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Holy Apostle Jude Thomas Didymus

I Century
Known in Syriac tradition as Judas Thomas, St. Thomas is remembered now as the doubter, in spite of his declaration of faith and presumed martyrdom. A native of Galilee, Thomas is listed among the Twelve, with the surname Didymus, although his calling is not described. Didymus, which means twin, seems to be more metaphoric than literal; the name suggests the mutability of his faith and may bespeak a double-mindedness. What happened to him after the Pentecost is unknown, although he is said to have been martyred with a spear c. 72 at Calamina, a place no scholar has identified.

Eusebius records that Thomas preached in Parthia. Many legends tell of his preaching in India, where he is supposed to have established the Syrian Malabar or Mar Thoma church. In the IX Century, Alfred of Wessex sent alms to India for St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew, and the Portuguese found the San Thomé cathedral, reportedly his tomb, at Mylapore, near Madras, in 1522.

His relics had, it is said, been removed to Edessa by the IV Century. They were later translated to Chios and to Ortona, in the Abruzzi. A stone cross, dating from the VI-VIII Centuries, with an inscription marks the place in India where Thomas' body is said to have rested.

Karen Rae Keck


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