The Apostle Saint Thomas

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St. Thomas

St. Thomas the apostle is famously known as “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted that Christ had risen from the dead.

Before Jesus’ death, Thomas was a devoted disciple who was even willing to die with the Lord when he returned to Judea.

Saint Thomas, as an apostle, was tasked with disseminating Jesus’ teachings throughout the world.

While Saints Peter and Paul are said to have brought the gospel to Greece and Rome, Saint Thomas is said to have brought it to India.

The churches of Malankara in India can be traced back to St. Thomas, who, according to local legend, arrived along the Malabar Coast in 52 C.E.

Saint Thomas is also linked to a group of ancient documents that bear his name.

The Gospel of Thomas, the Acts of Thomas, and the Infancy Gospel of Thomas are among these documents.

It was common in the ancient world to attribute texts to an apostle or religious teacher even if they were not the true authors.

Saint Thomas Birth

The Holy and Glorious Apostle Thomas was a fisherman who was born in 1st century AD Galilee, Roman Province of Judea, the Galileian city of Pansada.

Thomas With Jesus

All three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, tell us how, at the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus chose twelve disciples from among the multitudes who followed Him and named them Apostles. Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles.

The gospels also tell how Jesus commanded them to go throughout all Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and across the Jordan, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God and how they received authority from Christ to cure the blind and to heal the sick, and to deliver those who were oppressed by from evil spirits just as He had done

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Saint Thomas

Saint Thomas travels/Missionary

The first mention of Thomas’ missionary work comes from Eusebius of Caesarea, who quotes Origen (a mid-third-century scholar) as saying that Thomas was sent to Parthia (which is in modern-day Iran).

However, according to popular church tradition, Thomas travelled to India around 50 AD and evangelized the people there, possibly establishing up to seven churches. This tradition appears to have begun with the Acts of Thomas, and it is still extremely popular in some churches, particularly those claiming to be founded by him.

st. thomas the apostle w/ gold frame
St. Thomas the Apostle w/ Gold Frame

Doubting Thomas

Thomas was not present when the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples for the first time. When the others told Thomas,

“We have seen the Lord,”

he said he wouldn’t believe it unless he could touch Jesus’ wounds. Later, Jesus appeared to the apostles and invited Thomas to examine his wounds.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples again at the Sea of Galilee, Thomas was there with them.

Although it is not mentioned in the Bible, this disciple was given the nickname “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted the resurrection.

Sceptical people are sometimes referred to as “Doubting Thomases.”

Can you imagine an apostle, Christ’s closest follower, having doubts about Jesus? St. Thomas did, and his disbelief teaches us the value of the gift of faith.

Thomas was not with the other apostles in the Upper Room in Jerusalem on the evening of Jesus’ Resurrection, so he was not present when Jesus appeared to them and showed them the wounds on his hands and side.

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Domínikos Theotokópoulos, dit Le Greco 1541-1614 Tolède. Apostle Saint Thomas ca 1608 Toledo Museo del Greco.

“We have seen the Lord,”

the other apostles later told Thomas (John 20:25). Imagine their surprise when Thomas responded,

“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).

A week later, Jesus appeared to the apostles once more. After wishing them peace, Jesus instructed Thomas to examine his hands and touch his side. He encouraged Thomas to believe. Thomas was embarrassed that he had questioned Jesus’ Resurrection.

“My Lord and my God!” he exclaimed. (Matthew 20:28)

Then Jesus declared,

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

Thomas never doubted the Lord again, and he dedicated his life to assisting others in believing in Jesus—even though they had never seen Him face to face. According to legend, Thomas travelled to India to spread the Gospel.

Even today, Catholics on India’s Malabar Coast refer to themselves as “Christians of Saint Thomas” because he founded their community and helped them grow in faith.

St. Thomas is revered as a saint by Catholics. His life teaches us to believe in everything the Lord has promised us so that, like Jesus, we can rise to new life.

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Doubting Thomas

Thomas’ Accomplishments

Although little is known about Saint Thomas’s life, Christian tradition holds that he was the first missionary to India. He is widely regarded as the founder of the Church of the Syrian Malabar Christians, also known as the Thomas Christians.

For three years, the Apostle Thomas travelled with Jesus and learned from him. According to church tradition, after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, Thomas took the gospel message to the east and was eventually martyred for his faith.

We have these encouraging words from Jesus because of Thomas: “Because you have seen Me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen but believe ” (John 20:29, NKJV). Thomas’ lack of faith has served to encourage all future Christians who have not seen Jesus and yet have believed in him and his resurrection.

Saint Thomas Feast Day

Now, the feast day of St. Thomas in Roman and Syrian catholic churches is on 3rd July. Also, the next Sunday of Easter (Pascha) is celebrated as Sunday of Thomas in the communication of Thomas question to Jesus which led him to proclaim, My Lord and my God” and the day in Kerala is known as puthunjayar.

Thomas is also commemorated in common with all the apostles on June 30th, in a feast known as the Synaxis of the holy apostles.

Saint Thomas Reflection

In his weakness and lack of understanding, Thomas shares the fate of Peter the impatient, James and John, the “sons of thunder,” Philip and his foolish request to see the Father—indeed, all the apostles.

However, we must not exaggerate these facts because Christ did not choose worthless men. However, their human frailty highlights the fact that holiness is a gift from God, not a human creation; it is given to ordinary men and women with flaws; and it is God who gradually transforms the flaws into the image of Christ, the courageous, trusting, and loving one.

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Death of Saint Thomas

The Acts of Thomas says that he was martyred in Mylapore, India, where he was stabbed with spears. Syrian Christian tradition specifies Thomas was martyred in Mylapore on July 3, 72 AD, noting that he was killed with a spear.

Saint Thomas Key Takeaway

Thomas was given a bad rap. He had no more doubts than the rest of the disciples, and the only reason he did was that they had seen the resurrected Christ.

When the women returned from the empty tomb and saw the risen Christ, the disciples were sceptical as well. There is no doubt that Thomas was a devout Christian and a powerful missionary who was used by God for His glory.

leendert van der cooghen, incredulità di san tommaso
Leendert van der Cooghen, incredulità di San Tommaso

Summary Saint Thomas

His Hebrew name was Thomas, and his Greek name was Didymus. He was sometimes referred to as Judas. Except for his name, Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us nothing about Thomas.

In his Gospel, however, Saint John defines him more precisely. Thomas appeared in the raising of Lazarus (John 11:2-16) and in the Upper Room (John 14:1-6) where he wanted to know how Jesus was going.

In John 20:25, he says he will not believe unless he sees the nail prints in Jesus’ hand and the spear gash in His side. That is how Thomas came to be known as Doubting Thomas.

Thomas was a pessimist by nature. He was a perplexed man. Nonetheless, he was a brave man. He was the type of man who couldn’t believe anything until he saw it for himself.

He was a man of faith and devotion. When Jesus arose, he invited Thomas to place his finger in the nail prints on his hands and side.

“My Lord and my God,”

says Thomas, the greatest confession of faith. Thomas’s scepticism was transformed into faith. Thomas’s faith grew strong, intense, and convincing as a result of this fact.

He was commissioned to build a palace for the king of India, and he was killed with a spear as a martyr for his Lord. His symbol consists of a slew of spears, stones, and arrows.


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