Thursday, July 3, 2014

St. Thomas, apostle, ora pro nobis!

So I have a Catholic friend from India who gave me the lowdown on this.  Basically the church that St. Thomas founded in India was completely cut off from the rest of the world until Portuguese missionaries showed up (and tried to "convert" their Eastern Orthodox theology and liturgical practices) in the 1500s.  A major historical stumbling block against the lazy modern argument for an invented Christianity.  

St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Kottakkavu - (built by St. Thomas)
A Syrian ecclesiastical calendar of an early date confirms the above and gives the merchant a name. The entry reads: "3 July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in 'India'. His body is in Urhai (Edessa) having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. A great festival." 
The cave altar with the stone of Thomas fingerprints
Little Mount (Chinnamalai) is a small hillock that lies on the bank of river Adayar in the Saidapet taluk of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is traditionally acknowledged to be one of the places where St Thomas, an apostle of Jesus, lived and preached when he came to India. In 1551 AD, Portuguese built a Church over the site where St Thomas is believed to have lived in. Later, in the year 1970, a part of this old Church was demolished and a larger circular Church was built to accommodate more devotees.
I didn't know this bit:
According to The Passing of Mary, a text attributed to Joseph of Arimathaea, Thomas was the only witness of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. The other apostles were miraculously transported to Jerusalem to witness her death. Thomas was left in India, but after her first burial, he was transported to her tomb, where he witnessed her bodily assumption into heaven, from which she dropped her girdle. In an inversion of the story of Thomas' doubts, the other apostles are skeptical of Thomas' story until they see the empty tomb and the girdle. Thomas' receipt of the girdle is commonly depicted in medieval and pre-Tridentine Renaissance art, the apostle's infamous doubting reduced to a metaphorical knot in the Bavarian baroque Mary Untier of Knots.

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