavur 18. Atavur 19. Chenganatu(Chengamanadu) 20. Ilibhyam 21. Uliyannoor 22. Kalutanatu. 23. Ettumanoor 24. Kumaranalloor 25. Kadamuri 26. Aranmula 27. Tiruvalla 28. Kidangoor 29.Chengannoor 30. Kaviyoor 31. Venmani and 32. Neermanna (Niranam)
So according to this, the land was created by Parasurama and later donated to Brahmins . Where were these Brahmins if they received these lands?
Again we know for certain that the Aryan conquest reached as far as
However the Aryans were never a controlling force economically or even intellectually until eighth century AD. The major religion of Kerala was Buddhism in the first century AD. There must have been
a few Brahmin families, (as is true even today in the central
Travancore area where Christians are concentrated) who were probably small
businessmen in various parts of
The tradition says that Thomas met these Brahmins while they were worshipping the Sun in their traditional way. Other than that it does not directly or indirectly ascribe power or prestige to these people. By the third century when the Syrian immigration took place, since Aryans are also of the same ethnicity, their status became more pronounced. Notice that they were not the only people who were converted.
They were known as Nazaranikal (those who follow the Nazarene) or
Issanu Vadikal (the disciples of Isa). The Chera King Kuru Varman-1 also known
as Vyakrasenan who ruled Kerala from 40 AD to 55 AD was a Christian . Was
he a kshatriya? Obviously. All the castes were present in
Wasn’t Mahabali ruling Kerala long before even Parasu, at the time of the incarnation of Vamana?
The Chaldean breviary
The Silk Road is an ancient trade route linking
The Silk Road first started to be in use at about 100 BC , after
Chinas emperor Wu Ti from the Han dynasty conquered large sections of
Religion, philosophy and teachings also traveled through the silk
route. Buddhism traveled from
The silk route practically started from
It is only logical to imagine that Apostle Thomas who was out to
preach the gospel to the ends of the earth, traveled that way all the way to
We have enough evidence for Thomas’ visit to
The ancient Breviary of the Syrian
"By the means of St. Thomas the Chinese...were converted to the truth...By means of St. Thomas the kingdom of heaven flew and entered into China...The Chinese in commemoration of St. Thomas do offer their adoration unto Thy most Holy Name, O God."
Adoration of Magi Chinese version
Bible do indicates that from the time of appearance of the star to the arrival of magi took around 2 years. This probably was the basis of the massacre of babies below 2 years by Herod. If it took them 2 years to travel it must have been from a distant east country.
If they came from
Apostle Thomas went to
Thomas’ first ministry was to the magi who visited Jesus to give homage and worship. T
he Syriac churches, the Magi often number twelve and they were distributed in many countries. Among them were the Chinese and the Indians.
Recent discovery of documents indicates that some of the magi came
“Pierre Perrier, a former researcher for the Dassault Aviation group
and a universally known specialist in the oral transmission of the Gospels, at
the end of a thorough enquiry that he relates in his book “Thomas founds the
Even People’s Daily”, the official organ of the Chinese Communist Party announced it.
It tells of a group of wise men who were from the
It took Landau seven years to analyze the text and translate it to
English, as Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to
Mair adduces the discovery of two figurines with unmistakably Caucasoid or Europoid feature dated to the 8th century BCE, found in a 1980 excavation of a Zhou Dynasty palace in Fufeng
County, Shaanxi Province. One of the figurines is marked on the top of its head with an
incised ☩ graph. The rock cut figures shown above indicates the possible evidence. You can see “Mother Mary” with a cross on her breast.
In fact the chinese word Wu for Magi or Shaman is a cross.
We meet Thomas in AD 40 in Taxila. However we do not have detailed
mission activities of most of the Apostles including Thomas from the Pentecost
till the middle of the century. The New Testament Acts of Apostles were written
from the point of view of the Greco Roman Christians even that from the
Assuming that the crucifixion took place in AD 30 we will have to follow the disciples in their journey. These dates may be a few years probable error since the exact year of birth of Jesus is not really established.
Father Dale A. Johnson (Barhanna)
This is a mountain outside of present day Xian in the Qianling
Mountain Range. The five peaks of this sacred mountain area includes caves and
inscriptions dating back 3,000 years. Zoroastrians certainly gravitated to this
mountain area as did others. It was recognized as a place to welcome the sun
and where heaven and earth meet. Emperors of
The Revelation of the Magi, An Ancient Christian Apocryphon
The Book of Seth, son of Adam regarding the incarnation
“(1:2). The Magi are said to be both kings and wise men, and the text
gives apatronymic list of their names (2:3). They live in the
Wait of the Magi on
In expectation of this event, on the twenty-fifth day of every month
the Magi purify themselves in a sacred spring, and then on the first day of the
next month they ascend their country’s most sacred mountain, the Mountain of
Victories, to glorify God in silent prayer (5:2-7). After praying in silence
upon the mountain’s pinnacle for twodays, on the third of the month they enter
After the RevMagi introduces the Magi, their lineage, the prophecy of the star,and their ritual system, the flow of the narrative is interrupted by an excerpt from the books of revelation written by Seth (6:1- 10:7). In this excerpt, Adam tells Seth about the prophecy of the coming star, since he had seen it standing over the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden before he sinned, at which point the star disappeared (6:2-3). Adam warns Seth not to obey Eve and the deceitful serpent as he did (8:8), predicts that at the end of time his lineage will be in rebellion (9:2-6), but promises that if Seth’s descendents ask for mercy, God will hear them (10:5-7).
The angel proclaimed good tidings. The Virgin gave birth to the Sage in Daqin [the
Levant]. The luminous asterism indicated a portent. The Persian(s) witnessed the brilliance and came to pay tribute.
After this excerpt from the books of revelation, the text narrates the
moment when the star appears to the Magi at the
As they set out for the journey, the Magi discuss what they saw in the cave, and learn that each of them witnessed Christ in a different form, each of which corresponds to a stage in Christ’s life (14:3- 9). While they are marveling at this, a voicefrom heaven — revealed to be the Father himself — calls out to them and tells them that what they have seen is only a very small portion of the power of the Father and the Son(15:1-10).
Once the Magi have gathered their traveling supplies, the star leads
them on the journey to
When they reach
Return of the Magi
The star leads the Magi on the journey back to their country, again miraculously refilling their food supply through its power (26:1-7).
When they return to the
Judas Thomas baptizes the Magi
After some time has passed, the Apostle Judas Thomas arrives in the
land of the Magi and converts people to the faith of Jesus Christ through
mighty deeds (29:1).When the Magi hear that he has arrived, they realize that
he is one of the disciples about whom the Christ child had spoken (29:2). They
go to him and tell him about the appearance of the star and their journey to
He baptizes the Magi, and when they comeup from the water, Christ descends to them from heaven in the form of a glorious youth (31:1). He produces a loaf of bread and gives it to Judas Thomas and to all of the Magi, proclaims to the Magi that their ancient mysteries have been accomplished,and ascends once more to heaven (31:2-3).
At the closing of the RevMagi, JudasThomas commissions the Magi to preach throughout the entire world (31:10), and they depart, doing mighty works and urging hearers to flee from the coming judgment of fire through faith in Christ (32:1-3).
This is the location of one of the Syriac churches INestorian) of the Tang Dynasty. It has a replica of the Xian-fu stone which has Syriac and Chinese inscriptions on it
In 2002, the Communist Party Leader and President Jiang Zeming, was asked at a banquet; “Comrade Jeming. If before leaving office, you could make one decree that you knew would
be obeyed in
Apostle Thomas and Prince Ying ": the drawing of the frieze.
These sculptures, located within the walls of the ancient port city of
The colors added to the drawing make it easier to find the same characters in the various places where they are represented.
Similarly, the three frames help to better delineate the three scenic
sets of the frieze (to "read" from right to left). Originally,
everything was painted; it is probable that a microscopic search for traces of
paint should make it possible to represent the visual effect that the frieze
gave to the origin. It is thanks to the remarkable stamping work done by
Chinese archaeologists that the details appeared; it is an invaluable treasure
that the People's Republic of
Founding of the Church in China by the Apostle St. Thomas between 65
and 68 AD according to the ar-chealogical evidences. It is more likely that it
took place between 40 and 52 AD. If this dating AD 65-68 AD is true, this took
place soon after the first tour of Kerala ministry. ”Such a discovery
rehabilitates the tradition of the Chaldean Church (Iraq) and of the Church of
the Syro-Malabar rite in Southern India called the “Christians of St. Thomas”,
who have always considered the apostolate of the Apostle and the Christian
establishment in China in the first century of our era as facts. In the
Chaldean breviary, for example, one can read: ”By
According to the tradition of the Church in
Evidently fitting of the dates exactly will be impossible.
« « « « « « « « « « « « « « «
THE APOSTLE SAINT THOMAS FOUNDED THE CHURCH IN
Brother Thomas of Our Lady of Perpetual Help September 2008
Kong Wang Shan (Kong Wang Cliff)
THE DREAM OF EMPEROR MINGDI
Kong Wang cliff drawing
« Mingdi had a dream in which he saw a tall blond man, the top of whose head was encircled with a ha-lo […]. He was eight zhang tall [close to two metres]; he was of golden complexion [or “like gold”].»
Upon awaking, the emperor questioned those who were charged at the
Court with interpreting dreams. They told him that the man that he had
seen in the dream did not originate from either
« One of them told him that in the West there existed a god called
“luminous” [or “the Man-Light”]. The Emperor, desirous of enquiring about
the true doctrine, dispatched an envoy to the
With Pierre Perrrier, let us set aside the Buddhist interpretation, or
rather appropriation of this dream, ac-cording to which this « Man-Light »
would be Buddha, called the “visionary”. The famous Silk Road, on which the
first Buddhist monks were said to have come was closed at the time, and the
first archaeological traces of Buddhism only appear in
« These bas-reliefs, unquestionably contemporaneous with the arrival
1° the Apostle presenting the Cross –
2° his deacon with his scroll as a memory aid – 3° the Virgin carrying Her new-born Child.
In addition to the deacon, whose written scroll attests the coming of
the Messiah whom
The upper portion of the Nestorian Stone (Hsian monument), discovered by Jesuit missionaries in 1625 AD in the province of Shensi in China. The title of the stone reads:
"A monument commemorating the propagation of the Ta-Chin luminous religion (Christianity) in the middle kingdom".
His mission in
As soon as he arrived,
The half-brother of Mingdi, Prince Liu Ying, converted at the
It is in this
Relying on the authority of Chinese historians, the sinologist Andre Muller found that in AD 65, XACA (Sakya), an Indian Philosopher, came to China and preached amongst other doctrines that of the Divine Three-in-One.
Every believer is thus called the twin of Jesus as part of the Elohim.
In the temple devoted to Amitabha, who receives and leads the soul to
In the years that ensued the Buddhisms came via the Silk route. They
not only tried to eradicate the
« The traces can be seen:
1° on the rock face of Kong Wang. The upper arm of the cross has been
hammered, as has the Infant Jesus on the lap of His Mother. Other figures were
added, several times the very characteristic figure of Buddha. These Buddhist
sculptures, however, are posterior to the bas-relief sculptures of Parthian
workmanship. They date from the beginning of the fourth century, when the
Northern Wei dynasty, the successors of the Han emperors, adopted
Buddhism as the official religion. The dream of Mingdi was the object of a
Budd-hist reinterpretation, as well as the two figures whom we identified as
2° In Luoyang there is nowadays a Buddhist temple called Baima Si, which means “Temple of the White Horse”, presented in all the official guides as the cradle of Chinese Buddhism because it marks the site of the arrival of the « two foreigners who came from India » to the court of Emperor Mingdi in
65. Originally, however, it was a Christian church, as Pierre Perrier discovered by re-marking the west-east orientation of the underlying ruins, while all the other Chinese pagodas are oriented south- north.
3° In the legend of Buddhist origins in
4° The worst is perhaps the appropriation and the misrepresentation of
the figure of the Blessed Virgin. In Chinese Buddhism today there is the
bodhisattva Guanshiyin, – she, it is said, “who pays attention to the voices of
the world”. She is commonly known as Guanyin and also called “goddess of
Mercy”. She is one of the key concepts that was introduced by the “Great
Vehicle”, the broader form of Buddhism, more syncretistic than the “Little
The gospel that was brought in by Apostle Thomas was nourished by the
contact other Christians through the
Studies show that as early as 86 A.D., or the third year under the
reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han, Dy-nasty Christianity entered into
When studying a batch of stone carvings of Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220
A.D.) stored and exhibited in the
Studies showed that these engravings were made in 86 A.D., or the third year under the reign of "Yuanhe" of Eastern Han Dynasty.
The unmistakable vessel of communion
Five Loaves and Two Fish on The Yi Vessel
The word Yi also means “sharing.” “To share with you.” It is not difficult to imagine that this was a vessel used by the early church in Eastern Han for sharing food and to celebrate the “love feast,” Holy Commun-ion.
A typical Mar Thoma Cross found in
Detail of the left part of the rubbing of the Nestorian scriptural pillar,
the inscription of which
bears the Chinese
Nestorian text: “Sutras on the Origin of Origins of Ta-ch‘in Luminous Religion”.
Since 2000 a research team of Australia-based scholars has
systematically collected and analysed finds by Chinese arcaheologists and
scholars relating to the diffusion and cultural adaptation of two religions of
Near Eastern origin, Manichaeism and Christianity, which had reached
They have found large number of St.Thomas crosses in the tomb stones which strongly indicates the connection with the Thomas Christians of Malabar.
(Manichaean and (Nestorian) Christian Remains in Zayton (Quanzhou,
The introduction of Christianity into
In the third century, Arnobius, in "Adversus Gentes", speaks
of the Seres, with the Persians and the Medes, as among the nations reached by
"that new power which has arisen from the works done by the Lord and his
Apostles". . They seemed to have reached
The church was augmented after the Nestorian Schism (Council of
Ephesus (431 AD))when many Nestorians moved to
Kublai Khan, the son of Hulagu Khan, Emperor of all
The Mongol emperor Kublai Khan sent two monks as emissaries to the
West. One of them, Rabban Sa-wma, arrived in
Sawma replied: "Mar Thomas, and Mar Addai, and Mar Mari taught the Gospel in our quarter of the world and we hold at the present time the canons which they delivered to us."
The Chaldean church refers several times to the role of Thomas among
the Chinese in its breviary as: "by
"the Indians and the Chinese . . . bring worship in commemoration of Thomas to Thy name, our Savior."
Whether Thomas reached
In 1623 grave diggers working outside of Xian dug up a stele weighing two tons and carved with 2,000 Chinese characters.
The Monument Stele says:
“The Emperor Taizong was a champion of culture. He created prosperity and encouraged illustrious sages to bestow their wisdom on the people. There was a saint of great virtue named Aleben, who came from the Qin Empire carrying the true scriptures. He had read the azure clouds and divined that he should journey to the East. Along the way, Aleben avoided danger and calamity by observing the rhythm of the wind.
In the ninth year of the Zhenguan reign [A.D. 635], Aleben reaching Chang-an [Zian]. The Emperor sent his minister, Duke Xuanling, together with a contingent of the palace guard, to the western outskirts to ac-company Aleben to the palace.
The translation work on his scriptures took place in the Imperial Library and the Emperor studied them in his Private Chambers. After the Emperor became familiar with the True Teachings, he issued a decree and ordered that it be propagated…
… the Emperor issued a proclamation, saying:
“We have studied these scriptures and found them otherworldly, profound and full of mystery. We found their words lucid and direct.
We have contemplated the birth and growth of the tradition from which these teachings sprang. These teachings will save all creatures and benefit mankind, and it is only proper that they be practiced throughout the world.”
Following the Emperor’s orders, the Greater Qin Monastery was built in the I-ning section of the Capital. Twenty-one ordained monks of the Luminous Religion (Jing Jiao )were allowed to live there…
The Emperor Gaozong [A.D. 650-683] reverently continued the tradition
of his ancestor and enhanced the Luminous Religion by building temples in
every province. He bestowed honors upon Aleben, declarin ghim the Great Dharma
Lord of the Empire. The Luminous Religion spread throughout all ten provinces,
the Empire prospered and peace prevailed.
Palm Sunday procession of Nestorian clergy in a 7th- or 8th-century
wall painting from a Nestorian church in Tang
Christianity flourished in
In 1880 a Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu discovered 50,000 ancient Chinese
manuscripts hidden away in more than 500 caves in Dunhuang. Among them are the
Jesus Sutras which early missionaries brought into
“Do not pile up treasures on the ground where they will rot or be stolen. Treasures must be stored in Heaven where they will not decay or rot.”
“Always tell the truth. Do not give pearls to swine; they will trample and destroy them. You will only be blamed by them for your actions and incur their anger. Why don’t you realize this yourself.”
“Knock on the door and it will be opened for you. Whatever you seek, you will obtain from the One Spirit. Know on the door and it will be opened for you.”
“Look at the birds in the air. They don’t plant or harvest, they have no barns or cellars. In the wilderness the One Spirit provided for the people and will also provide for you. You are more important than the birds and should not worry.”
If you listen to these sutras and take pleasure in them, if you read them aloud and carry them in your mind, you will plant strong roots for many generations to come. Your father and grandfathers, your mother and grandmothers, who cherished these teachings and found joy in them before you, have created a tradition you are continuing.”
Evidently these Jesus Sutra texts clearly shows how the basic gospel
of Salvation is embedded in the culturally relevant form of
Thus, the Jesus Sutras speak of the “Higher Dharma” that leads to Peace and Joy. “It is the Sutras of the Luminous Religion that enable us to cross the sea of birth and death to the other shore, a land fragrant with the treasured aroma of Peace and Joy.” “The Sutras are like a great fire burning upon a high mountain. The light from that fire shines upon all.”
Here is how the Jesus Sutras relate the story of Jesus:
“The Lord of Heaven sent the Cool Wind to a girl named Mo Yen. It entered her womb and at the moment she conceived. The Lord of Heaven did this to show that conception could take place without a husband. He knew there was no man near her and that people who saw it would say, “How great is the power of the Lord of Heaven.”…
“… Mo Yen became pregnant and gave birth to a son named Jesus, whose father is the Cool Wind.
When Jesus Messiah was born, the world saw clear signs in heaven and
earth. A new star that could be seen everywhere appeared in heaven above. The
star was as big as a cart wheel and shown brightly. At about that time, the One
was born in the country of Ephrath in the city of
… From the time the Messiah was 12 until he was 32 years old, he sought out people with bad karma and directed them to turn around and create good karma by following a wholesome path. After the Messiah had gathered 12 disciples, he concerned himself with the suffering of others. Those who had died were made to live. The blind were made to see. The deformed were healed and the sick were cured.
(The Lost Sutras of Jesus: Unlocking the Ancient Wisdom of the Xian Monks, edited by Ray Riegert and Thomas Moore, Berkeley: Seastone, 2003. Martin Palmer’s The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity Wellspring/Ballantine, 2001).
Not long after Jing Jiao reached China, the emperor Tang Taizong
ordered and financed a "Persian Temple" to be built in Chang An by
Jing Jiao priests. Jing Jiao spread across
. “Christianity had first come to
According to the Yuan Shi there were 72 Church of the East monasteries during the period 1289 to 1320 not to mention the multitude of churches and believers.
Thomas next proceeded overland to the Coromandel coast and ministered
in what is now the Chennai (
Apostle Thomas was martyred in Mylapore near
Martyrdom of St. Thomas, by Peter Paul Rubens, dating to about 1636.
His followers took his body and buried him in the tombs of the Chiefs.
The Church which stands over the cave at Little Mount where
The inscription in a marble tablet at the entrance to the cave reads as follows:
“The cave where lay hid persecuted just before being martyred by RAJA MAHADEVAN, king of Mylapore, A.D. 68, THOMAS one of the twelve, the great Apostle of India, the very one who put his finger into the wounds of his Lord and God”
The Church on St. Thomas Mount, which was built by the Portuguese in 1523 and extended in 1547. Coja Safar, an Armenian, extended it further in 1707.
The Marthoma Cross which is on the main altar, in the Church on St. Thomas Mount.
The Church in St. Thomas Mount, Mylapore, Chennai The Gothic Cathedral built in 1893. The tomb is found inside this church
Shrine of Saint Thomas in Meliapore, 18th century print.
Original tomb of Apostle Thomas in Mylapore.
Tomb in 1900
Piece of a hand Bone
of St. Thomas which touched the wound of Jesus, it was brought from
and preserved in the
Tip of the
lance that took the life of
In 232 the relics of the Apostle Thomas are said to
have been returned by an Indian king and brought from
Obv: Vasudeva in tall helmet, holding a scepter, and making an offering over an altar. Legend in Kushan language and Greek script (with the Kushan letter "sh"):
oesho, a conflation of Zoroastrian Vayu and Hindu Shiva, holding a trisula scepter, with the bull Nandi. Monogram (tamgha) to the left.
The martyrologist Rabban Sliba dedicated a special day to both the
Indian king, his family, and
"Coronatio Thomae apostoli et Misdeus rex Indiae, Johannes eus filius huisque mater Tertia" ("Coronation of Thomas the Apostole, and Misdeus king of India, together with his son Johannes (thought to be a latinization of Vizan) and his mother Tertia") Rabban Sliba (Mario Bussagli, "L'Art du Gandhara", p255)
St. Ephrem's works note that the bones of
The evil one wails,
"Where then can I flee from the righteous?
I incited Death to kill the apostles as if to escape from their scourges by their death. More than ever now I am scourged harshly.
The apostle I killed in India [has come] to Edessa before me.
Here is he and also there. I went there, there he is.
Here and there I found him, and I am gloomy. Did that merchant carry the bones?
Or perhaps, indeed, they carried him!
A Nestorian bishop of Basrah, at the mouth of the Tigris-Euphrates, wrote the Book of the Bee in the thirteenth century which states:
“Thomas was from
His relics were moved from
In 1258 the prince of
After a short stay in
St.Thomas Apostle Basilica in
Ortona's great cathedral has the privilege of housing the bones of St
Thomas Apostle, which arrived in Ortona on September 6, 1258, a booty
taken by captain Leone degli Acciaioli when the
The story is that after
In the 3rd century, however, his bones were transported to
t for him.
In 13th century the bones were 'rescued' together with the tombstone
From there they were stolen by Leone Acciaiuoli, captain of a ship
from the fleet of Manfred, prince of
Arnaldo Capelli, prof. dr. Sergio Sensi, prof. dr. Luigi Capasso (paleopathology) and prof. dr. Fulvio Della Loggia, all from the Faculty of medicine from the University of Chieti. The anthropological examination on the remains of the skeleton established that the bones belonged to a relatively tall
male individual with delicate bone structure, with a height of 1 metre 60 cm plus/minus 10 cm. At the age of death the individual was between 50 and 70 years old, with a fracture of the right cheekbone caused by a sharp blow shortly before or after death. The person did also suffer from rheumatism or artritis, which could be seen at the small joints of the hands. Furthermore, a small osteoma (bone tumour) was found in the frontal region of the skull.
The gild copper urn holding the most of the remains of Apostle Thomas.
In 1953, a wrist bone
of the right arm was extracted from the Ortona skeleton and given to the Indian
church. It now resides at the Marthoma Pontifical Shrine in Koddungalloor in
Another bone from the arm of Thomas is found in a relic in the
The reliquary S. Tommaso Apostolo in Bari. The central window shows a rectangular bone set.
On the long sides that surround the window, some words are carved: on the left side from bottom to top
"Brachii SANCTI THOMAE Apostles" and on the right side in descending order
"ECCLESIAE SANCTI NICOLAI BARENSIS".
Another arm bone of Thomas is found in
The reliquary containing a right arm bone of St. Thomas in Maastricht, the Netherlands.
The bone from the
index finger of 'doubting'
Some other finger
pieces of Thomas did return from
The index finger of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy.
Piece of a hand Bone of St.
Thomas in the St. Thomas Museum in Milapore, India.
A close look at the tombstone from Edessa in the Basilica San Thomasso Aposotolo in Ortona.
The reliquary with the
tip of the lance that took the life of
The reliquary with the tip of the lance that took the life of St. Thomas in the Milapore St. Thomas Museum.
Holy Relics of
There are several references to Thomas' acts in
1.'The Doctrine of the Apostles' 100 AD?
Jonathan Draper writes (Gospel Perspectives, v. 5, p. 269):
“Since it was discovered in a monastery in
"A new consensus is emerging for a date c. 100 AD." Latest date for the available document is 250 AD
“After death of the Apostles, there were Guides and Rulers in the Churches; and whatever the Apostles communicated to them, and they had received from them, they taught to the multitudes. They, again, at their deaths also committed and delivered to their disciples after them everything which they had received from the Apostles; also what James had written from Jerusalem and Simon from the City of Rome, and John from Ephesus and Mark from the great Alexandria, and Andrew from Phrygia and Luke from Macedonia and Judas St. Thomas from India, that the epistles of an Apostle might be received and read in the Churches in every place, like those Triumphs of their Acts which Luke wrote, are read, that by this the Apostles might he known...'
2.Bar-Daisan (A.D. 154-223) was a Syrian poet, astrologist, and philosopher, of
3.Saint Pantaenus ( 180 – 216 AD)
Saint Pantaenus was a Christian theologian who founded the Catechetical School of Alexandria about AD 190. (Eusebius, Church History V.10),This school was the earliest catechetical school, and became influential in the development of Christian theology.
Pantaenus was a Stoic philosopher teaching in
A deputation from
He is the first known writer to record the casting of lots by the
Apostles. Origen taught in
Greek Theologian, Clement makes a passing reference to
In what follows “the
*Doctrine of the Apostles: 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”.
Also “The merchant brought the bones” to Edessa.
In another hymn eulogizing
"It was to a land of dark people he was sent, to clothe them by
Baptism in white robes. His grateful dawn dispelled
St. Ephraem, writes in the forty-second of his "Carmina
Nisibina" that the Apostle was put to death in
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
According to Eusebius' record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to
Ephrem the Syrian: 4th century;
Many devotional hymns composed by St. Ephraem bear witness to the
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"; "