St. Thomas The Apostle

In this first episode of our volunteer-driven research project “Walking The Way with The Saints”, we start fittingly with the apostle of our Lord, St. Thomas, whom we remembered on July 3rd for the translation of his holy relics from Mylapore, India to Urho (Edessa).

Bryant Wong of St. Luke’s Orthodox Mission Church, PA, has taken up this research project and prepared a video presenting his findings about the life and impact of St. Thomas on the Christian history of South and East Asia. He also shares a brief testimony about how learning the story of St. Thomas brought him to Orthodoxy.

St. Thomas the Apostle is known in Aramaic Syriac as Touma and in Greek as Didymus. He was referred to as the “Twin” because he had a twin brother named Adai, who was the Episcopo of Edessa. St. Thomas was a Jewish carpenter, prior to becoming a disciple of Christ. [3]

“Doubting Thomas” is what some will call St. Thomas the Apostle. “The other disciples therefore said to Thomas, “We have seen the Lord.” So Thomas said to them, “ Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”” (John 20:25). St. Thomas’s doubt is not lack of faith, but his desire to see Jesus. Seeing Jesus is what he believes to be true that He resurrected.3. According to Father Lawrence Farley, St. Thomas’s desire for Christ challenges not only our faith, but our priorities.[1] St. Thomas wanted Christ more than anything. In John: 20:28, St. Thomas confessed Christ’s divinity by addressing “my Lord and my God.” The conversion of St. Thomas’s doubt for desiring the truth into faith led him to this confession of Christ’s divinity. 

St. Thomas is known as the Apostle to India. In 52 A.D., St. Thomas arrived in Kodungaloor, where he preached to Jews and Gentiles.[2] He established houses of worship at Maliankara, Kollam, Niranam, Chayal (Nikkal), Gokkamangalam, Paravur, and Palayoor. Between 52 AD and 72 AD, Thomas, traveled throughout India including China, where a house of worship was established in China. According to Professor M.M. Ninaan, St. Thomas visited Kerala twice and China once.[3] In 72 A.D. St Thomas was pierced by a lance in Mylapore near Chennai, India. St. Thomas the Apostle was not only the Apostle to India, but the Apostle to South and East Asia. Christianity started with St. Thomas the Apostle in South and East Asia. [2][3] Below is a map showing the location of St. Thomas’s ministry.

References: 
[1] Farley, Lawrence “Understanding Thomas” April, 27. 2014 https://www.oca.org/reflections/fr.-lawrence-farley/understanding-thomas
[2] Ninann, M.M. “Coming of Christianity” http://www.talentshare.org/~mm9n/articles/dev/09Thomas.htm?fbclid=IwAR2yYn1q2RADUR-YtVHB2O6g_siNDTZRf7yH-YhRdepiFXViaUR6ED8PDIw
[3] Rajan, Cor Episco K. Mani Martyrs, Saints, and Prelates of the Syriac Orthodox Church One Volume. Puthencruz, Kerala, India: J.S.C. Publications: 2017

We thank all those who worked to produce this material and pray that it helps all who read and watch. May the prayers of St. Thomas be a refuge for us! ♰

Stay tuned for the next episode as laymen and clergy present their research on the saints of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

May God bless all of you!

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