- Dear Moderators,
I received few messages expressing doubt about St.
Thomas. Kindly allow me to respond to messages addressed to me
and express what I know about Apostle Thomas.
May God bless you.
You agree that Alexandria is in communion with Anthioc. Now, there is
clear evidence in the Alexandrian church that Apostle Thomas came to
India and ordained bishop and priests right here. Kindly read here:
"St. Thomas asked the king for permission to lift it up and to use its
wood in building a church. He got the permission, he made the sign of
the cross, and he raised it and later he built the church, to which he
ordained a bishop and priests."
Even Syrian fathers like St. Ephraim, St. Jacob of Nisibis etc. wrote
about the coming of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Church of the East
also believes that St. Thomas is the founder. Can we discredit these
fathers. Kindly check the lineage of Roman Catholic section of Church
of the East here:
You see that St. Thomas is the first in the list officially accepted
Even if we dismiss our own local tradition as "aithihyam" (Because in
Indian culture, writing history was not a common practice), we cannot
dismiss the ancient fathers. Same is true with Hindus, history for
them is in the form of songs.
St. Gregory of Nazianzen (Mar Gregorios remembered with Mar Baselios)
(370-390) referred to St. Thomas as Apostle of India in his oration
against the Arians: "Granding that Judea was the country of Peter,
what has Paul in common with Gentiles, Luke with Achea, Andrew with
Ephesus, Thomas with India, Mark with Italy or the rest. "
St. Jerome (342-400) speaks of the St. Thomas as a fact universally
known and believed in his time: "He (Jesus) dwelt in all places, with
Thomas in India, with Peter in Rome, with Paul in Illyricium, with
Titus in Crete, with Andrew in Achaia ..."
St. John Chrysostom (347-407) (Mar Ivanios the golden-mouthed), the
Patriarch of Constantinople, says that the tomb of St. Thomas was as
much venerated in the East as that of St. Peter in Rome.
In the doctrine of the Apostles, a Syriac document written in Edessa,
about 250 A.D and complied by Cureton, it is given, "Indian and all
its countries and those bordering it even to the farthest sea,
received the Apostle's hand of priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was
guide and ruler in the church which he built there and ministered
[Source: William J. Young: Handbook of Source Materials (24) pp. 26]
Hippolytus who died a Martyr during the reign of Roman Emperor Sirrus
(225-235) has recorded that "The Apostle after having preached the
gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians suffered martyrdom in
Codamina, a town in India."
It is in the liturgy of all Orthodox churches world wide, not just
Alexandrian, that St. Thomas came to India. What is in the liturgy is
not "aithihyam". If so, this will lead to discrediting liturgy,
including the Syrian liturgy which clearly links St. Thomas with
Bible says that "Kaanathe vishwasikkunnavar Bhagyavaanmaar..."