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Saint of the Day – St. Thomas the Apostle


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Saint of the Day

He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.

– St. Thomas the Apostle

Feast Day: July 3
Patronage: India, Saint Thomas Christians, Sri Lanka, and Pula in Croatia
Birth: 1st century AD Galilee, Roman Empire (present-day Israel)
Death: 03 July 72 Parangimalai, Chennai, Chola Empire (present-day St. Thomas Mount, Tamil Nadu, India)
Canonized: Pre-Congregation

Life: Thomas the Apostle (Biblical Hebrew: תומאס הקדוש‎; Coptic: ⲑⲱⲙⲁⲥ; Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ‎ Thoma Shliha; also called Didymus which means “the twin”) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, according to the New Testament.

He is informally referred to as “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John account only), followed later by his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God,” on seeing Jesus’ wounded body.

Traditionally, he is said to have travelled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, travelling as far as Tamilakam which are the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in present-day India. According to tradition, Thomas reached Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 50 and baptized several people, founding what today are known as Saint Thomas Christians or Mar Thoma Nazranis. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thoma remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India.

Thomas first speaks in the Gospel of John. In John 11:16, when Lazarus had recently died, the apostles do not wish to go back to Judea, where some Jews had attempted to stone Jesus. Thomas says: Let us also go, that we may die with him (NIV).

He speaks again in John 14:5. There, Jesus had just explained that he was going away to prepare a heavenly home for his followers, and that one day they would join him there. Thomas reacted by saying, Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way? (NIV)

John 20:24-29 tells how doubting Thomas was skeptical at first when he heard that Jesus had risen from the dead and appeared to the other apostles, saying, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (v. 25) But when Jesus appeared later and invited Thomas to touch his wounds and behold him, Thomas showed his belief by saying, My Lord and my God. (v. 28) Jesus then said, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. (v. 29)

– Christi Simus Non Nostri

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