Dear and Respected Brethren
Apu Jose wrote: "I remember reading somewhere that the no of emissaries were 70. But you get the no as 72 by adding the gospelists Mor Lukose and Mor Markose to it . As you can see they were not Apostles. They might have been given the ranking of emissaries. For further information I have heard that Mor Addai , the twin brother of Mor Thoma sleeho , was the head of the emissaries .Mor Addai is often referred to as sleeho. I would request the learned members of this forum to clear this doubt."
In St. Luke 10:1, we find Lord Jesus deputing 70 messengers from his disciples. So we cannot take 70 as the number of Messengers of our Lord. Traditionally we believe that the total number of messengers of our Lord was 72 and the Holy Church honor their memory on 5th July every year. (In the Holy Church records it is mentioned "Feast of 72 Messengers". Our censor itself is a symbolic representation of our faith and traditions. Out of the four strings of the censor, there are twelve bells, representing the 12 Apostles of our Lord and each string has 18 hooks each making the total number as 72, representing the 72 messengers. What Apu wrote about St. Adai is true. He was a messenger. In early Christianity many strong and staunch faithful were addressed as "Sleeha" and honored as an Apostle. St. James, author of the first 'Thaksa' and the first celebrant of the Holy Eucharist using the 'Thaksa' and who is often honored as the brother of our Lord, was not an Apostle, but he is still honored as a Sleeha and a Martyr.
May God bless us all
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.