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St Thomas, Apostle

Though the New Testament tells us nothing of his background, nor of the circumstances and occasion of his call to Christ's ministry, St Thomas was probably a Galilean. His name means the "twin", for which the Greek equivalent is Didymus, a name by which he was also known. Thomas is particularly remembered for his doubt. He had not been present when Our Lord had visited the disciples after His resurrection. When they told Thomas of this he said he simply would not believe it unless he saw and felt the place of the nails and the wound in Christ's side.

Eight days later, the Master came again and this time Thomas was present. Our Lord invited him to make the tests of which he had spoken. The Apostle's only reply, full of faith and contrition, was: "My Lord and my god." Christ, thereupon, told him that true faith does not require the evidence of the senses. This incident tends to obscure another occasion when St Thomas displays great courage and devotion. The others had been trying to dissuade the master from going to Lazarus, because of the danger to His life from His enemies. St Thomas, on the other hand, urged: "Let us also go that we may die with him."

The traditions about Thomas' missionary activities are no more reliable than those concerning the other Apostles. From very early times, however, there certainly have been Christians in the Malabar coast area of India, and a group there, known as the St Thomas Christians, claims that he personally evangelized that area. This tradition holds that St Thomas was martyred, by spearing, near madras in AD 72 and was buried at Mylapore, a suburb of that city.

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