Story of St. Thomas the Apostle

This story of St. Thomas the Apostle is about one of Jesus’ disciples Thomas who was born in the first century in Galilee, Israel.

He questioned Jesus’ resurrection when he first heard about it, earning him the moniker “Doubting Thomas.”

He later declared Jesus as “My Lord and my God” after his resurrection, according to John 20:28.

Following that, he spent the next many years traveling and preaching the gospel. St. Thomas died in Mylapore, India, on December 21, 1972, at the age of 72.

The Other names of St. Thomas

These are the hidden sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos, Judas Thomas, recorded,” the Nag Hammadi copy of the Gospel of Thomas starts.

According to early Syrian sources, the apostle’s full name was Judas Thomas.

Some have identified Thomas with the apostle Judas, Son of James, better known in English as Jude, in the Acts of Thomas (written in east Syria in the early 3rd century, or maybe as early as the first half of the 2nd century).

story of st. thomas the apostle - bestand: leendert van der cooghen - the doubting thomas.jpg - wikipedia
Bestand:Leendert van der Cooghen - The Doubting Thomas.jpg - Wikipedia

The opening phrase of Acts, on the other hand, follows the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles in distinguishing the apostles Thomas and Judas son of James.

A “Doubting Thomas” is a doubter who refuses to believe until he sees and feels Jesus’ crucifixion wounds.

This is a reference to the Apostle Thomas in John’s Gospel, who refused to acknowledge the resurrected Jesus had did appear to the ten other apostles till he could see and feel Jesus’ crucifixion wounds.

sao tome
Sao Tome

Acts of Thomas

The apocryphal Acts of Thomas, also known as The Acts of Judas Thomas and written between 180 and 230 AD/CE, is the primary source.

Various Christian religions regard them as apocryphal, if not outright heretical. The two centuries between the apostle’s death and the recording of this work throw doubt on its veracity.

When Thomas converted the queen Tertia, the king’s son Juzanes, sister-in-law princess Mygdonia, and her friend Markia, the king, Misdeus (or Mizdeos), was enraged.

st thomas
St Thomas

Misdeus took Thomas outside the city and ordered four soldiers to take him to a neighboring hill, where they speared and killed him.

Following Thomas’ death, the surviving converts elected Syphorus as the first presbyter of Mazdia, and Juzanes as the first deacon.

(The names Misdeus, Tertia, Juzanes, Syphorus, Markia, and Mygdonia (c.f. Mygdonia, a Mesopotamian region) may all indicate Greek ancestry or cultural influences.)

Muziris had long been a stopover for Greek traders. The Indo-Parthians were vassals of the Greek kingdoms formed by Alexander the Great in northern India and Bactria.

The Writings of St. Thomas

Aside from the Acts of Thomas, there existed a widely circulated Infancy Gospel of Thomas, which chronicles the miraculous happenings and prodigies of Jesus’ boyhood and was most likely composed in the late 2nd century in Syria.

This is the text that narrates for the first time the familiar tradition of the twelve sparrows that Jesus fashioned from clay on the Sabbath day when he was five years old, and which took flight and flew away. The earliest Syriac manuscript of this text is from the 6th century.

Irenaeus was the first to mention this gospel; according to Ron Cameron: “Irenaeus begins his citation by quoting a non-canonical story about Jesus’ childhood that had circulated, and then goes on to quote a line from Luke’s infancy narrative.

st thomas of india  icon
St Thomas of India icon

Because both of these episodes are recorded in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas near one another, it’s conceivable that the apocryphal source identified by Irenaeus is the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

However, due to the complexity of the manuscript tradition, it is impossible to say when the stories of Thomas’ Infancy Gospel came to be written down.”

Later history and traditions

Joseph of Arimathea was credited with the Passing of Mary, which was declared heretical by Pope Gelasius I in 494.

According to the document, Thomas was the only witness to Mary’s ascension into heaven.

To witness her execution, the other apostles were magically transported to Jerusalem.

After her first burial, Thomas was carried to her tomb, where he witnessed her physical assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle.

The other apostles are doubtful of Thomas’ tale until they witness the empty tomb and the girdle, an inversion of Thomas’ reservations.

In medieval and pre-Council of Trent Renaissance art, Thomas receiving the girdle is frequently shown.

saint john canvas print, wood

Saint Thomas woven tapestry

This beautiful tapestry tells the story of Saint Thomas the Apostle.
He was one of Jesus` twelve disciples and is known as the apostle who doubted.

The tapestry is made of Jacquard fabric and finished by hand in Italy.

It would be a perfect addition to any home décor or religious collection.

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Mission in India

The Apostle Thomas landed at Muziris (Cranganore) on the Kerala coast in AD 52 and was murdered in Mylapore, near Madras, in AD 72, according to the Saint Thomas Christians of India’s traditional tales.

The port was damaged in 1341 by a severe flood that reconfigured the beaches. Saint Thomas, according to Christian mythology, founded seven churches (communities) in Kerala.

Among the churches are those in Kodungallur, Palayoor, Kottakkavu (Paravur), Kokkamangalam, Niranam, Nilackal (Chayal), Kollam, and Thiruvithamcode. Several families, including Pakalomattom, Sankarapuri, Kalli, Kaliyankal, and others, were baptized by Thomas.

According to religious historian Robert Eric Frykenberg, some families claim to have roots that go back almost as far as these:

Whatever dubious historicity such local tales may have, there can be little doubt about their immense antiquity or appeal in the common mind.”

He was sent to a land of dark people to clad them in white clothes through Baptism. India’s terrible gloom was shattered by his grateful dawn. It was his goal to persuade the One-Begotten to support India. The merchant is fortunate to have such a valuable asset.

As a result of owning the best pearl India could produce, Edessa became a blessed city. In India, Thomas performs miracles, and at Edessa, Thomas is destined to baptize people who are perverse and plunged into darkness, and this is in India.

According to Eusebius’ record, Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia and India. 

The Didascalia (dating from the end of the 3rd century) states, “India and all countries considering it, even to the farthest seas… received the apostolic ordinances from Judas Thomas, who was a guide and ruler in the church which he built.”

When an attack was imminent, Thomas is thought to have fled northwest India by ship to the Malabar Coast, probably stopping in southeast Arabia and Socotra along the way, and landing at Muziris (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor) with a Jewish trader named Abbanes/Habban (Schonfield, 1984,125).

Apostle Thomas is said to have preached the gospel all over the Malabar coast from there. He established churches mostly around the Periyar River and its branches, as well as along the seashore, where there were Jewish colonies.

Thomas ordained instructors and leaders, or elders, by apostolic precedent, who was said to be the Malankara Church’s first ministry.

st thomas
3 july is the feast of st thomas the apostle who is believed to have taken the faith to the shores of goa in india. this mosaic of the saint is in the apse of st john lateran in rome.
St Thomas

3 July is the feast of St Thomas the apostle who is believed to have taken the faith to the shores of Goa in India. This mosaic of the saint is in the apse of St John Lateran in Rome.

Culture

India’s patron saint is St. Thomas the Apostle. Due to his spiritual blindness, he is also the patron saint of the visually impaired, tradesmen (particularly carpenters, architects, and masons), theologians, and geometricians.

Anyone who refuses to believe in something without firsthand experience is referred to as a “Doubting Thomas,” a reference to Thomas’s early skepticism of the resurrection stories. His feast day was originally listed as December 21 on the Roman calendar. It was moved to July 3rd, 1969.

Thomas’ feast day is still celebrated on December 21 by Roman Catholics who use the General Roman Calendar, which dates back to 1960 or earlier, and Anglicans such as the Episcopal Church, the Church of England, and the Lutheran Church. However, his feast day is celebrated on July 3 in a great number of modern liturgical calendars (such as the Church of England’s).

saint john icon, oval

Chalice Saint Thomas

This magnificent Chalice Saint Thomas is 15 cm tall and has a modern design.

It’s made of brass and plated with gold and silver.

The cup is crafted in Italy and is a beautiful addition to any church.

This chalice holds 500 ml and would be a perfect choice for any communion service.

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Saint Thomas Christian cross

Antonio Gouvea describes magnificent crosses known as Saint Thomas Crosses in his 16th-century work Jornada. Nasrani Menorah, Persian Cross, and Mar Thoma Sleeva are some of the other names for it.

According to legend, these crosses date from the 6th century and may be seen in several churches in Kerala, Mylapore, and Goa.

The oldest documented document that refers to this form of a cross as a Saint Thomas Cross is Jornada. Gouvea also mentions Cranganore’s veneration of the Cross, referring to it as the “Cross of Christians.”

The Nasrani symbol can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The Christian Jewish view claims that the design was inspired by the Jewish menorah, an old Hebrew emblem consisting of seven branching lampstands (candelabra).

According to the local interpretation, the Cross without the figure of Jesus and with flowery arms indicating “joyfulness” refers to Paul the Apostle’s resurrection theology; the Holy Spirit on top indicates the function of the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

The lotus represents Buddhism, and the cross above it indicates that Christianity was established in Buddha’s homeland. The three steps represent Calvary and the rivulets of Grace that flow from the Cross.

Death of St. Thomas

Thomas was murdered with a spear at St. Thomas Mount in Chennai on 3 July in AD 72, according to Syrian Christian tradition, and his remains were placed in Mylapore.

According to Ephrem the Syrian, the Apostle was slain in India, and his relics were later transferred to Edessa. This is the oldest record of his death that has been found.

The grave was thereafter maintained by a Muslim who kept a candle burning there, according to Barbosa’s reports from the early 16th century.

The San Thome Basilica in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, which now stands beside the grave, was established by the Portuguese in the 16th century and rebuilt in the 19th century.

Summary Story of St. Thomas the Apostle

Thomas is in such a bad situation! He made one statement and has since been dubbed “Doubting Thomas.” He doubted, but he also believed.

He said, “My Lord and My God!” in what is arguably the most emphatic expression of faith in the New Testament, and in doing so, he gave Christians a prayer that will be recited until the end of time.

st thomas
story of st. thomas the apostle 9

He also prompted Jesus to pay a compliment to all later Christians: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?” he said. “Blessed are those who believe despite not seeing” (John 20:29).

Thomas should be renowned for his bravery as well. Maybe what he said was rash—after all, he bolted like the rest at the showdown—but he couldn’t have been lying when he declared he was willing to die with Jesus.

When Jesus recommended going to Bethany after Lazarus died, this was the occasion. Because Bethany was so close to Jerusalem, this meant walking right into the middle of his foes and nearly certain death. “Let us also go to die with him,” Thomas realized and told the other apostles (John 11:16).

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FAQs Story of St. Thomas the Apostle

How did Thomas the apostle meet Jesus?

The answer may surprise you, but it is not recorded in the Bible. However, there are some clues that allow us to piece together a possible scenario.
Thomas was most likely a Galilean fisherman like Peter and Andrew. It is possible that he met Jesus through one of these two apostles. Whatever the case may be, we do know that Thomas was a skeptical disciple who doubted Jesus’ resurrection until he saw Him with his own eyes (John 20:24-29).

Did Thomas the apostle go to India?

There are a few different schools of thought on this. Some say that he definitely did, and some say it’s more up for debate.
Apostle Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. According to tradition, he traveled to India as a missionary following the death of Jesus. There is evidence that suggests he may have preached in Kerala, and there are even some references to Thomas in local texts. However, there is no concrete evidence that can confirm or disprove this claim. So it remains a mystery as to whether or not Apostle Thomas actually traveled to India. What we do know is that his teachings left a lasting impact on the region, and his legacy continues to be celebrated today.

Where was Thomas when Jesus appeared to the disciples?

Apostle Thomas was probably in the same room as the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them. But, of course, we can’t know for sure. What we do know is that Jesus appeared to Thomas and the other disciples after he was resurrected from the dead. And that appearance must have been pretty amazing because it completely changed Thomas’s attitude about Jesus. Before, he had doubted that Jesus was truly the Son of God. But after seeing Jesus alive again, Thomas confessed that Jesus was his Lord and his God. So whether he was in the same room or not, Apostle Thomas experienced a powerful encounter with the risen Christ.

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