St. Thomas the Apostle
Poor Thomas! He made one remark and has been branded as “Doubting Thomas” ever since. But if he doubted, he also believed. He made what is certainly the most explicit statement of faith in the New Testament: “My Lord and My God!” (see John 20:24-28) and, in so expressing his faith, gave Christians a prayer that will be said till the end of time.
Thomas also occasioned a compliment from Jesus to all later Christians: “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
Thomas should be equally well known for his courage. Perhaps what he said was impetuous—since he ran, like the rest, at the showdown—but he can scarcely have been insincere when he expressed his willingness to die with Jesus. The occasion was when Jesus proposed to go to Bethany after Lazarus had died. Since Bethany was near Jerusalem, this meant walking into the very midst of his enemies and to almost certain death. Realizing this, Thomas said to the other apostles, “Let us also go to die with him” (John 11:16b).
Also known as
- Apostle of India
- Doubting Thomas
- Judas Thomas
- the Twin
Apostle. He was ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem, but is best remembered for doubting the Resurrection until allowed to touch Christ’s wounds. Preached in Parthia, Persia and India, though he was so reluctant to start the mission that he had to be taken into slavery by a merchant headed that way. He eventually gave in to God‘s will, was freed, and planted the new Church over a wide area. He formed many parishes and built many churches along the way. An old tradition says that Thomas baptised the wise men from the Nativity into Christianity.
His symbol is the builder’s square; there are several stories that explain it
- he built a palace for King Guduphara in India
- he built the first church in India with his own hands
- it is representative building a strong spiritual foundation as he had complete faith in Christ (though initially less in the Resurrection)
- he offered to build a palace for an Indian king that would last forever; the king gave him money, which
- Thomas promptly gave away to the poor; he explained that the palace he was building was in heaven, not on earth
- stabbed with a spear in c.72 while in prayer on a hill in Mylapur, India
- buried near the site of his death
- relics later moved to Edessa, Mesopotamia
- relics moved to Ortona, Italy in the 13th century