Thomas – our Patron Saint

There is much uncertainty about Thomas’ missionary work after Pentecost. One tradition placed it among the Parthians, but another, more persistent, placed it in India, where the Syrian Christians of Malabar claim that they were evangelized by Thomas, who was killed by a spear and buried at Mylapore, near Madras. The Indian connection with Thomas was so well accepted in the 9th century that King Alfred of Wessex sent alms not only to Rome but also “to India to St Thomas and St Bartholomew”. When the Portugese arrived in 1522, they found the tomb at Mylapore. He is sometimes represented with a builder’s T-square because in an apocryphal book entitled “The Acts of Thomas” he is said to have built a palace for an Indian king. In our calendar, his feast day is December 21, the traditional date of his death. But in the Syrian churches and in Malabar, 3 July was believed to be the date of his death. Our calendar gives the option of celebrating St Thomas’ Day on July 3.

The Gospel reading for St Thomas’ Day JOHN 20.24-29

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (called the Twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later the disciples were together again indoors, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came and stood among them and said. “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas. “Put your finger here, and look at my hands; then reach out your hand and put it in my side. Stop your doubting, and believe!”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Do you believe because you see me? How happy are those who believe without seeing me!”