A miracle of St Thomas the Apostle in India.

How Did Christianity Come in India? According to tradition, Christianity in India(Kerala was founded by Saint Thomas the Apostle, who landed on the Malabar Coast, at Maliankara near Cranganore (Kodungallur), in 52 AD. 
Why precisely in 52 is difficult to say, but this date is firmly held in the present traditio communis of the St Thomas Christians. For how long the date has been established is an interesting question in itself. The modern Malayalam ballad Thomas Ramban Pattu (“The Song of the Lord Thomas”), which gives absolutely precise data about the details of the Apostle’s activity, dates his arrival to 50 AD, in the month of Dhanu (December), and his death in Mylapore (Mailapuram) to 72 AD, on the 3rd day of the month of Karkadakam (July), corresponding to the traditional memorial day of the Apostle in the Syrian Churches, at 4:50 p.m. 
However, this apparently reflects a later tradition. Recently we found an earlier tradition in a palm-leaf manuscript belonging to the collection of the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop's House in Ernakulam, which, among eighteen Malayalam apocrypha, also contains the Malayalam version of the Acts of Thomas. 
The seventeenth-century redactor's note to this apocryphon dates the death of Saint Thomas to December 21 and says that on that very day the Apostle's memorial day (Dukhrana) was universally celebrated in the Malankara Church. 
On his arrival - so tradition holds - the Apostle converted several Brahmin families, from whom a good part of the present-day Nazranies descend, and founded seven churches: Maliankara (Kodungallur or Cranganore), Palayur, Kottakavu (North Parur), Kokamangalam (Pallipuram), Niranam, Chayal and Kollam (Quilon). 
There is a beautiful story vividly recounted among the local Christians and invoked in many books about the foundation of the Palayur church, not far from Cranganore where Saint Thomas is believed to have landed, and close to Guruvayur, the famous centre of Krishna worship. According to this tradition, the Apostle arrived there and found several nambudhiri (or namputhiri) Brahmins (that is, Kerala Brahmins) bathing in a tank and throwing up handfuls of water as an offering to their sun-god. He asked them whether they were able to throw the water up so that it could stay suspended in the air without falling back down, as a proof that their god had accepted it. The Brahmins replied this was impossible; the Apostle performed a miracle and the water remained in the air, proving that Christ had accepted the offering. This convinced the Brahmins, who accepted baptism from the Apostle in the same tank. 
Their temple was transformed into a Christian church, while those who stuck to their Hindu faith fled from the place. They cursed the land and called it Chapakatt (Chowghat in the Anglicised version, now Chavakkad), “the Cursed Forest.” Later the Apostle went to the eastern Coromandel Coast, where he also converted people, and finally died on the Little Mount in Mylapore, nowadays a suburb of Chennai (Madras). 
There are several versions of the details of the Apostle’s death. The point that Saint Thomas died a martyr’s death, speak about furious Brahmins who pierced the Apostle with a lance, either when he was praying in rapture in a cave or when he destroyed, by means of his cross, a temple dedicated to the goddess Kali. His tomb is venerated in Mylapore up to the present day, and pilgrimage to the tomb has always been an important element in the religious life of the St Thomas Christian community.  
If you like to get updates of this blog then why not subscribe to our Free Newsletter and get all this blog updates delivered straight to your inbox!

Post a Comment