Saint Thomas the Apostle
Last Updated: Thu, 06 Dec 2012 12:50:03 +0000

Saint Thomas the Apostle

Born     1st century AD Galilee
Died     21 December 72 Mylapore (modern day India)
Honored in   Assyrian Church of the East
                       Catholic Church
                      Eastern Orthodox Church
                      Oriental Orthodox Churches
                      Anglican Communion
                      Lutheran Church
                     Respected and honored in Protestant Churches
Canonized     Pre-Congregation
           3  July (Roman Catholic Church's Latin, Syriac and Syro-Malabar component
          21 December in the pre-1970 Roman Calendar)
          21 December (Episcopal Church USA)
         26 Pashons (Coptic Orthodox Church)
          Thomas Sunday (the 1st Sunday after Easter, October 6, and June 30 Synaxis of the Apostles) (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Attributes     The Twin, placing his finger in the side of Christ, spear (means of martyrdom), square (his profession, a builder)
Patronage     Architects, Builders, India, and others.[4]
"Judas, who is also called Thomas" (Eusebius, H.E. 13.12) has a role in the legend of king Abgar of Edessa (Urfa), for having sent Thaddaeus to preach in Edessa after the Ascension (Eusebius, Historia ecclesiae 1.13; III.1; Ephrem the Syrian also recounts this legend.) In the 4th century the martyrium erected over his burial place brought pilgrims to Edessa. In the 380s, Egeria described her visit in a letter she sent to her community of nuns at home (Itineraria Egeriae):

    "we arrived at Edessa in the Name of Christ our God, and, on our arrival, we straightway repaired to the church and memorial of saint Thomas. There, according to custom, prayers were made and the other things that were customary in the holy places were done; we read also some things concerning saint Thomas himself. The church there is very great, very beautiful and of new construction, well worthy to be the house of God, and as there was much that I desired to see, it was necessary for me to make a three days' stay there."

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 at Urhai [another name for Edessa or Urfa] having been brought there by the merchant Khabin. A great festival." It is only natural to expect that we should receive from Edessa first-hand evidence of the removal of the relics to that city; and we are not disappointed, for St. Ephraem, the great doctor of the Syrian Church, has left us ample details in his writings

Tags: asia minor, anatolia, turkey, holy, st. saint, saints, apostle, christian, bible, st. thomas, thomas, edessa, urfa