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Post Info TOPIC: Fraud NEW DISCOVERY ON ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE - Fr. Pancras M. Raja


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Fraud NEW DISCOVERY ON ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE - Fr. Pancras M. Raja
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pancras+fr.jpg
 
 
 
 
Author’s Preface
 
 
                    As Jesus Christ was a historical figure who preached the kingdom of God in Palestine, so was St. Thomas the Apostle a historical figure who evangelized India and merited the title “the Apostle of India”.
 
          The tradition of the “Saint Thomas Christians” in south India also is very concrete and true. Recently on 27 September 2006 Pope Benedict, during his Angelus address at Vatican said that the Apostle Thomas preached the gospel in north western India, from where Christianity reached also south India, meaning that the Apostle did not preach the gospel to south India personally. But when there was media uproar in India, the Vatican responded through its official website on 27 November 2006 that the Apostle St. Thomas had proceeded to preach the gospel also in south India. 
 
 
          Famous historians have tried to trace out the historicity of the times and place of the evangelization of St Thomas the Apostle in India. For example: 1) The Rev. Henry Hosten S. J. in his “Antiquities from Sant Thome and Mylapore” (in 1927); 2) George Mark Moraes in his “A History of Christianity in India” (in 1964); 3) George Nedungatt S.J. in his “Quest for The Historical Thomas Apostle of India” (in 2008); and 4) James Kurikilamkatt in his book “First voyage of the Apostle Thomas to India”- 2005 - 264 pages asks: “If St. Thomas reached India in 52 AD, where was he preaching in the years prior to this?” He does not give the comprehensive answer to his question. But this research gives the answer with historical proof that St. Thomas was preaching the gospel in Media, Parthia and in the southern Pandian kingdom in India during the period A.D. 33 to 46..
 
          The present “New Discovery on St. Thomas” dependant and independent of the apocryphal writings on St. Thomas the Apostle, attempts to bring out the undocumented history of “St. Thomas’ first visit to India” between 33 and 46 A.D.  P. J. Thomas in his article: “Was the Apostle Thomas in South India?” published as a preamble in the above mentioned book of Fr. H. Hosten writes: “St. Thomas is also said to have converted a certain king called Kandapparaser” (Page, xi).   According to George Nedungatt “…where Thomas first arrived was the India ruled by king Gundaphar” (Page, 186).
 
 
          This Kandapparasa, one of the Magi kings (Gaspar) was ruling Jaffna a part of Ceylon and the Southern Pandian kingdom called Maanaveera Naadu. This Southern Pandian Kingdom in between Thiruchendur and Kanyakumari was covered by a huge sand hill since the year 1649. So the fact of St. Thomas converting Kandapparasa and performing his missionary activities from A.D. 33 to 46 could not be traced out by the historians until recent findings and documentations.
 
 
          The “City of God” by Mary of Agreda (Spain 1665) reveals through the lips of St. Peter the Apostle that “The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians. He shall baptize the three Magi Kings….” (City of God Vol. IV Nos.227, 229, 230).
 
          Alex Cruz Muthaiah (1995) in his research book called “Maanaveera Naadu of the Southern Pandian Kingdom” (pages, 132 to 140), proves the Southern Pandian Kingdom ruled by Kandapparasa having been baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle, and that he was one of the Magi Kings.

 
          “Joao de Barros, the Portuguese historian, in his book, “Asia de Joao Barros, dos fectos que od Portuguese fizeram no descobrimento & conquista dos mares & teras do Oriente,” published after 1563, relates, “a king of the island of Ceilam, called Primal, went in a ship to the coast of Muscat, to join other kings, who were going to adore the Lord, at Bethlehem, and that he was the third.”
 
“………..An early king of Jaffna was one of those who paid his adoration to the infant Jesus; also Christianity was in existence in Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era.”
 
 
 
                There is a tradition that this Peria Perumal (Kandapparasa) came to south India and was baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle as Gaspar. This fact is described by Fr. Motha Vaz in his “History of St. Thomas the Apostle of India” (1971, pages 32 and 33) as follows: “Peria Perumal, the King of Jaffna (Ceylon) journeyed to India to meet the Apostle. As soon as he saw St. Thomas, he requested him: “O Apostle of the Redeemer of the world! I am one of the Magi Kings who at the sight of the star in the East, followed it and visited the Holy Infant Messiah at Bethlehem. Therefore, please explain to me His life and teachings and baptize me. The Saint, accepting the request and having instructed on the life and teachings of the Saviour, baptized him as Gaspar.”
 
 
 
Manalmatha+1.JPG
          Excavations (1799) have revealed the existence of a church below the said sand hill of Maanaveera Naadu dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and an ancient wooden Statue of Our Lady. St. Francis Xavier while tracing out the places of St. Thomas (1542) has visited this church, as recorded by Fr. F. W. Faber D.D. (1923) in his “The Life of St. Francis Xavier” (page, 67).

The present Church of Manal Matha Kovil replaces earlier churches built on the same site going back to the time of St. Thomas The Aposle

More excavations on this spot will reveal the kingdom of the magi king Gaspar, where St. Thomas first came to preach the kingdom of God, before the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 
 
(See details in Chapters 4, 14 and 15).
 
 
 
interior+2.jpg
          The admirable location of this underground church is a sure proof of the Southern Pandian Kingdom, ruled by Kandapparasa who was baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle. The king’s store house (Pandakasaalai) and the settlement of his accountants (Kanakkaayars) near the lake gave the name of the place as Kanakkankudiyiruppu. It was also called Naaraiyoor because of the settlement to Naarais (Pelicans) on the trees around the lake. These names are found in the letters and the life of St. Francis Xavier. (See chapter 14).
 
 
          A critical study on the existing story of “Thiruvalluvar”, the “Deiva Pulavar” will show that the super -eminent character of the person, the divine eloquence of the doctrines, and the un-equivalent style of the literature could be attributed to the Christian doctrines of St. Thomas written at the request of Kandapparasa. It is astonishing to find that Kandapparasa was one of the petit kings of “Ukkiraperuvazhuthi”, the Pandian King at Madurai to whom “Thirukkural”, the “Deiva Nool” was submitted! (See chapter 7).
 
 
          The “Act of Thomas” is filled in by this south Indian tradition. Chapter one to six speak about his sojourn in Maanaveera Naadu and Venadu (Travancore), building churches and monuments, working miracles and preaching the kingdom of God. These events of the six chapters are given here with their proper locations, followed by the original text. There is no mention about his journey to China and to Takshasila. But we are told in the “De Tansita Mariae” that from his mission at Takshasila the Apostle was summoned to be present at the bed side of the Blessed Virgin in her last moments.
 
 
          George Moraes in his book “A History of Christianity in India” admirably noted a lacuna in the Acts of Thomas (page, 34). Lacuna means cavity or space. Between chapter six and chapter seven, many things are omitted. His journey to Ethiopia, Armenia, Hyrcania etc. in A.D. 46, and his second journey to Kerala in A.D. 52 and there finding seven churches etc. are omitted in the Act.
 
 
          The Act of Thomas begins once again at the end of his mission in Kerala and narrates his journey to Mailapore, the conversions and miracles, and ends with his glorious martyrdom. The texts of the chapters 7 to 13 are given in the Appendixes.
 
 
          Readers are welcome to express their opinion. It will be of much help to improve this documentation and correct mistakes.
 
                              
                                                                          Fr. Pancras M. Raja


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CONTENTS
 
PART ONE
(For link to Part 1, click the arrow mark of October 
on the Blog Archive - in right side bar)
 
  1. Author's Preface
  2. Introduction
  3. Chapter One
  4. Chapter Two
  5. Chapter Three
  6. Chapter Four
  7. Chapter Five
  8. Chapter Six
  9. Chapter Seven
10. Chapter Eight
 
 
PART TWO

(For link to Part 2, click the arrow mark of November 
on the Blog Archive - in right side bar)
 
 
11. Chapter Nine
12. Chapter Ten
13. Chapter Eleven
14. Chapter Twelve
15. Chapter Thirteen


 
 
 
PART THREE
 
(For link to Part 2, click the arrow mark of November 
on the Blog Archive - in right side bar)
 
 

 
16. Chapter Fourteen
17. Chapter Fifteen
18. Appendixes



     Question Box
 
Readers’ opinions and questions are welcome.
 
Please contact the author and have a dialogue through Telephone, Email or Skype. It will be of much help to improve this documentation and correct mistakes.
 
Fr. Pancras M. Raja,
Room No. 8,
Xavier Hermitage,
Catholic Bishop's House,
Tuticorin- 628001,
Tamilnadu, India.
Phone: 0461-2331073
Cell: 9360250211
Skype: pancrasraja9


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  1. Dear Fr. Pancras M. Raja



    Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Thank you for your write-up.

    I am very happy to see your great burden for unveiling the mission of St.Thomas in India in a different perspective.

    Enjoyed reading your interesting write-up.

    I would like to discuss with you in person.

    If we meet and discuss it would be more fruitful.

    With prayerful regards,

    Dr.M.Deivanayagam.

    Reply
  2. IMG0011A.jpg

    Respected Dr. Deivanayagam,

    I am very glad to come and discuss with you in person. Kindly give me an appointment at your convenience.

    Fr. pancras M. Raja

     
     
  3.  
  4. IMG0011A.jpg


    John Bosco porpaibose@gmail.com via blogger.bounces.google.com 
    Oct 19 


    Fr. John Bosco has left a new comment on your post "PART II": 

    You have brought to light certain important facts in the life of St. Thomas, dear Father.

    Fr. John Bosco 

    Reply
     
     
  5. b36-rounded.png

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Reply
  6. b36-rounded.png

    Dear Rev. Fr. Pancras M. Raja,
    I appreciate you for your great task and bringing out enlightenement on the first visit of St. Thomas the Apostle to India. It is indeed a thought provoking and inspiring book. My hearty congratualtions to you.

    With the best wishes

    Fr. Jeyaraj S.

     
     
  7.  
  8. IMG0011A.jpg

    Subject: Wonderfull Work
    From: Remigius Xavier Stephen Sun, 28 Oct '12 4:20a
    To: You
    Show full Headers
    Dear Rev.Father,

    I just happened to read your blog spot of St.Thomas mission journey such a wonder full work with lots of information and facts.My catholic faith is strengthened May God bless you and make you a blessing for multitude .

    Regards
    Remigius

    Reply
     
     
  9. IMG0011A.jpg

    Dear Fr. Pancras,
    I appreciate you for your great and bringing out enlightenment on the first visit of St. Thomas the Apostle to India. It is very thought provoking and inspiring book. My hearty congratulations. 

    With best prayerful wishes

    Fr. Jeyaraj S.
    frsjraj@gmail.com



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INTRODUCTION
 
       The New Testament gives a graphic description of St. Thomas, the Apostle’s character. He was quite outspoken and daring. He was indeed chided by Jesus Christ for his lack of faith. “Still his incredulity has done more to strengthen the faith of all subsequent believers than the faith of all the other disciples, says St. Gregory.(1) And once he was confirmed in his faith, he made the most sublime act of faith declaring: “My Lord and my God”, [Jn.21:28] and thus avowing the divinity of Jesus Christ as well as His resurrection.
        Taking seriously to heart the last command of Jesus viz. “Going therefore, teach ye all the nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” [Mt.28:19], the Apostles went to different parts of the world to spread Jesus Christ’s teaching and convert people to Christianity. And Jesus was with them in accordance with His promise: “Behold I am with you all days” [Mt. 28:20]. His presence was felt in the many miracles wrought to confirm the teachings of the Apostles. Thus the mission of the Apostles could bear abundant fruits and Christianity could spread far and wide within a short period.


        It was St. Thomas’ lot to come to India on his mission to preach the gospel. St. Peter the prince of the Apostles said: “The servant of God, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians, Medes, Hircanians, Brahmans, and Bactrians. He shall baptize the three Magi Kings, and, as they shall be attracted by the rumour of his preaching and his miracles, he shall instruct them fully in all things according to their expectations.”(2)
        His mission to the east was undertaken twice - first before the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (46 A.D.) and secondly after her Assumption. Just as he was impressed by the resurrection of Our Lord, he was equally impressed by the Assumption of Our Lady. So much so he was particular in erecting churches in honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin not only in new places of his second mission but also in places where the converts of his first mission were residing. On his second arrival (52A.D.), their places of worship were turned into churches dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Assumed into heaven body and soul.

        The time of his first mission is computed by this author as between 33 A. D. and 46 A.D (Vide foot note no.3). Authors have so far dealt with St. Thomas’ mission to India as commencing from 52 A.D. But the author of this treatise Rev. Fr. Pancras M. Raja directed his research work on St. Thomas’ first expedition in the places like the Southern Pandian Kingdom (Called Naarankottai or Maanaveeranaadu, situated between Thiruchendur and Kanyakumari) and the Southern Chera Kingdom (called Venaadu or Travancore, situated between Kanyakumari and Maarthaandam) where St. Thomas sojourned in his first mission for thirteen years (from 33 A.D. to 46 A.D.) before the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He also includes the journeys of St. Thomas to countries like Ceylon, China and Japan during this first mission.


       Rev. Fr. Pancras M. Raja has succeeded in tracing out the converts of St. Thomas’ first mission who were scattered from the kingdom of Naaraankottai (Maanaveera Naadu) to various places in course of time, and in explaining the destruction of that kingdom in the seventeenth  century because of a catastrophic cyclone carrying heavy loads of sand, caused by a curse(4) (cfr. Chapter 15). Hence the hitherto unknown history of the missionary activities of St. Thomas in his first mission and the regions and people who first embraced Christianity owing to his preaching and miracles form the theme of this historic research. The author has referred to ancient documents like “The Acts of Thomas”, “The Gospel of Thomas”, “The Catholic Encyclopedias” and all the website materials available. He deserves our congratulations.
 
Prof. K. Maria Pankiras M.A., M.Ed.
Tuticorin, India

 

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1. St. Gregory, “Hom. in Evang.” 26.
2. Bl. Mary of Agreda, “The Mystical City of God” Vol. IV No. 222.
3.  Scripture scholars indicate that because of a miscalculation of Dionysius Exiguus, the Christian era does not start with the birth of Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ birth should have taken place between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. “Most scholars generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC/BCE. Other scholars assume that Jesus was born sometime between 7–2 BC/BCE” (Source: :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Possible_year_of_birth).
But resent studies have proved that Dionysius Exiguus and St. Luke were correct in their accounts: “However, the common Gregorian calendar method for numbering years, in which the current year is 2011, is based on the decision of a monk Dionysius in the six century, to count the years from a point of reference (namely, Jesus’ birth) which he placed sometime between 2 BC/BCE and 1 AD/CE(Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Possible_year_of_birth).
For centuries, astronomers and scientists have used diverse computational methods to estimate the date of crucifixion, Isaac Newton being one of the first cases. Newton's method relied on the relative visibility of the crescent of the new moon and he suggested the date as Friday, April 23, 34 AD/CE. In 1990 astronomer Bradley E. Schaefer computed the date as Friday, April 3, 33 AD/CE. In 1991, John Pratt stated that Newton's method was sound, but included a minor error at the end. Pratt suggested the year 33 AD/CE as the answer. Using the completely different approach of a lunar eclipse model, Humphreys and Waddington arrived at the conclusion that Friday, April 3, 33 AD/CE was the date of the crucifixion”.                                                                          Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus#Possible_year_and_place_of_death                                          Cfr. Appendix IJesus from Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus
Consequently this author comes to the conclusion that when Our Lord died at the age of 33, the year of the Christian era was 33, and he fixes 33 A.D. as the commencing year of St. Thomas’ missionary work, and 46 A.D. as the end of the first part of his mission, which coincided with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin that took place when She was 63 years old.
4.  Cfr. The same author, “History of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Sands” Ch. 15.
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 CHAPTER   ONE
  
 
BIRTH, VOCATION, AND MISSION
OF ST. THOMAS


 
St.+Thomas.jpg

 
FAMILY AND BIRTH 

        St. Thomas was born of a Jewish family at Bethsaida in Galilee most probably between the years 20 to 30 B.C. His Hebrew name was Siriacus, which means The Twin or Didimus Thoma or Judas Thomas. While discussing the proper name of St. Thomas, Dr. Burkitt in his ‘Early Eastern Christianity’ says: “We all know that Thomas means ‘twin’, and the Syriac tradition had it that the name of the Apostle whom we call Thomas was Judas the Twin. Consequently the earliest Syriac text of the Gospels calls Judas who was not Iscariot (Jn. 14: 22) by the same name as Judas Thomas.” (1) He was also called Petrus (Malayappar) as mentioned in a traditional prayer of devotion to St. Thomas in use among the St. Thomas’ Christians of the Tamil Country.(2)

       According to tradition the parents of St. Thomas are known as Diophanes and Rhoa, and he was born with a twin sister Lysias or brother Eliezer. This fact is cited in the 1911 Encyclopedia as follows:

“Tradition has it that he was the twin brother of a sister Lysias (his parents being Diophanes and Rhoa, and his birthplace Antioch;“XII. Apost. Patriae," in Chron. Pasch. ii. 142), or of a brother Eliezer (Horn. Clem. ii. i), or, according to the Syriac Ada Thomae (ed. Wright, Eng. trans.pp.155, 180), or of Jesus Himself.”                                             
Source: 94.1911 encyclopedia.org/ T/TH/ THOMAS ST.htm
        Actually his twin was not a sister, nor was it Jesus, but a brother who was called Thaddaeus Thomas or Addai Thoma, who was one amongst the seventy two disciples of Jesus Christ. And this is confirmed by another website source by Pof. M.M. Ninan as follows:
        “Thomas in Hebrew means "The Twin". So he was also known as "Didymus" which meant 'The Twin' in Greek. The Gnostics consider Thomas as the twin brother of Jesus. We have no evidence for this in the Bible. After the resurrection of Jesus, Jesus did sent Thadues, one of the Seventy (Two) disciples to Abgar and healed him. This Thadeus was the twin brother of Thomas.”                                                                                            
The diagram below shows how closely St. Thomas is related to Jesus Our Lord. (Heli or Eliackim died after giving birth to Joseph and Diophanes married Rhoa and gave birth to Thomas. Cfr. Healy Thompson “The Life and Glories of St. Joseph”, (Chapter 5)
 
                                           David's son Nathan
                                                          |
                                                     Mathat
                                                          |
                                --------------------------------------
                                |              |                                   |
          Joackim + Anne    Heli (Eliackim) + Roa + Diophanes
                                |              |                                   |
                           Mary  +  Joseph                     Thomas + Zephora              
                                |
                           Jesus
                              
        We do not know who his other brothers and sisters were. The following statement which the Saviour spoke to Judas Thomas, recorded by Mathias the Apostle, was only to affirm that the Apostle had been known or called as a twin brother and true companion, but definitely not the true brother of Jesus Christ: “Now since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself.”(3)
       Though he was from an uneducated and poor family, he was talented in many kinds of arts. He was a poet, a carpenter, a sculptor, and a very famous architect. All the same his main occupation was fishing. He was called by Our Lord Jesus Christ as one of His twelve Apostles. He was married according to the custom that prevailed among the Jews, expecting the Messiah in their progeny. Most probably the name of his spouse was Sepphora, one of the three virgins in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary mentioned in ‘The Passing of Mary’ (De Transita Mariae): “And she had along with her three virgins, Sepphora, Abigea, and Zael.”(4) “And having heard this from the holy archangel, she returned to holy Bethlehem, having along with her three virgins who ministered unto her. And after having rested a short time, she sat up and said to the virgins: Bring me a Censer that I may pray. And they brought it, as they had been commanded”.                        
We do not know whether he had children or not. But when he was called by Jesus, he left his family for good and followed Jesus. His spouse was known for extraordinary fidelity to her husband and for love of chastity. She vowed, after the call of St. Thomas by Jesus, to remain a virgin dedicating herself to the service of Our Lord in the company of Our Lady. It is not a wonder if, in view of the highest vocation and ministry of St. Thomas, they always kept their virginity by a special grace of God.
        We do not know exactly at what occasion Our Lord called St. Thomas as His Apostle, but ever since he left everything for Jesus, he decided to “go and die with Him” (Jn: 11: 16). It is to him that Our Lord said; “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (Jn: 14; 6). He was the external testimony of the divinity and resurrection of Jesus Christ to the world; and it was in him the command made by the Lord God, “Behold, I have given thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth” (Is. 49: 6; Acts 13: 47), was fulfilled first.


Call+of+Thomas.jpg
THE MISSION OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE 
 
               St. Thomas, as all other apostles, 
directly received from Our Lord the mission to go and preach the gospel: “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16: 15). Accordingly, after the day of Pentecost, St. Thomas together with all the other Apostles received instructions and directions from Our Lady, on the divine mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity, of the hypostatic union and of the Incarnation. While preparing the apostles for the coming of the Holy Ghost, Our Blessed Mother was “speaking to them for an hour every day and explaining to them the mysteries of the faith taught Her by Her divine Son."

”During those days She explained to them the mysteries of the blessed Trinity in terms most exalted and mysterious, yet suited to the understanding of all. She explained also the mystery of the hypostatic union, and those of the Incarnation.”(5) “…they frequently consulted Her, and She called them to the meetings and conferences.” (6)
        Confirming this fact, Rev. B. Rohner O.S.B explains the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the teacher and mistress of the Apostles and how She, taking the place of the divine Master, taught them the divine mysteries with a wonderful holiness, extraordinary wisdom and heroic fortitude, and how She was the means of so inspiring the Apostles that they remained together, united by Her benign influence. He says: “Mary was here not only the heart of their little assembly, but She was also their head, for She became their teacher. Even at this late date, many important truths connected with the life of the blessed Master, especially regarding the Incarnation and His early life in Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth may have been unknown to these future teachers of all nations. Who could have been better fitted to instruct them on these important truths than His own Mother who had witnessed them and shared largely in them?”

          And he adds: “In Her presence and with Her cooperation, the Holy Ghost was pleased to accomplish the great work of transforming the hitherto vacillating Apostles into the Pillars of the Church and the foundation stones of eternal truths.” (7) The most Blessed Virgin Mary asked each of the Apostles to define an article of Faith, according as the divine Spirit should inspire them. Thereupon Saint Thomas defined the fifth article of the Apostles’ Creed: “He descended into hell, arose from the dead on the third day.”(8)
        St. Thomas used to sit at the feet Our Lady for several hours to hear Her instructions on the sublime truths of eternal life. On one occasion Our Lady admonished him for his unbalanced attachment to the human presence of Jesus and advised him gently to understand that instead of relishing the company of Jesus in a sensible manner, one should raise himself from his material sphere and learn to enjoy His Divinity, by the light of faith and love, and through the mirror of Christ’s Humanity, and thus be united with God the Son, the Eternal and Incarnate Wisdom.
        In Her spiritual conferences The Blessed Virgin Mary imparted to the Apostles the   necessity of the growth of the Church, the mystical body of Christ and the highest dignity of its eternal union with her Divine Spouse. For this highest ideal she urged them to sacrifice their desires of the body, travel to the ends of the world, suffer persecutions and give their lives. She taught them to practice the highest form of spiritual exercises like contemplation and mental prayer, and to offer thanksgiving to God for their noblest call to be the Apostles of Jesus Christ and the founders of His Holy Church on earth.
         In addition to these teachings, Our Blessed Mother gave some personal information and guidance to St. Thomas. She informed him of his task of finding the Magi Kings, baptizing them and enlightening them with the light of faith. Then at last She made him recall how Her Divine Son showed the wounds of His risen body to him as a special privilege in order to strengthen his faith, and fore tolled that one day the body of St. Thomas also would be pierced with a lance in order to witness his faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God. And then in order to know the will of God in the assignment of the kingdoms and provinces in which each one was to preach, the Apostles at the advice of Our Lady, fasted and prayed for ten days. These exercises being completed, St. Peter proceeded to allot the provinces. And he said to St. Thomas: “The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians… He shall baptize the three Magi Kings….” (City of God Vol. IV Nos.227, 229, 230). “And Chrysostom said that when Thomas came in to the parts of the three kings which came to worship our Lord he baptized them, and they were made helpers and aiders of our Lord and of Christian Faith”. Source: The Golden Legend -The Life of Saint Thomas the Apostle. 
          Our Lady was filled with grateful jubilee and She exhorted the Apostles to give themselves up to this work with all their heart, to set out joyfully and confidently for the conversion of the world. St. Thomas commending himself to Her protection, took leave of the great Queen (Ibid. 235).
          For each one of the twelve, Our Lady had made a woven tunic similar to that of Christ our Saviour. St. Thomas received from the hands of Our Lady a set of garments and a small metal case, in which She had placed three of the thorns from the crown of Her divine Son, some pieces of the cloths in which She had wrapped the infant Saviour, and of the linen with which She had wiped and caught the most precious blood of Our Lord at His circumcision and passion. When She handed them these relics Our Lady said  that in these relics they would carry with them vivid remembrances of Her Divine Son and the certain assurance, that the Lord loved them as His children and as the ministers of the Most High. St. Thomas received these relics with tears of joy and consolation and commenced his mission in the Year A.D. 33.
     And when he started for India he brought with him a colour portrait of Our Lady painted on wood by St. Luke the Evangelist. This fact has been recorded in the History of the shrine of St. Thomas’ Mount as follows: “As soon as we enter the church, our attention is attracted by a beautiful colour portrait of Our Lady. This has been painted on wood by St. Luke the Evangelist. Tradition says that St. Thomas brought it with him when he came to India. He prayed before it. Tradition also says that St. Thomas carried it with him where ever he went.”(9)     

ladybyluke.jpg
“This image of Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, was painted by St. Luke. It was carried by St. Thomas the apostle to India about one thousand, nine hundred and fifty years ago. Today, Mary continues to be venerated through this painting. It is kept at the main altar in the Church of Mount St. Thomas in Madras, India, the place where St. Thomas was martyred for the Catholic Faith. We see that devotion to Mary goes back to the time of the apostles, who were personally devoted to the Mother of God. The apostles, wherever they went, encouraged all the disciples to honor Mary as their Mother because Jesus gave Her to be the Mother of us all”.
                                                               
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1. F.A. D’Cruz K.S.G. ‘St. Thomas, the Apostle, In India’ 1929, Page 15.
2. “Daily Morning and Evening Prayers” St. Thomas’ Church, Vembar. Page 44.
3. “The Book of Thomas the contender” by Mathias the Apostle, Translated by John D. Turner,                            Source: www.prophecy.worthyofpraise.org
4. First Latin Form concerning the Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary,                                                     Source: http://rapture-soon.net/Book_Passing_of_Mary1.html                                                           
5. City of God Vol. IV, No. 47, 48.
6. Ibid. No. 209.
7. Rev. B. Rohner O.S.B. ‘Life of the Blessed Virgin’ 1897, Pages 333, 334, 335.  
8. Ibid. No. 217.
9. Shrine History, St. Thomas’ Mount, Madras 16.
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CHAPTER TWO

 

 
THE VISIT OF ST. THOMAS TO MEDIA
AND THE BAPTISM OF ABGAR (BALTHAZAR)
THE FIRST OF THE MAGI KINGS



BALTHAZAR (ABGAR)
THE FIRST OF THE MAGI KINGS


 
Balthazar.jpg

 
 Balthazar (Abgar)
 
Prince of Africa and King of Saba (Edessa),
Balthazar brought myrrh to the Christ Child.
He died at the age of 112 on the Feast of the Epiphany
Fontanini Nativities 5 Balthazar.htm
      
           The city of Edessa in Media was founded by King Abgar the Black (from Africa) one of the Magi Kings who was ruling Media when Christ was born in Bethlehem. He was led by the miraculous light of a star with the other two Magi Kings to Bethlehem to adore Jesus with an offering of Myrrh. Christians call him by the name Balthazar.
 
        There are traditions connecting this king Abgar with the life of Jesus in different circumstances.  First of all when he came to adore Jesus in Bethlehem, he remained together with the other kings for several days with the Holy Family, and he was instructed by the Blessed Virgin Mary on Christian doctrines. “They consulted the heavenly Mother in regard to many mysteries and practices of faith, and concerning matters pertaining to their conscience and to the government of their countries… As a teacher and an instrument of divine wisdom She answered all their questions, giving them such high precepts of sanctity that they could scarcely part from Her.” (1)  

        The historian Eusabius records the story of Abgar, king of Edessa, who wrote to Our Lord asking Him to come and cure him of the terrible disease with which he was afflicted. Jesus sends back a written reply, praising his faith and assuring him that although he could not come in person he would certainly send one of His Apostles, after His ascension, to heal him.(2)St. Thomas was the Apostle designated for this purpose. H. Leclercq gives the texts of these two letters in an article published in the Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. I Page 42. The letters of Our Lord and of the king of Edessa are as follow:

        “Abgar Ouchama to Jesus, the God physician who has appeared in the country of Jerusalem, greeting:
        “I have heard of Thee, and of Thy healings; namely that Thou dost not use medicines or roots, but by Thy word openest the eyes of the blind, makest the lame to walk, cleanest the lepers, makest the deaf to hear; how by thy word also Thou healest sick spirits and those who are tormented with lunatic demons and how, again, Thou raisest the dead to life. And learning the wonders that Thou doest, it was borne in upon me that, (of the two) one: that either Thou art God, who hast come down from heaven, or else Thou art the Son of God, who bringest all these things to pass. Wherefore I write to Thee, and pray that Thou wilt come to me, who adore Thee, and heal all the ills that I suffer, according to the faith I have in Thee. I also learn that the Jews murmur against Thee, and persecute Thee, so that they seek to crucify Thee. I possess but one small city, but it is beautiful, and large enough for us two to live in peace.”
 
        When Jesus had received the letter, in the house of the high priest of the Jews, He said to Hannan, the secretary, “Go thou, and say to thy master, who has sent Thee to me: ‘Happy art thou who hast believed in Me, not having seen Me, for it is written of Me that those who shall see Me shall not believe in Me, and that those who shall not see Me shall believe in Me. As to that which thou hast written, that I should come to thee, (behold) all that for which I was sent here below is finished, and I ascend again to my Father who sent me, and when I shall have ascended to Him, I will send thee one of My disciples, who shall heal all thy sufferings, and shall give thee health again, and shall convert all who are with thee unto life eternal. And thy city shall be blessed forever, and the enemy shall never overcome it.” According to Eusabius, it was not Hannan who wrote the answer, but Our Lord Himself.

 
        There is another account given below according to the source:http://www.thefishersofmenministries.com/Historical%20Geography.htm
  (Historical Geography, Origins of the Christian Faith, Ch. 2 - Origins of Christianity in Edessa): “Osrhoene was a buffer State between the Roman and Parthian empires till AD. 216 when it became a Roman colony. When did Christianity come to Edessa and who brought it? There is an Assyrian tradition that the wise men that came from the East to visit infant Jesus were from Edessa and that they went to Bethlehem in fulfillment of a prophecy made by Zoroaster in the seventh century BC. On their return to Edessa they had told of the wonderful things they had seen and heard and this prepared the minds of the Edessians for the reception of the Gospel.
“Eusebius of Caesarea (Eusebius. Ecclesiastical History 1.13.), the church historian of the fourth century tells of another tradition about the coming of the gospel to Edessa. It tells of an invitation sent by King Abgar V (Ukkoma, the Black) of Edessa to Jesus himself to visit Edessa and cure him of leprosy. In Jesus’ reply to the king, he promised that after his ascension, he would send one of his disciples to cure the king of the disease. The tradition is that according to the promise made by Jesus, the apostle Thomas (Didymus) sent Thaddeus (Addai), one of the seventy, to Edessa. Addai on coming to Edessa first preached to the Jews there and thus began the church in Edessa


       

 
ABGAR AND THE FIRST BAPTISM.

 

        “Under the ruling of the aged Abgar, nephew of Tigranes the Great, the whole territory of Armenia was subdued to Rome. The Roman officials arrived to Armenia to take a census. They brought with them numerous statues of the Emperor Augustus.

 

        Later, Abgar, planning to revolt against the Roman tyranny, settled in Mesopotamia and founded the city of Edessa. He transported there his court, the treasury, and the archives of the Armenian kings. That is why the Armenian sources designate him as King of Armenia while some Greek and Roman sources mention Abgar, ruler of Edessa. When Abgar heard about the miracles Jesus Christ was performing in Galilee, he was already ailing, (in his declining years). Astonished, he came to believe in Christ and wrote a letter to Him. Abgar asked the Savior to heal him and invited Him to Edessa.

 


        Following the Armenian tradition, Abgar’s messengers met Jesus in Jerusalem. Jesus would not accept the offer to visit Edessa, but wrote a response to Abgar’s request. After Christ’s ascension Thaddaeus, one of the disciples, arrived to Edessa bringing a piece of cloth that some researchers identify as the Shroud of Turin. According to Moses of Khorene, Abgar and all inhabitants of his city were baptized.”

 


        In order to prove that it was St. Thomas the Apostle who had sent Addai, and that it is not said anywhere that King Abgar was baptized by Addai but by St. Thomas, a portion from “The Doctrines of Addai” has been quoted below:

 


      “I will send to thee one of my disciples, who will cure the disease which thou hast, and restore thee to health; and all who are with thee he will convert to everlasting life. Thy city shall be blessed, and no enemy shall again become master of it forever.

 


       “When Hannan, the keeper of the archives, saw that Jesus spake thus to him, by virtue of being the king's painter, he took (a brush) and painted a likeness of Jesus with choice paints, and brought with him to Abgar the king, his master. And when Abgar the king saw the likeness, he received it with great joy, and placed it with great honour in one of his palatial houses.

 

 

 

Sacred Mandylion
 

 

 
sacred+mandylion.jpg




     The Mandylion icon,Icon of Our Lord Jesus Christ Not Made by Hands, is the first icon painted by a new iconographer in the Byzantine tradition. King Abgar V of Edessacommunicated with Jesus by his messenger, Hannan. These letters are reportedly in the archives of UrhoyIn one version of the Mandylion, Hannan painted a likeness of Jesus during one of these visits with Him.

 

 

         

 

          “Hannan, the keeper of the archives, related to him everything which he had heard from Jesus, as His words were put by him in writing. After that Christ had ascended to heaven, Judas Thomas sent to Abgar Addai the Apostle, who was one of the seventy-two Apostles.

 


        “Then Abgar said to Addai, "Of a truth thou art the disciple of Jesus, that mighty one, the son of God, who sent to me saying I send thee one of my disciples for healing and for life." Addai said to him, "Because that from the beginning thou didst believe in Him who sent me to thee, therefore have I been sent to thee, and if thou believest in Him, everything in which thou dost believe thou shalt have." Abgar said to him, "So have I believed in Him, that with respect to those Jews who crucified Him, I desire to take with me an army, and to go and destroy them; but because the kingdom belongs to the Romans, I was restrained by the covenant of peace, which was confirmed by me with our lord the emperor Tiberius, like my forefathers." Addai said to him, "Our Lord has fulfilled the will of His Father. And when He had completed the will of His Parent, He was taken up to His Father, and sat with Him in glory, with whom he was from eternity." Abgar said to him: "I also believe in Him and in His Father." Addai said to him: "Because that thou so believest, I place my hand on thee, in the name of Him in whom thou believest."

 


        “At the moment that he placed his hand upon him, he was cured of the plague of the disease, which he had had for a long time.

 


        "Hear, all of you, and understand that which I speak before you; that I am not a physician of medicines and roots, of the art of the sons of men; but I am the disciple of Jesus Christ, the Physician of troubled souls, and the Saviour of future life, the Son of God, who came down from heaven, and was clothed with a body and became man; and He gave Himself and was crucified for all men. And when He was suspended on the wood, the sun He made dark in the firmament; and when He had entered the grave, He arose and went forth from the grave with many. And those who guarded the grave saw not how He went forth from the grave; but the angels of heaven were the preachers and publishers of His resurrection, who if He had not wished, had not died, because that He is the Lord of death, the exit of all things. And except it had pleased Him, He had not again clothed Himself with a body, for He is Himself the framer of the body. For the will which inclined Him to the birth from a virgin, also made Him condescend to the suffering of death, and He humbled the majesty of His exalted divinity, who was with His Father from eternity, He of whom Prophets of old spake in their mysteries; and they represented images of His birth, and His suffering, and His resurrection, and His ascension to His Father, and of His sitting at the right hand. And, behold, He is worshipped by celestial spirits, and by the inhabitants of the earth, He who is worshipped from eternity. For although His was the appearance of men, His might, and His knowledge, and His power were of God Himself; as He said to us,  Behold, now is the son of man glorified, and God glorifies Himself in Him, by miracles and by wonders, and by honour of being at the right hand. But His body is the pure vestment of His glorious divinity, by which we are able to see His invisible Lordship. This Jesus Christ, therefore, we preach and publish, and, with Him, we praise His Father, and we extol and worship the Spirit of His divinity, because that we were thus commanded by Him, to baptize and absolve those who believe in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.        

 


       “And all who believed in Christ, Addai received, and baptized them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And those who were accustomed to worship stones and stocks, sat at his feet, learning, and being corrected of the plague of the foolishness of paganism. The Jews also, conversant with the Law and the Prophets, who carried on merchandise in silks, were also persuaded and became disciples, and made confession in Christ, that He is the Son of the living God. But neither Abgar the king, nor Addai the Apostle pressed any man by force to believe in Christ; because without the force of man, the force of the signs compelled many to believe in Him. And all this country of Mesopotamia, and all the regions round about it received his doctrine with love.”

 

 


            J.F. Goggin observes King Abgar as “The Black”, and says that the promise of Our Lord to Abgar was fulfilled after the ascension, when Thaddeus (in Syriac Addai), the twin brother of St. Thomas and one of the seventy two disciples, was sent by St. Thomas to Edessa to cure the king.(3) This Thaddeus or Addeus, also called Addai Thoma went to Edessa first to heal the king and then to prepare the ground for the preaching of the gospel by St. Thomas the Apostle himself. 

 


          Thus in the year 33 A.D. before starting for India St. Thomas paid a visit to King Abgar and baptized him, in accordance with the mandate given to St. Thomas by the prince of the Apostles St. Peter. When he proceeded to allot the provinces, he said to St. Thomas: “The servant of Christ, our dearest brother Thomas, will follow his Master preaching in India, in Persia and among the Parthians. He shall baptize the three Magi Kings….” (City of God Vol. IV Nos.227, 229, 230).

 


             According to tradition, this King Abgar is called Balthazar. “In about the 8th century the names of three Magi—Bithisarea, Melchior, and Gathaspa— appear in a chronicle known as the Excerpta Latina barbari. They have become known most commonly as Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar (or Casper). According to Western church tradition, Balthazar is often represented as a king of Arabia, Melchior as a king of Persia, and Gaspar as a king of India.”                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

          St. Thomas baptized him and entrusted the preaching to Addeus, and started in the same year (33 A.D.) to Parthia to meet King Gondophernes (Melchior), the second of the Magi Kings.

 


          King Abgar and the people of Edessa knew well that St. Thomas was the Apostle of Edessa and that Edessa had been entrusted to the care of Addeus by the Apostle himself. It was because of this close connection between Edessa and St. Thomas that Edessa later asked for the relics of St. Thomas and kept them as its treasured possession. St. Thomas used to make several visits to strengthen them in the faith. After converting the whole of Edessa, Addeus preached the Gospel at Arbela, Nisibis, Bethgarma and Mosul, and came to India to continue the work of St. Thomas.

 


        Edessa thus owed the Faith indirectly to St. Thomas, to whom, therefore, it was grateful. The Apostle had also endeared himself to the Christians of Edessa by the letters he wrote from India. They had these letters among their priceless treasures, and wished to express their gratitude in a permanent manner by raising a noble monument in which they treasured his relics.(4)

 

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1. City of God Vol. II No. 567.

 

 

 

2. Dom Bernard Orchard (General Editor) “A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture” No. 949 Page 125.

 

 

 

3. Cfr. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. I Page 136                                                                                                           

 

 

 

 
4. George Mark Moraes, “A History of Christianity in India” Page 4

 



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CHAPTER THREE
 
 
 
THE VISIT OF ST. THOMAS
TO THE PARTHIAN KING GONDOPHERNES (MELCHIOR)
THE SECOND OF THE MAGI KINGS 
 
 
THE PARTHIAN KING GONDOPHERNES (MELCHIOR)
THE SECOND OF THE MAGI KINGS
 
Melchior.jpg
 


Melchior (Gondophernes)
 
King of Arabia and India (Parthia), Melchior was the eldest of the three kings.
He was given the honor of being in front of the others at the Infant’s crib.
He gave gold, silk, and precious stones to the Christ Child.
Fontanini Nativities 5 Melchior.htm
 
          The mission of St. Thomas to the court of Gondophernes in Parthia took place on his way to India. It is described in the ‘Acts of St. Thomas’ written by Bardesanes. In the first Act of St. Thomas Our Lord is said to have sold him to the merchant Habban that he might go down to India. But St. Thomas was feeling reluctant to go and therefore said:  “I have not strength enough for this, because I am weak. And I am a Hebrew; how can I teach the Indians? While he was reasoning thus, Our Lord appeared to him in a vision and said to him: “Fear not, Thomas, because my grace is with thee”. But he would not be persuaded at all, but said: “Send me O Lord whithersoever Thou wilt, only to India I will not go”. The typical character of St. Thomas is thus manifested, (refusal signifying the acceptance more faithfully than anyone else).1
        “Then certain merchant, called Habban, an Indian who happened to come into the south country, was sent by Gudnaphar to procure for him a skillful carpenter.”2 This statement of George Moraes reveals that there was a king called Gudnaphar (Gandhappar) ruling in the “south country” of India, which is the Southern Pandian Kingdom of Maanaveera Nadu (from Thiruchendur to Kanyakumari in the South East Coast of India). This fact has been strengthened by Alex Cruz Muthiah’s findings, when he says: “In the middle of the first century Maanaveera Naadu (a part of the Southern Pandian Kingdom) was ruled by an heir of Pandian family and a valiant soldier called Gandhappar.”3
       
        Another publication regarding the St. Mary’s Church at Thiruvithaankodu (Kanyakumari District) further asserts this fact by saying: “The Chera King Emayavaramban Neduncheralaathan (Cfr. ‘History of Tamil Sangams’ Page 121) who was ruling this province (of Chera Naadu) having Thiruvithaankodu as his Capital from 7 A.D. to 65 A.D., brought St. Thomas, one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles, who was residing with the petty king Gundhappar.” (Cfr. Dhina Malar article on ‘spirituality’ page with the picture of St. Thomas in the ‘Palsuvai Malar’ section dated 13 - 4 – 2003).
          The following passage of the Rampan song also testifies that St. Thomas had something to do with the Pandian Kingdom. “The song tells that Prince Peter or Kepha of Muziris who was one of the Apostle's first converts visited St. Thomas in the Pandian Kingdom and requested him to return to Malabar. The Apostle came back to Coromandal coast. The request was granted and the Apostle accompanied Prince Kepha to Kerala.”www.indianchristianity.org/orthodox/thomas1.html - 20k -Cached - Similar pages
           Hence, when Dr. Herbert Thurston referred The Acts of Thomas by saying: “Jesus appeared in a supernatural way to Habban, the envoy of Gundafor (Gundhappar), an Indian king, and sold Thomas to him to be his slave and to serve Gundafor as a carpenter,”4 he meant that St. Thomas was sold to the Pandian King Gandhappar.
jesus+%2526+thomas.jpg
        Then Our Lord appeared to St. Thomas once again and instructed him as follows: “Thou shalt go to India, Thomas, and shalt spread the light of eternal life to the people there. Do not be afraid, I will be there with thee. My name will be glorified by thee. Thou wilt preach about Me among different nations and tribes. Thou shalt fight a good fight; and after that I will call thee to enjoy eternal happiness with thy brethren.  Show to the Indians that I am their Lord, and Redeemer thou wilt have to endure great sufferings, but fear not!”5

        At these words St. Thomas fell at the feet of Our Lord and humbly declared: “My Lord and My God”, and whole heartedly accepted to go to India. Immediately he went to St. Peter wished him farewell and started to Caesarea and was waiting for the first ship to set sail for India. There he met Habban. This Habban is not actually an Indian as said above, but originally a Jew settled in Parthia, now a baptized Christian, converted when he had attended the first preaching of St. Peter, who baptized three thousand people at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (See page 28 of George M. Moraes). Habban was a very good friend of the Parthian king Gondophernes and now he had been well acquainted in trade relations with king Gandhappar of the Pandian Kingdom, and had become the king’s chief minister in political affairs. The kingdom of king Gandhappar was known as “Naarankottai” (Maanaveera Naadu) situated in the south-east coast of Tamil Nadu, comprising portions of the present Thiruchendur and Radhapuram Taluks. King Gandhappar was the third Magi King called also as “Gaspar” who was ruling Ceylon and Naarankottai as well.
 
        Now let us follow St. Thomas the Apostle in his voyage with Habban. Early next morning when Habban was walking along the sea shore of Caesarea, he saw St. Thomas and venerably approaching him asked: “What wouldst thou wish me to do for thee?,” Greeting   him, “O Blessed servant of the Lord Jesus of Nazareth!,” he continued: “The Lord showed thee to me in my dream and He sold thee to my king for twenty pieces of silver. With holy admiration and heavenly joy St. Thomas requested him: “would you please take me in your ship and help me reach India?”  “Let it be done according to thy will” said Habban, and both of them embarked the ship and started their journey.6
 
        St. Thomas, before going to the Pandian Kingdom, wished to meet Gondophernes the king of Parthia who at that time had Anthropolis (Karachi) as his Capital City. Here there are some confusion among almost all the historians in mixing up the names of Gondophernes and Gundafor. Herbert Thurston relates that Habban and Thomas sailed away until they came to Anthropolis, where they landed and attended the marriage feast of the ruler’s daughter …. And after attending the marriage feast, he says: “Coming to India, Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor.” George Moraes explains that Gondophernes, the successor of king Azes was reigning in the first half of the first century A.D.; and the designation of his kingdom has been understood as Parthia.7 Hence it is clear that king Gondophernes being the king of Parthia was not the same as Gundafor who was the king in South India. And it is certain also that when Herbert Thurston mentions the name Gondophernes or Guduphara, he makes a clear mistake, because Gondophernes was the king of Parthia, whereas Guduphara (Gaspar) was the king in South India.8
330px-Gondophares.jpg
        Again through the findings from the discovery of coins, some of the inscriptions are of the Parthian type with Greek legends in Thakthibahi characters, other inscriptions are of the Indian type with legends in an Indian dialect in kharoshthi characters. This is another clear proof that in the first century A.D. Gondophernes whose name appears in the coins was the ruler of the Parthian Kingdom; and Guduphara whose name also appears in the coins was the ruler of the Pandian Kingdom in Tamil Nadu. (Cfr. Herbert Thurston and Alex C. Muthiah as referred above.  Coin of Gondophares IV Sases (mid-1st century). Obv: King on horseback, corrupted Greek legend. Gondophares monogram Rev: Zeus, making a benediction sign (Buddhist mudra). Kharoshthi inscription MAHARAJASA MAHATASA TRATARASA DEVAVRADASA GUDAPHARASA SASASA "Great king of kings, divine and Saviour, Gondophares Sases", Buddhist trisula symbol. Source:http://pediaview.com/openpedia/Apostle_Thomas
 
        Here it is fitting to give a part of the original text of the First Act of Thomas taken from the Greek Version translated by M. R. James.

The First Act, when he went into India with Abbanes (Nos. 1 to 3).

          “At that season all we the apostles were at Jerusalem, Simon which is called Peter and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Canaanite, and Judas the brother of James: and we divided the regions of the world, that every one of us should go unto the region that fell to him and unto the nation whereunto the Lord sent him.
          “According to the lot, therefore, India fell unto Judas Thomas, which is also the twin: but he would not go, saying that by reason of the weakness of the flesh he could not travel, and ‘I am a Hebrew man; how can I go amongst the Indians and preach the truth?’ And as he thus reasoned and spake, the Saviour appeared unto him by night and saith to him: Fear not, Thomas, go thou unto India and preach the word there, for my grace is with thee. But he would not obey, saying: Whither thou wouldest send me send me, but elsewhere, for unto the Indians I will not go.
          “And while he thus spake and thought, it chanced that there was there a certain merchant come from India whose name was Abbanes, sent from the King Gundaphorus, [Gundaphorus is a historical personage who reigned over a part of India in the first century after Christ. His coins bear his name in Greek, as Hyndopheres] and having commandment from him to buy a carpenter and bring him unto him. Now the Lord seeing him walking in the market-place at noon said unto him: I have a slave that is a carpenter and I desire to sell him. And so saying he showed him Thomas afar off, and agreed with him for three litrae of silver unstamped, and wrote a deed of sale, saying: I, Jesus, the son of Joseph the carpenter, acknowledge that I have sold my slave, Judas by name, unto thee Abbanes, a merchant of Gundaphorus, king of the Indians. And when the deed was finished, the Saviour took Judas Thomas and led him away to Abbanes the merchant, and when Abbanes saw him he said unto him: Is this thy master? And the apostle said: Yea, he is my Lord. And he said: I have bought thee of him. And the apostle held his peace.
          “And on the day following the apostle arose early, and having prayed and besought the Lord he said: I will go whither thou wilt, Lord Jesus: thy will be done. And he departed unto Abbanes the merchant, taking with him nothing at all save only his price. For the Lord had given it unto him, saying: Let thy price also be with thee, together with my grace, wheresoever thou goest.
          “And the apostle found Abbanes carrying his baggage on board the ship; so he also began to carry it aboard with him. And when they were embarked in the ship and were set down Abbanes questioned the apostle, saying: What craftsmanship knowest thou? And he said: In wood I can make ploughs and yokes and augers (ox-goads, Syr.), and boats and oars for boats and masts and pulleys; and in stone, pillars and temples and court-houses for kings. And Abbanes the merchant said to him: Yea, it is of such a workman that we have need. They began then to sail homeward; and they had a favourable wind, and sailed prosperously till they reached Andrapolis, a royal city.”9
        St. Thomas and Habban on their way to the Indian King Gundaphorus (Gandhappar = Gaspar), decided first to go to the court of the Parthian King Gondophernes (Melchior). When they disembarked at the port of Sandaruk (Anthropolis), situated in the neighbourhood of modern Karachi, the whole town was decked with flags and festoons, and echoing with drum beatings, music and fireworks. As Habban was a very good friend of Gondophernes, St. Thomas was also extended a royal welcome. When the king saw St. Thomas, he recognized divine grace in his face, and was interiorly inspired to treat him as the messenger of Jesus Christ, Whom he adored as an Infant at Bethlehem. So the king prostrated at the feet of St. Thomas entreating him to take the place of the chief guest and grace the function by imparting his blessing on the couple.10
        The marriage hall was filled with people of honour, together with various kinds of artists and musicians of the royal court. Among them there was a Hebrew girl brought from Galilee who was playing her flute for a Hebrew song. St. Thomas in an ecstasy composed on the spot a canticle in Hebrew and sang in accord with the flute music, for all to understand in their own tongues, describing the eternal marriage between Jesus and His Church. When the young couple was about to contract the marriage the Apostle prayed over them as follows:
                                                 
        “May the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob be with both of you; May He plant in your hearts the seed of life everlasting; May He grant you everything that is good for you, that you may for ever fulfill His holy will; that you may, in the holy name of Jesus our Redeemer, be led by His grace, and be filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost”. Then laying his hands on them he blessed and said: ‘May my Lord and my God be with you.” 11
        At this prayer and blessing of the Apostle, states Herbert Thurston, “Strange occurrences followed and Christ under the appearance of Thomas exhorted the bride and the bridegroom to remain virgins.”12 One of the strange occurrences is narrated by Alex C. Muthiah, referring to Dr. Medlycott, that after the marriage festivities were over, a wild black bear rushed into the crowd and severely attacked a man in the royal court, killed him and threw his limbs asunder. St. Thomas came to the spot, asked the people to keep calm, gathered all the scattered limbs of the man and prayed: “Lord, God of Israel, have mercy on this man and his family and give him back life so that these people may believe in your Son Jesus Christ.” After praying thus, St. Thomas blessed the limbs of the man with the sign of the Cross. Immediately the man came to life in the presence of King Gondophernes and a great multitude of people.13 Ultimately St. Thomas converted the bride and the bridegroom.14

        With this story ends the first part of the “Act of Judas Thomas the Apostle.” The work is divided into nine parts, of which eight are called as “Acts,” and the last as “The Consummation of Judas Thomas.”
 
        Let us continue here the original text of the first Act of Thomas and read the story of the above Chapter




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The First Act, when he went into India with Abbanes the merchant.  (Nos 4 to 16).

          “And they left the ship and entered into the city, and lo, there were noises of flutes and water-organs, and trumpets sounded about them; and the apostle inquired, saying: What is this festival that is in this city? And they that were there said to him: Thee also have the gods brought to make merry in this city. For the king hath an only daughter, and now he giveth her in marriage unto a husband: this rejoicing, therefore, and assembly of the wedding to-day is the festival which thou hast seen. And the king hath sent heralds to proclaim everywhere that all should come to the marriage, rich and poor, bond and free, strangers and citizens: and if any refuse and come not to the marriage he shall answer for it unto the king. And Abbanes hearing that, said to the apostle: Let us also go, lest we offend the king, especially seeing we are strangers. And he said: Let us go.
          “And after they had put up in the inn and rested a little space they went to the marriage; and the apostle seeing them all set down (reclining), laid himself, he also, in the midst, and all looked upon him, as upon a stranger and one come from a foreign land: but Abbanes the merchant, being his master, laid himself in another place.
          “And as they dined and drank, the apostle tasted nothing; so they that were about him said unto him: Wherefore art thou come here, neither eating nor drinking? but he answered them, saying: I am come here for somewhat greater than the food or the drink, and that I may fulfill the king’s will. For the heralds proclaim the king’s message, and whoso hearkeneth not to the heralds shall be subject to the king’s judgment.
          “So when they had dined and drunken, and garlands and unguents were brought to them, every man took of the unguent, and one anointed his face and another his beard and another other parts of his body; but the apostle anointed the top of his head and smeared a little upon his nostrils, and dropped it into his ears and touched his teeth with it, and carefully anointed the parts about his heart: and the wreath that was brought to him, woven of myrtle and other flowers, he took, and set it on his head, and took a branch of calamus and held it in his hand.
          “Now the flute-girl, holding her flute in her hand, went about to them all and played, but when she came to the place where the apostle was, she stood over him and played at his head for a long space: now this flute-girl was by race a Hebrew.
          “And as the apostle continued looking on the ground, one of the cup-bearers stretched forth his hand and gave him a buffet; and the apostle lifted up his eyes and looked upon him that smote him and said: My God will forgive thee in the life to come this iniquity, but in this world thou shalt show forth his wonders and even now shall I behold this hand that hath smitten me dragged by dogs. And having so said he began to sing and to say this song: (The canticle of Thomas on the Church as the bride).
          “The damsel is the daughter of light, in whom consisteth and dwelleth the proud brightness of kings, and the sight of her is delightful, she shineth with beauty and cheer. Her garments are like the flowers of spring, and from them a waft of fragrance is borne; and in the crown of her head the king is established which with his immortal food (ambrosia) nourisheth them that are founded upon him; and in her head is set truth, and with her feet she showeth forth joy. And her mouth is opened, and it becometh her well: thirty and two are they that sing praises to her. Her tongue is like the curtain of the door, which waveth to and fro for them that enter in: her neck is set in the fashion of steps which the first maker hath wrought, and her two hands signify and show, proclaiming the dance of the happy ages, and her fingers point out the gates of the city. Her chamber is bright with light and breatheth forth the odour of balsam and all spices, and giveth out a sweet smell of myrrh and Indian leaf, and within are myrtles strewn on the floor, and of all manner of odorous flowers, and the door-posts(?) are adorned with freedst.
          “And surrounding her are the groomsmen keeping watch over her, the number of whom is seven, whom she herself hath chosen. And her bridesmaids are seven, and they dance before her. And twelve in number are they that serve before her and are subject unto her, which have their aim and their look toward the bridegroom, that by the sight of him they may be enlightened; and forever shall they be with her in that eternal joy, and shall be at that marriage whereto the princes are gathered together and shall attend at that banquet whereof the eternal ones are accounted worthy, and shall put on royal raiment and be clad in bright robes; and in joy and exultation shall they both be and shall glorify the Father of all, whose proud light they have received, and are enlightened by the sight of their lord; whose immortal food they have received, that hath no failing (excrementum, Syr.), and have drunk of the wine that giveth then neither thirst nor desire. And they have glorified and praised with the living spirit, the Father of truth and the mother of wisdom.
          “And when he had sung and ended this song, all that were there present gazed upon him; and he kept silence, and they saw that his likeness was changed, but that which was spoken by him they understood not, for as much as he was a Hebrew and that which he spake was said in the Hebrew tongue. But the flute-girl alone heard all of it, for she was by race an Hebrew and she went away from him and played to the rest, but for the most part she gazed and looked upon him, for she loved him well, as a man of her own nation; moreover he was comely to look upon beyond all that were there. And when the flute-girl had played to them all and ended, she sat down over against him, gazing and looking earnestly upon him. But he looked upon no man at all, neither took heed of any but only kept his eyes looking toward the ground, waiting the time when he might depart thence.
          “But the cup-bearer that had buffeted him went down to the well to draw water; and there chanced to be a lion there, and it slew him and left him lying in that place, having torn his limbs in pieces, and forthwith dogs seized his members, and among them one black dog holding his right hand in his mouth bare it into the place of the banquet.
          “And all when they saw it were amazed and inquired which of them it was that was missing. And when it became manifest that it was the hand of the cup-bearer which had smitten the apostle, the flute-girl brake her flute and cast it away and went and sat down at the apostle’s feet, saying: This is either a god or an apostle of God, for I heard him say in the Hebrew tongue: ‘ I shall now see the hand that hath smitten me dragged by dogs’, which thing ye also have now beheld; for as he said, so hath it come about. And some believed her, and some not.
          “But when the king heard of it, he came and said to the apostle: Rise up and come with me, and pray for my daughter: for she is mine only-begotten, and to-day I give her in marriage. But the apostle was not willing to go with him, for the Lord was not yet revealed unto him in that place. But the king led him away against his will unto the bride-chamber that he might pray for them.
          “And the apostle stood, and began to pray and to speak thus: My Lord and my God, that travellest with thy servants, that guidest and correctest them that believe in thee, the refuge and rest of the oppressed, the hope of the poor and ransomer of captives, the physician of the souls that lie sick and Saviour of all creation, that givest life unto the world and strengthenest souls; thou knowest things to come, and by our means accomplishest them: thou Lord art he that revealeth hidden mysteries and maketh manifest words that are secret: thou Lord art the planter of the good tree, and of thine hands are all good works engendered: thou Lord art he that art in all things and passest through all, and art set in all thy works and manifested in the working of them all. Jesus Christ, Son of compassion and perfect Saviour, Christ, Son of the living God, the undaunted power that hast overthrown the enemy, and the voice that was heard of the rulers, and made all their powers to quake, the ambassador that wast sent from the height and camest down even unto hell, who didst open the doors and bring up thence them that for many ages were shut up in the treasury of darkness, and showedst them the way that leadeth up unto the height: l beseech thee, Lord Jesu, and offer unto thee supplication for these young persons, that thou wouldest do for them the things that shall help them and be expedient and profitable for them. And he laid his hands on them and said: The Lord shall be with you, and left them in that place and departed.
        “And the king desired the groomsmen to depart out of the bride-chamber; and when all were gone out and the doors were shut, the bridegroom lifted up the curtain of the bride-chamber to fetch the bride unto him. And he saw the Lord Jesus bearing the likeness of Judas Thomas and speaking with the bride; even of him that but now had blessed them and gone out from them, the apostle; and he saith unto him: Wentest thou not out in the sight of all? How then art thou found here? But the Lord said to him: I am not Judas which is also called Thomas but I am his brother. And the Lord sat down upon the bed and bade them also sit upon chairs, and began to say unto them:
 
        “Remember, my children, what my brother spake unto you and what he delivered before you: and know this, that if ye abstain from this foul intercourse, ye become holy temples, pure, being quit of impulses and pains, seen and unseen, and ye will acquire no cares of life or of children, whose end is destruction: and if indeed ye get many children, for their sakes ye become grasping and covetous, stripping orphans and overreaching widows, and by so doing subject yourselves to grievous punishments. For the more part of children become useless oppressed of devils, some openly and some invisibly, for they become either lunatic or half withered or blind or deaf or dumb or paralytic or foolish; and if they be sound, again they will be vain, doing useless or abominable acts, for they will be caught either in adultery or murder or theft or fornication, and by all these evil ye be afflicted.
        “But if ye be persuaded and keep your souls chaste before God, there will come unto you living children whom these blemishes touch not, and ye shall be without care, leading a tranquil life without grief or anxiety, looking to receive that incorruptible and true marriage, and ye shall be therein groomsmen entering into that bride-chamber which is full of immortality and light.
        “And when the young people heard these things, they believed the Lord and gave themselves up unto him, and abstained from foul desire and continued so, passing the night in that place. And the Lord departed from before them, saying thus: The grace of the Lord shall be with you.
        “And when the morning was come the king came to meet them and furnished a table and brought it in before the bridegroom and the bride. And he found them sitting over against each other and the face of the bride he found unveiled, and the bridegroom was right joyful.
        “And the mother came unto the bride and said: Why sittest thou so, child, and art not ashamed, but art as if thou hadst lived with thine husband a long season? And her father said: Because of thy great love toward thine husband dost thou not even veil thyself?
        “And the bride answered and said: Verily, father, I am in great love, and I pray my Lord that the love which I have perceived this night may abide with me, and I will ask for that husband of whom I have learned to-day: and therefore I will no more veil myself, because the mirror (veil) of shame is removed from me; and therefore am I no more ashamed or abashed, because the deed of shame and confusion is departed far from me; and that I am not confounded, it is because my astonishment hath not continued with me; and that I am in cheerfulness and joy, it is because the day of my joy hath not been troubled; and that I have set at nought this husband and this marriage that passeth away from before mine eyes, it is because I am joined in another marriage; and that I have had no intercourse with a husband that is temporal, whereof the end is with lasciviousness and bitterness of soul, it is because I am yoked unto a true husband.
        “And while the bride was saying yet more than this, the bridegroom answered and said: I give thee thanks, O Lord, that hast been proclaimed by the stranger, and found in us; who hast removed me far from corruption and sown life in me; who hast rid me of this disease that is hard to be healed and cured and abideth for ever, and hast implanted sober health in me; who hast shown me thyself and revealed unto me all my state wherein I am; who hast redeemed me from falling and led me to that which is better, and set me free from temporal things and made me worthy of those that are immortal and everlasting; that hast made thyself lowly even down to me and my littleness, that thou mayest present me unto thy greatness and unite me unto thyself; who hast not withheld thine own bowels from me that was ready to perish, but hast shown me how to seek myself and know who I was, and who and in what manner I now am, that I may again become that which I was: whom I knew not, but thyself didst seek me out: of whom I was not aware, but thyself hast taken me to thee: whom I have perceived, and now am not able to be unmindful of him: whose love burneth within me, and I cannot speak it as is fit, but that which I am able to say of it is little and scanty, and not fitly proportioned unto his glory: yet he blameth me not that presume to say unto him even that which I know not: for it is because of his love that I say even this much.
         “Now when the king heard these things from the bridegroom and the bride, he rent his clothes and said unto them that stood by him: Go forth quickly and go about the whole city, and take and bring me that man that is a sorcerer who by ill fortune came unto this city; for with mine own hands I brought him into this house, and I told him to pray over this mine ill-starred daughter; and who so findeth and bringeth him to me, I will give him whatsoever he asketh of me. They went, therefore and went about seeking him, and found him not; for he had set sail. They went also unto the inn where he had lodged and found there the flute-girl weeping and afflicted because he had not taken her with him. And when they told her the matter that had befallen with the young people she was exceeding glad at hearing it, and put away her grief and said: Now have I also found rest here. And she rose up and went unto them, and was with them a long time, until they had instructed the king also. And many of the brethren also gathered there until they heard the report of the Apostle, that he was come unto the cities of India and wasteaching there: and hey departed and joined themselves unto him.”15 
 
 
1. Cfr. George Mark Moraes “A History of Christianity in   India” Page 25.
2. Ibid. Page 25.
3. Ref. Alex Cruz Muthiah “Then Paandi Mandala Maanaveera Naadu” Page 132.
4. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Page 658.
5. Fr.Motha Vaz, “The History of St. Thomas the Apostle of India” Ch.3, Page 4.
6. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 5.
7. George Moraes ibid. Page 24
8. Catholic Encyclopedia ibid. Page 658
9. M.R. James –Translation of “The Acts of Thomas” Nos 1 to 3, Source:www.prophecy.worthyofpraise.org
10. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 5,6.
11. Ibid Page 6, 7.
12. Catholic Encyclopedia ibid. Page 658.
13. Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 136.
14. George Moraes Page 2; and Dr. V. Lawrence “History of The Catholic Church in Kanyakumari District”, ibid. Page 26.
15. M.R. James – translation of “The First Act of Thomas” Nos 4 to 16, Source:www.prophecy.worthyofpraise.org 


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CHAPTER FOUR
 

 
 
THE VISIT OF ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE
TO THE SOUTHERN PANDIAN KINGDOM OF 
NAARAANKOTTAI (MAANAVEERA NAADU)
 

 

 
THE SOUTHERN
PANDIAN KING GASPAR (GANDHAPPAR)
THE THIRD OF THE MAGI KINGS
 
 
Gaspar.jpg

Gaspar (Gandhappar)
 
Gaspar was the youngest of the three kings.
(He was 109 years old?) When he journeyed to Bethlehem.
He brought frankincense to the Christ Child. Fontanini Nativities 5 Melchior.htm
 
        The second “Act” is beginning with the following headlines: “Coming to India Thomas undertook to build a palace for Gundafor, but spent the money entrusted to him on the poor. Gundafor imprisoned him, but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted.”1
        Leaving the Parthian Empire, St. Thomas now came to India where he intended to meet the third Magi King. It was this Magi king who actually had sent his envoy Habban to bring an architect to build a palace for him. The arrival of St. Thomas one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ in India is a matter of honour for all the citizens of India. In fact, Rajendra Prasad, the former President of India, in his speech at the St. Thomas’ Day celebrations, in New Delhi on December 18, 1955, said: “….Remember St. Thomas came to India when many countries in Europe had not yet become Christian and so those Indians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history and a higher ancestry than that of Christians of many of the European countries. And it is really a matter of pride to us that it so happened…..”2
        The name of the Indian Magi King is a Tamil name pronounced as Gandhappar. This is known by the coins discovered in the 19th century (Hyndopheres in Greek). “Furthermore we have the evidence of the Thakht-I-Bhai inscription, which is dated, and which the best specialists accept as establishing that the king Guduphara probably began to reign about 20 A.D. and was still reigning in 46 A.D.”3 The same King Gundafor is here spelled as Guduphara, which shows that the Tamil King Gandhappar is the third Magi King Gadpar or Gaspar, as we pronounce Kidkintha as kiskintha.  
            This King Gandhappar (Gaspar) was reigning the Southern Pandian Kingdom which at that time consisted of Ceylon as well.
        In Ceylon he was known as Peria Perumal, and his brother Gaatthiappar as Chinna Perumal. This was the king of Ceylon who heard the nativity of the messiah foretoled by an Indian Sybil, and had joined with the other Magi Kings and had gone to Bethlehem to adore the child. This has been cited by George Moraes from a legend which the Portuguese heard from the lips of the bishop of Quilon as follows: “A Perumal King of Ceylon having heard tell of it from the Sybil, embarked in a ship for Muscat. At this port he joined the other Magi and they went to Bethlehem to adore the child.”
        This legend has been attested by K.T. Rajasingham in his essay ‘Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka?”

WAS ONE OF THE MAGI A KING FROM LANKA ?

“A page in history reveals that the Tamil king of Yalapanam (Jaffna), was one amongst those wise-men - Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby Jesus. This happened, according to the prophecy in the Bible. “Kings along the Mediterranean coast- the kings of Tarshish and the Islands- and those from Sheba and from Seba- all will bring their gifts.” (Psalms 72: 10.)
“Joao de Barros, the Portuguese historian, in his book, “Asia de Joao Barros, dos fectos que od Portuguese fizeram no descobrimento & conquista dos mares & teras do Oriente,” published after 1563, relates, “a king of the island of Ceilam, called Primal, went in a ship to the coast of Muscat, to join other kings, who were going to adore the Lord, at Bethlehem, and that he was the third.”
“According to de Barros, the Tamil king Primal (Perumal) was one of the Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby infant Jesus.”  

“Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam, in his “Ancient Jaffna,” makes reference from “Cathay and the Way Thither,” written by Col. H. Yule, in 1348 or 1349 AD, John de Marignolli, the papal delegate to the Court of the Great Khan, on his return from China, landed at Columbam. He remained with the Christians there for one year and four months, after erecting a stone memorial,“ in the corner of the world over against Paradise,”  (supposed to be at Cape Comarin) he went to see the famous Queen of Saba, by whom he “was honorably treated” and them “ proceeded to Seyllan  (Ceylon).

“Father Fernao De Queyroz, who wrote “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon,” strongly refutes the story put forward by Jao De Barros, but up to date, no historians has come forward to refute the historical facts, put forward by John De Marignolli, that Yalapanam was the famous Saba and the “Magi”-pathi, the king of Yalapanam (Jaffna), was one of those men who went to adore the infant Jesus.  
“Christianity visited Sri Lanka, long before the arrival of Portuguese colonists in 1504. Cosmas Indicopleustes (Christian Topography, book XI) tells of Ceylon and its trade in the 6thcentury AD, as follows: “This is the great island of the ocean, situated in the Indian sea, which is called by the Indians- Sielediba, by the Greeks - Taprobane, where the haycinthus stone is found; and it is beyond the pepper country (mainland).
“Considering the frequent communications between the Mediterranean world and Mantai, the international emporium and the entrée port in Sri Lanka, pre-historic period,  it is not beyond belief that, one of the disciples of Christ, came to India and Sri Lanka to preach Christianity.                                                              
“Anyhow, when we take into consideration the spread of Christianity in the coastal region of Kerala, and the existence of an ancient Syrian Church even today, it is very difficult to dismiss the fact that, an early king of Jaffna was one of those who paid his adoration to the infant Jesus, also Christianity was in existence in Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era.”5 
Source: www.bahamaswriter.com/magi.htm - 48k -
 
       Now there is a tradition that this Peria Perumal came to south India and was baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle as Gaspar. This fact is described by Fr. Motha Vaz as follows: “Peria Perumal, the King of Jaffna (Ceylon) journeyed to India to meet the Apostle. As soon as he saw St. Thomas, he requested him: ‘O Apostle of the Redeemer of the world! I am one of the Magi Kings who at the sight of the star in the East, followed it and visited the Holy Infant Messiah at Bethlehem. Therefore, please explain to me His life and teachings and baptize me. The Saint, accepting the request and after having instructed on the life and teachings of the Saviour, baptized him as Gaspar.”6
 
        Herman D’Souza writes: “It is noteworthy that the ancient song, described in the foregoing pages, says that at a certain stage the Apostle ‘started for the country of the Tamils’. The author (of the song) doubtless means ‘the country which is now of the Tamils’. For, at the time of the Apostle, all the three kingdoms (of the Chera, Chola and Pandia) was the country of the Tamils.”7 
 
            Alex C. Muthiah states that at the middle of the first century the Southern Pandian Kingdom i.e. Maana Veera Naadu was ruled by a heir of Pandian family and a valiant soldier called Gandhappar Raja.8 Hence it is clear that this Gandhappar Raja was no one except King Gaspar, one of the three Magi Kings, and that, as Alex C. Muthaiah states, two of the Magi Kings travelled through the South Indian Port called Ovari.9 Therefore it is clear that when St. Thomas and Habban left the court of Gondophernes, they began their journey to the Southern Pandian Kingdom by ship and reached Ovari, the south east Indian port of Naaraankottai.10  
 
        Some of the historians think that the present day Ovari called Ophir in the Bible was a very famous port at the time of King Solomon.11 George Moraes writes: “We are told in the Bible that Hiram, King of Tyre, sent his fleet of “ships of Tarshish” from Ezion Geber, at the head of the Gulf of Akaba in the Red Sea, to fetch ivory, apes and pea****s from the port of Ophir to decorate the palaces and the Temple of King Slomon.”12 It is said also that the three Magi Kings, in order to see the Son of God, travelled through this port of Ophir (Ovari). And that two of the three Magi Kings were the kings of Ceylon and Maanaveera Naadu.13But they were not exactly two Magi Kings, but only one king ruling both the countries of Ceylon and Maanaveera Naadu. But as it is well established by Alex C. Muthiah the small kingdom of Naaraankottai is the same as the Maanaveera Naadu, which was built on the banks of river Naattaaru, the present Nambiaaru, which starts from Nambikovil in the Western Ghats, runs through Erwadi, Thalapathisamuthiram, Chithoor, Kottaikarunkulam, Anaikkarai, Aathankarai Pallivaasal and reaches the sea at Koothenguli in Radhapuram Taluk, Thirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. And this river in those days ran through the middle of the Southern Pandian Kingdom called Naaraankottai. This Naaraankottai had its fortress and palace at its Capital Jesupuram (Rammadupuram) in the south east direction of Anaikkarai near            
 
        Rammadupuram situated at the most fertile area then in between two branches of the Naattaaru. Since the fortress (Kottai) etc. were built on the bank of Naattaaru, this kingdom was also called Naattaatin Kottai, which gradually became Naaraankottai. The name of the capital Jesupuram was later changed by the Mohomadens as Isalapuram. This capital city had been swallowed by sands, and the remnants of it can be seen now covered by sands.14
 
        Gandhappar the king of Naaraankottai had his royal store house or go down, called in Tamil “Pandakasalai” at Kanakkankudiyiruppu, which was situated on the bank of a big lake called “Tharuvai” near the present Chettivilai and Sokkankudiyiruppu. This place was first called as Pandakasaslai; then since the royal accountants were settled in Pandakasalai, it was also called Kanakkankudiyiruppu, meaning the settlement of the kanakkargal (accountants). The lake and the surrounding area made a beautiful scenery of green fields, fruit groves and clean water rivulets running through. One of the branches of river Naattaaru was flowing through this Kanakkankudiyiruppu and reached the sea at Periathalai and made it a port. Another branch of the Naattaaru, and that was the main branch, reached the sea at Ovari and made Ovari an International Sea Port on the east coast of South India.
 
        It is through this port that Habban took St. Thomas to Naaraankottai and brought him to the court of Gandhappar Raja.15 The story goes as Fr. Motha Vaz narrates, 16 Habban approached the king and said that he had brought with him from Syria a Saintly Wiseman. As the king wanted to see the Saint, St. Thomas came and stood before the king. Gandhappar Raja asked the Saint: “Can you build a high palace for me?” The Saint thinking in his mind the spiritual edifice which he intended to raise in India, said: “Yes, I can”. Gandhappar Raja took the Saint to the spot and asked him for a plan of the palace. Immediately St. Thomas made a model plan of a beautiful palace on the ground. While he was making it, he was meditating in his mind as if God was laying the foundation of a palace for this king in heaven. At the sight of the plan Gandhappar Raja with joyful admiration said: “You are a qualified sculptor to serve the kings.”
            It was true that St. Thomas was to serve the King of kings (God Almighty) for the salvation of souls. Gandhappar Raja entrusted the work and money with St. Thomas to build the palace within six months i.e. from the month of Teshri (October-November 33 A.D.) to the month of Nisan (April, 34 A.D.)17 In the meanwhile the king went abroad to look after his royal duties in Ceylon, where he had his capital at Jafna.
 
       Here let us read the original narration of the story given in The Second Act of Thomas.

The Second Act: concerning his coming unto the king Gundaphorus. (Nos.1 to 19)

       “ Now when the apostle was come into the cities of India with Abbanes the merchant, Abbanes went to salute the king Gundaphorus, and reported to him of the carpenter whom he had brought with him. And the king was glad, and commanded him to come in to him. So when he was come in the king said unto him: What craft understandest thou? The apostle said unto him: The craft of carpentering and of building. The king saith unto him: What craftsmanship, then, knowest thou in wood, and what in stone? The apostle saith: In wood: ploughs, yokes, goads, pulleys, and boats and oars and masts; and in stone: pillars, temples, and court-houses for kings. And the king said: Canst thou build me a palace? And he answered: Yea, I can both build and furnish it; for to this end am I come, to build and to do the work of a carpenter.
        And the king took him and went out of the city gates and began to speak with him on the way concerning the building of the court-house, and of the foundations, how they should be laid, until they came to the place wherein he desired that the building should be; and he said: Here will I that the building should be. And the apostle said: Yea, for this place is suitable for the building. But the place was woody and there was much water there. So the king said: Begin to build. But he said: I cannot begin to build now at this season. And the king said: When canst thou begin? And he said: I will begin in the month Dius and finish in Xanthicus. But the king marveled and said: Every building is builded in summer, and canst thou in this very winter build and make ready a palace? And the apostle said: Thus it must be, and no otherwise is it possible.
            "And the king said: If, then, this seem good to thee, draw me a plan, how the work shall be, because I shall return hither after some long time. And the apostle took a reed and drew, measuring the place; and the doors he set toward the sun rising to look toward the light, and the windows toward the west to the breezes, and the bake house he appointed to be toward the south and the aqueduct for the service toward the north. And the king saw it and said to the apostle: Verily thou art a craftsman and it belitteth thee to be a servant of kings. And he left much money with him and departed from him.
        "And from time to time he sent money and provision, and victual for him and the rest of the workmen. But Thomas receiving it all dispensed it, going about the cities and the villages round about, distributing and giving alms to the poor and afflicted, and relieving them, saying: The king knoweth how to obtain recompense fit for kings, but at this time it is needful that the poor should have refreshment.
        "After these things the king sent an ambassador unto the apostle, and wrote thus: Signify unto me what thou hast done or what I shall send thee, or of what thou hast need. And the apostle sent unto him, saying: The palace (praetorium) is builded and only the roof remaineth. And the king hearing it sent him again gold and silver (lit. unstamped), and wrote unto him: Let the palace be roofed, if it is done. And the apostle said unto the Lord: I thank thee O Lord in all things that thou didst die for a little space that I might live forever in thee, and that thou hast sold me that by me thou mightest set free many. And he ceased not to teach and to refresh the afflicted, saying: This hath the Lord dispensed unto you, and he giveth unto every man his food: for he is the nourisher of orphans and steward of the widows, and unto all that are afflicted he is relief and rest.”18
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1.  The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Page 65
2. Herman D’Souza “In the Steps of St. Thomas” quoted by Archbishop Arulappa in his foreword.
3. The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Pages 658, 659.
 
4. George Moraes Ibid. Page 213, Foot note 18.
 
5. K.T. Rajasingham, “Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka”      Source:www.bahamaswriter.com/magi.htm - 48k -
 
6. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 32, 33.
 
7. Herman D’Souza ibid. Page 24.                                                                               
 
8. Alex C. Muthaiah ibid. Page 132.
 
9. ibid Page 111.
 
10. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 8.
 
11. Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 111.
 
12. George Moraes ibid. Pages 13, 14
 
13. Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 111.
 
14. Alex Cruz Muthaiah ibid. Page 168.
 
15. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 8.
 
16. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Chapter 4.
 
17. George Moraes ibid. Page 26                                                                            
 
18. M.R. James – Translation of “The Second act of Thomas”. Source: M.R. James-Translation and Notes, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/actsthomas.html


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CHAPTER FIVE
 
 
 
GONDOPHERNES THE PARTHIAN KING 
(MELCHIOR)
COMES TO NAARAANKOTTAI
TO BE BAPTIZED BY ST. THOMAS
 
  
THE BAPTISM OF
GONDOPHERNES (MELCHIOR)
THE SECOND MAGI KING
 
        Gondophernes the Parthian King and Gandhappar Raja were great friends because of their trade relations even before they visited the Infant Jesus at Bethlehem, Ovari (Ophir) the sea port of Naaraankottai (Maanaveera Naadu) was attracting merchants from India and abroad who travelled here to purchase precious pearls and ornaments made out of sea shells (Sangu). This trade brought in plenty of gold and silver from abroad and enriched the country. Therefore Maanaveeranaadu was recorded in the ancient inscriptions as “Velli Pon Veesum Veeramulla Naadu.” It means - a brave country glistening with Silver and gold.1 There were many industrial work establishments, sale depots and attractive shopping complexes along the river banks of Ovari exchanging wholesale trade of costly gems, pearls and ornaments.
        Herman D’souza writes: “Indian ships plied between western and Indian ports with cargoes of gold, ivory, silver and precious stones.” 2 It is also said that the pearls of this Fishery Coast were the finest ones, and that only in this coast crystal ornaments were manufactured, and therefore the finest pearls, gems and crystal ornaments of this coast were exported for the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and also rice for her soldiers. Not only that, but many varieties of sweet crystal candy products (Karkandu) of the Palmyra trees also were exported to Rome and other European countries.3 Therefore, George Mark Moraes says that it is an established fact that even before the dawn of history there was considerable inter-course and trade relations between the Indian sub-continent and the western world. 4
        In this context it is to be noted that the relationship between these two kings, chiefly after their contact with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary and their friendship with Habban after he was baptized, became very thick and cordial - to the extent that both of them had combined their stately affairs and even made financial commitments together. For instance, their Indo-Parthian commercial undertakings were expressed by minting common coins for both of their kingdoms. This we know, says Herbert Thurston, both from the discovery of coins, some of them of Parthian type with Greek legends, others of the Indian type with legends in an Indian (Tamil) dialect, in Kharoshthi characters.5 And Dr. Fleet, one of the scholars concludes: “There is an actual basis for the tradition in historical reality, and St. Thomas did visit the courts of these two kings, of whom one was Gunduphara (Gandhappar) of kharoshthi inscription and the other was Gondophares (Gondophernes) of the Takht-I- Bahi inscription.” 6
        This Inscription was discovered about the year 1857. In a Syriac edition of a book called ‘The Doctrines of the Apostles’ it is said: “India and all its own countries and those bordering on it (Ceylon), even to the farthest sea (Indian ocean), received the Apostles’ hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas…”7 Thus it becomes certain that The un-clarified destination of his ‘coming to India’ in the second Act of Thomas in 34 A.D. is nothing but the Southern Pandian kingdom called Maanaveera Naadu.
        It is admitted that the Acts of Thomas have great many gaps and missing parts (lacuna) in the manuscripts, especially the details of the Apostle’s South Indian expedition of his first mission (A.D.33 to 46). This is confirmed by George Moraes when he says: “The Acts in fact seem to have a lacuna which is admirably filled in by this South Indian tradition. For, (he explains) while the Acts make St. Thomas leave Takshasila (the Parthian kingdom of Gondophernes) for the court of King Masdai (of Mailapore) under whom he meets his end (death), we are told in the ‘De Transita Mariae’…..that from his mission at Takshasila the Apostle was summoned to be present at the bedside of the Blessed Virgin in her last moments.”8 Now the death of the Blessed Virgin occurred in 46 or 48 A.D. But the martyrdom of The Apostle at Mailapore took place only in 72 A.D at the end of his second mission which commenced from the port of Crangannore in 52 A.D. Thus the discovery of his first mission in the Southern Pandian Kingdom becomes so evident, that he was called to the bedside of the Blessed Virgin from Takshasila only at the end of his first mission in the Southern Pandian Kingdom called Maanaveera Naadu.
 
        
        St. Thomas in the meanwhile had founded a community of Christians and settled them at Kanakkankudiyiruppu on the bank of lake “Tharuvai,” and there he had built a church. This was the first Church which the Saint had ever built. The location of this first church has been miraculously commemorated by the present Manal Maatha Kovil (at Chetty Vilai, near Peria Thaalai) belonging to the parish of Sokkankudiyiruppu, Tuticorin Diocese. On the altar of this church he had erected a Cross with two cross bars; on the one with the nail marks and on the other the death sentence INRI. This double Cross was the object of veneration in all the churches he built during his first mission i.e. before the Assumption of Our Lady. The saint was preaching the gospel, offered Holy Sacrifice of the mass, and was administering the Sacraments in this church. Thus Kanakkankudiyiruppu became the very first place where Christianity was born in India, and where the first community of St. Thomas’ Christians was formed. Later, in his second mission, the Apostle erected the statue of Our Lady (now kept in the Parish church of Chettivlai) and dedicated the church to Our Lady of the Assumption. “I am now satisfied that the Christian Church (Community of St. Thomas Christians) is extremely ancient.” says the historian Vincent Smith.
        Sir Henry Yule quotes the words of Friar John Of Monte Corvino, a Franciscan who visited India, worked amongst the St. Thomas’ Christians and visited the Apostle’s tomb, does notmention the place but simply says “I remained in the country of India wherein stands the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle.”10
        Thus St. Thomas the Apostle constructed on earth the foundation of the Heavenly Palace for King Gandhappar Raja at Kanakkankudiyiruppu. It was at this church King Gondophernes, his daughter and his son-in-law met St. Thomas even before Gandhappar Raja returned from Ceylon. They prostrated at the feet of St. Thomas and said: “O blessed and most worthy servant of God! We have totally dedicated ourselves to God. Make us perpetually remain in truth, and help us consecrate ourselves to His service for ever. The Saint really admired at their faith in the true religion of Jesus Christ. He encouraged them in their resolution and instructed them on Christian doctrines. After having prepared them for forty days he administered them the Sacrament of Baptism on December 25, A.D. 33. King Gondophernes received his baptismal name as Xantiphus (Melchior), his daughter as Pelagia and his son-in-law as Denis.11
        
 
        Xantiphus took the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ literally and decided to follow the way of Christian perfection: “Everyone that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall posses life everlasting” (Mt. 19: 29). And therefore he offered himself for the spread of the kingdom of Jesus Christ in the company of St. Thomas. He was ordained a Deacon and thence forward he was following St. Thomas very faithfully. Denis was consecrated Bishop of Anthropolis, and Pelagia lived a consecrated life. When a new king came to the throne of Parthia, Pelagia, after being persecuted for being a Christian, died a martyr. Thus she became the first virgin martyr for Christ in Parthia.
 
        St. Thomas preached the gospel to multitudes of people and generously gave alms to the poor with the wealth and money entrusted to him by Gandhappar Raja. And thus he was building a Spiritual Palace for Gandhappar Raja in heaven.12

 

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1.   Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 93.
 
2.   Herman D’Souza ibid. Page 6.
 
3.   Alex C. Muthiah ibid. Page 14, 15.
 
4.   George Mark Moraes ibid. Page 13.
 
5.   Catholic Encyclopedia ibid. Page 658.
 
6.  Herman D’Souza ibid. Page 7.
 
7.   Ibid. Page 5.
 
8.   George Mark Moraes ibid. page 34.
 
9.   Herman D’Souza ibid.Page 16.                                                                                                         
 
10. Ibid. Page 25.                                                                                                                                      
 
11. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Pages 8,9,10.                                                                                                     
 
12. Ibid. Page 10.


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CHAPTER SIX
  
 
THE BAPTISM OF
GANDHAPPAR RAJA (GASPAR)
THE THIRD MAGI KING
 
               After six months of sojourn in Ceylon, Gandhappar Raja returned to Naaraankottai eagerly wishing to see the palace constructed by St. Thomas. Joyfully he invited his friends to come with him to have a look at the palace. “O Maharaj!” the king’s man said: “No such palace has been built here. That stranger does not seem to have started the work yet so far. On the contrary, travelling all over the kingdom and preaching a new religion, he has gathered a great number of people to his side. What he preaches is very strange. He assures that those who embrace his religion will possess eternal life, and that those who believe in the God whom he preaches will after their death have life everlasting. Not only that; he drives away the devils, heals the sick, raises the dead. For all these good deeds he doesn’t accept anything in return. There is no doubt that he is a magician. He is going about all over your country deceiving the people. He has thus wasted all your wealth and money in building churches, helping his followers and by abundantly giving alms to the poor and the sick. After wandering everywhere in the country and squandering all your money, we hear that he has now come to Kanakkankudiyiruppu. All these sayings made the king burn with anger and he ordered St. Thomas to be brought to him immediately.
            The saint was brought to the king. And the king enraged by the report shouted at St. Thomas saying; “You are sure to die if you don’t build the palace instantly.” The saint replied with graceful calmness: “O Lord King! The palace has been already built!” but not in this world, it’s in heaven! Only after going there you will see and admire it.” The king still in a higher pitch of anger cried with loud voice: “Aha…h! How cleverly you are deceiving us, do you think we are fools? Beware! I will not be enticed by your crafty words.” Thus saying the king ordered Habban and St. Thomas to be imprisoned. The Apostle, rejoicing to suffer for the sake of Christ, happily went to the jail, and consoled Habban saying: “fear not, have confidence in God, we are sure to possess eternal life immediately after leaving this world.” But the king was thinking with what kind of death he could punish the culprits.1
THE MIRACULOUS ESCAPE FROM PRISON
 
        It is said in the second Act of Thomas: “Gundafor imprisoned him, but the Apostle escaped miraculously and Gundafor was converted.”  In fact the Apostle did not want to escape at all. But while he was eagerly expecting a death of martyrdom, God wanted to work a miracle to extend the life of St. Thomas. Let us hear Fr. Motha Vaz narrating this miraculous episode.2
 
         “While St. Thomas and Habban were in jail, Gaatthiappar Raja (Gad, called Chinna Perumal) the younger brother of Gandhappar Raja happened to die a sudden death. The king loved his brother so much that he could not bear the grief. And in order to demonstrate his affection, the king had arranged for a solemn funeral procession. A great multitude of people attended the function. While the ceremonies were going on, a strange occurrence happened. The dead body rose from the bed; and was searching for someone in the crowd which was panic struck at the sight. The dead man opened his mouth and began to speak: “I want to see my brother, please call him.” Immediately a messenger rushed to the king and said; “your brother has risen, he is alive, he calls you.” Gandhappar Raja taken aback by the news came rushing to the spot. When he saw his dead brother face to face he was blushing with fear and awe, he could not speak a word and was trembling and perspiring. “Do not be afraid, brother! I have come back alive to request a favour from you. I am sure that in order that I may live, you will not refuse even if I ask half of your kingdom! Would you please allow me to possess a treasure which you have merited so far with a great price? That is the favour which I ask of you. The king wanted to know what exactly he was asking for. Gaatthiappar said: “Promise me first that you will sell it to me.” Gandhappar Raja promised and swore that he would give whatsoever which really belonged to him.
 
        “After getting this assurance, Gaatthiappar said with all eagerness: “O my brother, please sell me that palace which you have bought for you in heaven”. But the king exclaimed:  “who bought a palace in heaven? I do not remember to have bought one!” Then Gaatthiappar said: “It is that man whom you have put in jail to be executed for having bought for you the palace in heaven! He is a holy man, a great friend of God. Immediately after my death the angels took me from this earth to heaven. There I saw a huge palace. No one can explain its beauty and grandeur. With shining marble walls, decorated with all kinds of gems and gold, it was ineffably beautiful. The angels told me, “This is the palace built by St. Thomas for your brother; but he has become unworthy of it. And therefore St. Thomas prayed for you, you will be sent to the world to merit it by sacrificing all your wealth and money for the poor and for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
 
        Hearing this Gandhappar Raja received the inspiration to realize the instructions of Our Lady at Bethlehem how he should have accepted the Apostle, how he should have abandoned everything for the kingdom of God and cooperated with St. Thomas to convert all in his kingdom to embrace  Christianity.
 
            Motha Vaz continues: “Immediately he knelt down on the ground and prayed; “O God of St. Thomas! forgive my fault and have mercy on me” and he continued to pray as he used to pray ‘The Our Father’ taught by Our Lady, “Heavenly Father, Blessed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In the meanwhile King Gaatthiappar rushed to the prison, prostrated at the feet of St. Thomas and greeted him with these words: “O holy Apostle of the Lord, blessed be the God of your forefathers. Kindly forgive my brother and have pity on him.” St. Thomas gladly looked at his face, blessed him with the sign of the Cross on his forehead and said: “My son, may the peace of the Lord be with you.
 
        “The prison doors were thrown open and king Gaatthiappar brought the inmates out in the presence of Gandhappar Raja who fell at the feet of St. Thomas and requested him to forgive and bless him, “O Saint! Most pleasing to God,” he cried, “O Holy Apostle of Jesus Christ! I really did not know your greatness. Only now I realize that you were planning to construct a heavenly kingdom for me. Please pray to the Eternal King Whom I adored at Bethlehem that I may become worthy of possessing that palace which you have built for me in heaven. Guide and help me to be a faithful servant of the God whom you worship.” St. Thomas gave them instructions on Christian doctrines for seven days together with a great number of people of the king’s court and prepared them for baptism”.
 
             Then on May 1, 34 A.D. the Apostle baptized them all. He named Gandhappar as Peter and Gaatthiappar as Paul. This fact has been confirmed also by Dr. V. Lawrence: “King Gundnapar (Gandhappar) of India sent Habban to get an architect to build a palace. Habban took with him Thomas who was sold to him by Christ…… Both went to Gundnapar. Thomas sought money to build the Palace, but spent it for the poor. Thomas was imprisoned. Gundnapar’s brother saw in heaven the palace built by Thomas. He was released and the royal brothers were baptized.” 3
 
        Let us now read the same story in a different version found in the Second Act of Thomas (Nos. 20 to 27).
 
The Second Act: concerning his coming unto the king Gundaphorus. (No. 20 to 27)
 
         “Now when the king came to the city he inquired of his friends concerning the palace which Judas that is called Thomas was building for him. And they told him: Neither hath he built a palace nor done aught else of that he promised to perform, but he goeth about the cities and countries, and whatsoever he hath he giveth unto the poor, and teacheth of a new God, and healeth the sick, and driveth out devils, and doeth many other wonderful things; and we think him to be a sorcerer. Yet his compassions and his cures which are done of him freely, and moreover the simplicity and kindness of him and his faith, do declare that he is a righteous man or an apostle of the new God whom he preacheth; for he fasteth continually and prayeth, and eateth bread only, with salt, and his drink is water, and he weareth but one garment alike in fair weather and in winter, and receiveth nought of any man, and that he hath he giveth unto others. And when the king heard that, he rubbed his face with his hands, and shook his head for a long space.
 
        “And he sent for the merchant which had brought him, and for the apostle, and said unto him: Hast thou built me the palace? And he said: Yea. And the king said: When, then, shall we go and see it? but he answered him and said: Thou canst not see it now, but when thou departest this life, then thou shalt see it. And the king was exceeding wroth, and commanded both the merchant and Judas which is called Thomas to be put in bonds and cast into prison until he should inquire and learn unto whom the king’s money had been given, and so destroy both him and the merchant.
 
        “And the apostle went unto the prison rejoicing, and said to the merchant: Fear thou nothing, only believe in the God that is preached by me, and thou shalt indeed be set free from this world, but from the world to come thou shalt receive life. And the king took thought with what death he should destroy them. And when he had determined to flay them alive and burn them with fire, in the same night Gad the king’s brother fell sick, and by reason of his vexation and the deceit which the king had suffered he was greatly oppressed; and sent for the king and said unto him: O king my brother, I commit unto thee mine house and my children; for I am vexed by reason of the provocation that hath befallen thee, and lo, I die; and if thou visit not with vengeance upon the head of that sorcerer, thou wilt give my soul no rest in hell. And the king said to his brother: All this night have I considered how I should put him to death and this hath seemed good to me, to flay him and burn him with fire, both him and the merchant which brought him (Syr. Then the brother of the king said to him: And if there be anything else that is worse than this, do it to him; and I give thee charge of my house and my children).
 
        “And as they talked together, the soul of his brother Gad departed. And the king mourned sore for Gad, for he loved him much, and commanded that he should be buried in royal and precious apparel (Syr. sepulcher). Now after this angels took the soul of Gad the king’s brother and bore it up into heaven, showing unto him the places and dwellings that were there, and inquired of him: In which place wouldest thou dwell? And when they drew near unto the building of Thomas the apostle which he had built for the king, Gad saw it and said unto the angels: I beseech you, my Lords; suffer me to dwell in one of the lowest rooms of these. And they said to him: Thou canst not dwell in this building. And he said: Wherefore? And they say unto him: This is that palace which that Christian builded for thy brother. And he said: I beseech you, my lords, suffer me to go to my brother, that I may buy this palace of him, for my brother knoweth not of what sort it is, and he will sell it unto me.
 
        “Then the angels let the soul of Gad go. And as they were putting his grave clothes upon him, his soul entered into him and he said to them that stood about him: Call my brother unto me, that I may ask one petition of him. Straightway therefore they told the king, saying: Thy brother is revived. And the king ran forth with a great company and came unto his brother and entered in and stood by his bed as one amazed, not being able to speak to him. And his brother said: I know and am persuaded, my brother, that if any man had asked of thee the half of thy kingdom, thou wouldest have given it him for my sake; therefore I beg of thee to grant me one favour which I ask of thee, that thou wouldest sell me that which I ask of thee. And the king answered and said: And what is it which thou askest me to sell thee? And he said: Convince me by an oath that thou wilt grant it me. And the king sware unto him: One of my possessions, whatsoever thou shalt ask, I will give thee. And he saith to him: Sell me that palace which thou hast in the heavens? And the king said: Whence should I have a palace in the heavens? And he said: Even that which that Christian built for thee which is now in the prison, whom the merchant brought unto thee, having purchased him of one Jesus: I mean that Hebrew slave whom thou desiredst to punish as having suffered deceit at his hand: whereat I was grieved and died, and am now revived.
 
        “Then the king considering the matter, understood it of those eternal benefits which should come to him and which concerned him, and said: That palace I cannot sell thee, but I pray to enter into it and dwell therein and to be accounted worthy of the inhabiters of it, but if thou indeed desirest to buy such a palace, lo, the man liveth and shall build thee one better than it. And forthwith he sent and brought out of prison the apostle and the merchant that was shut up with him, saying: I entreat thee, as a man that entreateth the minister of God, that thou wouldest pray for me and beseech him whose minister thou art to forgive me and overlook that which I have done unto thee or thought to do, and that I may become a worthy inhabiter of that dwelling for the which I took no pains, but thou hast builded it for me, labouring alone, the grace of thy God working with thee, and that I also may become a servant and serve this God whom thou preachest. And his brother also fell down before the apostle and said: I entreat and supplicate thee before thy God that I may become worthy of his ministry and service, and that it may fall to me to be worthy of the things that were shown unto me by his angels.
 
        “And the apostle, filled with joy, said: I praise thee, O Lord Jesu, that thou hast revealed thy truth in these men; for thou only art the God of truth, and none other, and thou art he that knoweth all things that are unknown to the most; thou, Lord, art he that in all things showest compassion and sparest men. For men by reason of the error that is in them having overlooked thee but thou hast not overlooked them. And now at mv supplication and request do thou receive the king and his brother and join them unto thy fold, cleansing them with thy washing and anointing them with thine oil from the error that encompasseth them: and keep them also from the wolves, bearing them into thy meadows. And give them drink out of thine immortal fountain which is neither fouled nor drieth up; for they entreat and supplicate thee and desire to become thy servants and ministers, and for this they are content even to be persecuted of thine enemies, and for thy sake to be hated of them and to be mocked and to die, like as thou for our sake didst suffer all these things, that thou mightest preserve us, thou that art Lord and verily the good shepherd. And do thou grant them to have confidence in thee alone, and the succour that cometh of thee and the hope of their salvation which they look for from thee alone; and that they may be grounded in thy mysteries and receive the perfect good of thy graces and gifts, and flourish in thy ministry and come to perfection in thy Father.
 
        “Being therefore wholly set upon the apostle, both the king Gundaphorus and Gad his brother followed him and departed not from him at all, and they also relieved them that had need giving unto all and refreshing all. And they besought him that they also might henceforth receive the seal of the word, saying unto him: Seeing that our souls are at leisure and eager toward God, give thou us the seal; for we have heard thee say that the God whom thou preachest knoweth his own sheep by his seal. And the apostle said unto them: I also rejoice and entreat you to receive this seal, and to partake with me in this Eucharist and blessing of the Lord, and to be made perfect therein. For this is the Lord and God of all, even Jesus Christ whom I preach, and he is the father of truth, in whom I have taught you to believe. And he commanded them to bring oil that they might receive the seal by the oil. They brought the oil therefore, and lighted many lamps; for it was night (Syr. whom I preach: and the king gave orders that the bath should be closed for seven days, and that no man should bathe in it: and when the seven days were done, on the eighth day they three entered into the bath by night that Judas might baptize them. And many lamps were lighted in the bath).
 
        “And the apostle arose and sealed them. And the Lord was revealed unto them by a voice, saying: Peace be unto you brethren. And they heard his voice only, but his likeness they saw not, for they had not yet received the added sealing of the seal (Syr. had not been baptized). And the apostle took the oil and poured it upon their heads and anointed and chrismed them, and began to say (Syr. And Judas went up and stood upon the edge of the cistern and poured oil upon their heads and said):
 
       “Come, thou holy name of the Christ that is above every name. Come, thou power of the Most High, and the compassion that is perfect. Come, gift (charism) of the Most High.
 
        “Come, compassionate mother. Come, communion of the male. Come, she that revealeth the hidden mysteries. Come, mother of the seven houses that thy rest may be in the eighth house.           
 
        “Come, elder of the five members, mind, thought, reflection, consideration, reason; communicate with these young men.
 
       “Come, Holy Spirit, and cleanse their reins and their heart, and give them the added seal, in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost.
 
        “And when they were sealed, there appeared unto them a youth holding a lighted torch, so that their lamps became dim at the approach of the light thereof. And he went forth and was no more seen of them. And the apostle said unto the Lord: Thy light, O Lord, is not to be contained by us, and we are not able to bear it, for it is too great for our sight.


        “And when the dawn came and it was morning, he brake bread and made them partakers of the Eucharist of the Christ. And they were glad and rejoiced.  And many others also, believing, were added to them, and came into the refuge of the Saviour.” 4
 
        


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Thus the King and the people of Maanaveera Naadu became Christians in the first century itself. King Peter (Gandhappar Raja) named his capital city as “Jesupuram” and wanted to teach Christian doctrines to all the people in his country. He appointed St. Thomas as the King’s priest and Poet, and requested him to write down all the teachings of Jesus Christ in a super eminent style so that it might surpass all the works of the existing literatures and Vedas. Accepting this royal task of creating a literary master piece in Tamil language, St. Thomas became worthy of the inscriptions found on the copper plates of Chinnamanoor, Velvikkudy, which claim that the Pandian family had the honour of owning an Arian - Agasthia Priest.”5 St. Thomas now decked with the royal authority and unlimited capacity, travelled first throughout Maanaveera Naadu and then to the surrounding regions and preached the gospel and converted 9,000 men excepting the women and children.6 Deacon Xantipus, the king of Parthia and King Paul (Gad), now ordained a Deacon were the constant companions of St. Thomas in his missionary works.

 
JOURNEY TO THIRUVITHAANKODU

 

        In those days the Pandians of Maanaveera Naadu had extensive business travels with their precious products of pearls, ornaments of sangu, dry fish, karkandu, Jaggery, baskets and rice to the neighbouring Chera and Chola countries. For this business travels, the kings had constructed road ways with trees, resting places and drinking water wells all along. One such road way was in use at the time of St. Thomas. It was between Maanaveera Naadu (east coast) and Venaadu (west coast). In fact, it was these two Naadus or States that were called the original “Malabar” of St. Thomas Christians. This traditional route, starting from the ports of Ovari, Kooduthaalai and Periathaalai, ran through Kanakkankudiyiruppu, Rammadupuram, Changanaankulam, Vadakkankulam, Pazhavoor, and crossing the Western Ghatsthrough Edamalai Thondu, (the Seventh Pass) ran through Ramanaathichan Puthur, Marungoor, Kottar, Vettoornimadam,         
 
 
 
St.+Thomas+cave+at+Nilaparai.jpg
 
 
Kaarangadu and reached Thiruvithaankodu. There are some traces found to prove this route in the forms of chatrams with rock pillars, naazhi kinarugal (narrow wells) etc.7 St. Thomas with his disciples traveled along this route, preaching the gospel in all the villages and towns, and reached Thiruvithaankodu.
 
 
 
        This Thruvithaankodu is another important place which St. Thomas chose as a centre of his first mission. It was the capital city of Venadu situated in the South West coast of Tamil Naadu.   Alex C. Muthiah describes the history of this mission centre as follows: “In those days, Parasuraman a valiant King of North East India brought from the province of the river Ganges sixty four families of Arians and settled them in this province of Chera Naadu. The descendants of these Arians were ruling as kings of Venaadu, and they were called “Thiruvadigal”. Hence, the country which was ruled by these Thiruvadigal was known as “Thiruvadi Desam”, and the city where these Thiruvadigal lived was called “Thiru Vaazhum Kodu.” Thus the capital of Venaadu took the name “Thiruvaankodu” and in course of time became “Thiruvithaankodu.” 8
 
 
 
Ezharaipalli+2.jpg
        The Christians who were first converted in Venaadu were settled in this city of Thiruvithaankodu and a church was built there for their worship. This was the first church built by St. Thomas in Chera Naadu, still existing after many renewals and modifications.This fact recorded by Alex C. Muthaiah, has been confirmed in a documentary video C.D. produced by the ICS Creations called “Ezharappallikal” where Professor George Menachery speaks as follows: “In the district of Kanyakumari, at Thiruvithaankodu St. Thomas the Apostle erected a Cross and then built a small church, which still exists after undergoing some modifications and renovations.” In the same documentary film Professor Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodappuzha, Vicar of St. Dominic’s Cathedral Church in Kanjirappalli says; “St. Thomas, the Apostle came not only to Kerala, but there is a tradition that before coming here he went to many other places in the south country such as Thiruvithaankodu.”
 
 
        While staying at Thiruvithaankodu, St. Thomas visited all over Kanyakumari district in between Marthandam and Kottar. In every place of his visit he went on baptizing new Christians and appointing Catechists to look after them. As he trained the Catechists to teach catechism to the new converts, the Apostle was also composing the Christian doctrines in poetry form in order to present it to Gandhappar Raja.
 
 
Matha+Malai+2.JPG
         For such works of extra ordinary wisdom he used to find places of recollection and meditation. In Venaadu St. Thomas found a hill top of tranquil and of cool breeze, exactly six kilo meters bird’s eye view distant west of Thiruvithaankodu. On the top of this hill called ‘Matha Malai’, St. Thomas used to sit atop the hill on a stone for prayer and meditation for a long time; and therefore the rock on which he rested his right foot, we can see now his foot print. In one of the caves of this hill Our Lady has appeared to him several times and inspired him to compose the Tamil literature of Christian doctrines. (Rev. Thirumeni Varghese of Kappiyara has written the history of this hill)
 
 
        After six months of sojourn in Venaadu, St. Thomas returned to meet his first Christians in Maanaveera Naadu by the same route through which he came first. But after Ramanaathichan Puthur he discovered another pass through the mountains called “Narithondu.” After crossing this pass he found a beautiful and fertile area on the hill side. There were two streams perennially flowing from the mountains, one having its source from Peria Malai called “Sambanchunai;” another from Nilapparai Malai called Kanjanchunai. 
 
nilapparai+top.lnk.JPG
The place in between these two streams was a green grove and a beautiful garden where probably “Kanja” plants were growing, and therefore the stream was called Kanjanchunai and the mountain was also called “Kanjomalai.” St. Thomas found this place suitable for rest and also a platform to preach to the people gathered around him. There is a cave in which he used to pray and meditate. A demon came to disturb his prayers and meditation. St. Thomas told the demon to depart from him and wait for him in a distant place. And it is said that this demon is still waiting for him and calling: “Thomas when will you come?” This calling of the demon was reported to have been heard by some in that region until the recent past.10
 
 
                   While starting from Kanjomalai (Nilapparai) the Saint somehow missed his way and landed at Pandarakulam, east of Vallioor where, according to traditional belief, it is said that he founded a small community of new Christians by the side of a river which made the place very fertile and pleasant. 
 
Pandarakulam+Cross+02.JPG
St. Thomas erected a Cross there with the inscriptions (INRI) on it, carved by his own hands in his own peculiar style, which can be seen there now on the northern side of St. Thomas’ church (Now a beautiful shrine has been built in the same place with that miraculous cross as the object of veneration). He liked this small community so much that he made it a point to pass through Pandarakulam whenever he went to and from Thiruvithaankodu. Since this community of St. Thomas’ Christians was later visited by various Missionaries like Sts. Francis Xavier, John De Britto, Veeramamunivar (Constantine Beschi) etc. who were known as "Pandara Swamigal", this place got the name Pandarakulam. This village is one of the sub-stations of the present Kilavaneri Parish in Tuticorin Diocese. From Pandarakulam St. Thomas took a different route along the river Nattaaru (Nambiaru) and reached Kanakkankuditiruppu in the month of December, 34 A.D.
 
 
 


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CHAPTER SEVEN
 

 
  
“DIVINE BOOK”
THE DOCTRINES OF
ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE
 
 
 
 
 
 
             The History of Tamil Sangams” states that between 50 B.C. and 30 A.D. the Pandian King presiding over the “Kadai Sangam” at Madurai was Karungai Volvaazh Perumpeyar Vazhuthi who was also called Vukkira Peruvazhthi I.1  Edward Jennet Robinson states that St. Thomas at that time was carrying out missionary work at Mylapore (Tamil Nadu). And N. Krishna Moorti in his Book “Saint Thiruvalluvar”2 mentions that according to Marai Malai Adigal the author of the ‘Deiva Nool’ was born on Jan. 16, 31 B.C. “The History of Tamil Sangams” once again clearly states in Page 129 that the author of the ‘Deiva Nool’ lived between B. C. 75 and A.D. 36.  All these writings show that the Deiva Nool would have been composed at the time when St. Thomas was carrying out his first missionary enterprise in Tamil Nadu. 
 
            Now, when King Vukkira Peruvazhuthi I was ruling at Madurai, it was not at Mylapore that St. Thomas was carrying out missionary work as Edward Jennet Robinson states, but at the southern Pandian kingdom (Maanaveera Naadu), which was one of the petit kingdoms of King Vukkira Peruvazhuthi, ruled by King Gandhappar. St. Thomas went to Mylapore only during his Second Mission in India, i.e: from 52 A.D. to 72 A.D.
 
        It must also be noted as Dr. K. Appadurai states that until the time of Kambar Ramayana the name of the book was known only such as “Vedam (Book of Religion), Aram (Book of Virtues), Utthara Vedam (True Religion), Deiva Nool (Divine Scripture)” and so on. And the name of its author was known such as “Eraiyanaar (God), Poyyil Pulavar (True Poet), Deiva Pulavar (Divine Poet)” and so on. For example the Tamil Epics called ‘Pura Naanooru, Chilappathikaaram, and Manimekalai’ mention the book as ‘Aram’ and the author as Poyyil Pulavar only. Dr. Appadurai very boldly asserts that the stories about the name and family of the author as ‘Thiru Valluvar’, and the name of the book as ‘Thirukkural’ are only modern stories without any traditional foundation. “In truth”, he says, “Until the time of Kambar we see that no author of Tamil Literatures, while quoting the lines and ideas of the Deiva Nool, ever mention the book as Thirukkural, or the author as Thiru Valluvar.”3
 
 
Thiruvalluvar.bmp
        It was in this historical set up that King Gandhappar, now as a Christian, requested St. Thomas to create a Tamil literature containing all the teachings of Jesus Christ. And St. Thomas, after returning from Thiruvithankodu, devoted forty days and forty nights for prayer and meditation in the church of Kanakkankudiyiruppu.
thomas+poet.jpg

            For the subject of meditation, first he took the Old Testament of the Bible, wherein he found the construction of material he wanted to create, (i) Aram - Spiritual order: The Nature and Attributes of God, and Man’s duty towards God (Aravial = Illaram and Thuravaram), which are contained in the first five books of the Bible - the Pentateuch. (ii) Porul – Social order: The Powers and duties of the Kings (Arasial= Politcs), which are found in the books of Kings and Judges in the Bible. (iii) Inbam - Moral order. The Love and Pleasures un-opposed to holiness (Karpial= Chastity), which are written in the Canticle of Canticles in the Bible.
 
 
            Secondly St. Thomas meditated on the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and applied these Christian principles to the above construction of material for his book.
 
            Thirdly the Saint meditated on the instructions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the twelve Apostles, and especially Her instructions to him and to his fellow Magi Kings at Bethlehem, how to govern the kingdoms in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God.
 
            King Gandhappar already knew well before he was baptized, that a king has to seek the company of wise and courageous men. But now, after listening to the instructions of Saint Thomas, he found out that the royal virtues he had already obtained were nothing before those of the Divine Saint Thomas. Therefore the King wanted to name the literature of St. Thomas as “Deiva Nool” (Divine Book) or “Doctrines of St. Thomas.”
 
            King Gandhappar also knew well that even from very ancient times Tamil Nadu was a constant battle ground of many wars between different religions. In these kinds of wars many scholars and poets had wasted their life time.     
 
            Besides, the books written in favor of one religion were not read by those who belonged to other religions; and many times they spoke ill of each other. For example, the fierce battle between the Sivaits and the Jains was a historical fact.  In order that the book of St. Thomas should be read by all who belonged to various kinds of religions, and in order that those who were fighting among themselves on religious differences should accept and admire the superiority of his Deiva Nool so much, that they may one and all praise him as the prince of the poets, Gandhappar Raja requested St. Thomas not to mention the name and author of his religion in this work; and he said that it would be known if and when God would please to reveal it.
 
            Though a poet by birth, St. Thomas had for this purpose received divine light and many preternatural and supernatural gifts of the Holy Ghost, in his direct contact and education from Our Lord Jesus Christ, (like Sage Agasthiyar on the instruction of Lord Murugan originated the Tamil language – see Appendix II) to compose in Tamil the doctrines of Christianity in a most brilliant and unique style which surpassed all other existing Tamil literatures created by poets who were inside or outside the Tamil Sangam. In fact our Saint was not a poet belonging to the Sangam though he lived in the Sangam period.5
 
 
            Some details of the antediluvian kings in the “Catholic commentary on Holy Scripture”, give us astonishing evidences of the connections between the Bible and Lord Murugan (Alagar) and his disciple Agasthiar.
 
             In the genealogy of the Sethites it is said:
 
“The Babylonians similarly listed ten antediluvian kings with immensely long reigns. The first Alulim (Adam) is credited with 67,200 years, and his successor Alagar (Seth) with 72,000.”6
 
            “When we compare the Sethite list of genealogy with the Babylonian list of Berossus, we find a number of striking coincidences”. Cfr: “Enoch's Sumerian ancestors”. Source:                                                                                                   http://www.jehovahswitness.net/watchtower/bible/67655/1/Enochs-Sumerian-ancestors
 
Berossus                    Sumerian Equivalents              Sethite List
1. Aloros                     Alulim                                         Adam
2. Alaparos                 Alagar                                         Seth
3. Amelon                  Enmenluanna; Amelu "Man"   Eosh "Man"
4. Ammenon (?);       Ammanu "Workman"         Kenan "Metal  Worker"
5. Amegalaron           Enmengalanna                          Mahalalel
6. Daonos                   Dumuzi                                        Jared
7. Evedoranchus        Enmenduranki                           Enoch
8. Amepsinos             Ensibzianna                             Methuselah
9. Otiartes/Opartes    Uburtu                                        Lamech
10. Xisouthros             Ziusudra                                       Noah
 
            “The second king, Alaparos, is derived from Alalgar, the second king of the Weld-Blundell Sumerian king list, whose sage was U-an-dugga”.
 
            The Lord Murugan who is known for the knowledge of Tamil Language and of the whole Universe according to Dr. Mandayam Kumar “imparted spiritual knowledge to Agathiyar”; and “Sage Agathiyar on the instruction of Lord Murugan (Alagar) originated the Tamil language”.  (Appendix III “Sage Agasthiyar and his travels”) 
Source: http://indianheartbeat.fws1.com/agathiyar.htm
 
 
            Now, if this Lord Murugan (Alagar) is none but the son of Adam and Eve, called Seth the first son after the murder of Abel by Cain, his language would have been “Tamil” according to the modern researchers like Ma. So. Victor (“Kumarikkandam” Pages 104, 105).
 
            And in “The Catholic Encyclopedia” Vol. 4, we find: “Tribes which certainly sprang from Noe were preceded in their earliest settlements by other tribes whose origin is unknown to us: the Dravidic tribes preceded the Arians in India.” (Page 705)
 
            “Again the languages of the races springing from Noe are said to be in a state of development different from that in which we find the languages of the peoples of unknown origin.” (Page 705)  
                                                                                                           
            Moreover, the third antediluvian king Enosh is likely to be associated with Melchizedek who could represent Agasthiyar as well.
 
 
Melchizedek+3.jpg
            “Jesus, who went before us, has entered (the Holy of Holies) on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Heb. 6:20) The association with Jesus cannot be denied. Thus the question naturally arises; just who was this mysterious figure (Melchizedek)? Was he an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus Christ Himself? Was he one of the Antediluvian Patriarchs (Enosh), allowed to live a very long life in order to help establish God's chosen nation?” (Appendix V “Who is Melchizedek”) Source: 
 
            The antediluvian kings having considerably longer life-spans than the postdiluvian ones, Agasthiyar who plays the part of the biblical Melchizedek had a long span of life (at least 12,000 years) living both before and after the flood, and had established and nurtured all the three Tamil Sangams from 9600 BC to 600 AD. (Appendix IV) 
Source:  http://forum.yogananda.net/index.php?/topic/17800-the-amazing-great-pyramid/
 
            Let us continue reading from Appendix IV “The Amazing Great Pyramid-
Yogananda SRF Devotees” referred above:
           
            “The research done by Fr. Heras and Sir John Marshall the Archaeologist and other scholars into the archaeological finds at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa point to the existence of an earlier highly developed Dravidian civilization in the deep South, which had influenced the Indus Valley Aryan civilization of the North.
 
            “The available historical evidence referring to the Dravidian civilization commences with the records that have come down to us of the Tamil literary writings during the past 12,000 years, which have been divided by historians into three periods, called the First Sangam period from 9600 BC to 5200 BC, spanning the Satya and Treta yugas, the Second Sangam period from 5200 BC to 1500 BC spanning the Treta and Dwapara yugas, and the Third Sangam period from 1500 BC to 600 AD spanning the Dwapara and Kali yugas”.
 
            “The First Sangam, which was founded and nurtured by Siddha Sri Agasthiyar, lasted for 4,400 years and had its centre in the city of Dakshina Madura in the continent of Lemuria.
            “The Second Sangam, which was also established under the patronage of Sri Agasthiyar, lasted for 3,700 years and had its centre in the city of Kavatapuram in the continent of Lemuria, after the records in the city of Dakshina Madura had gone under water.
            “The Third Sangam, also sponsored by Sri Agasthiyar, lasted for 1,800 years and had its centre at Uttara Madura, namely the modern city of Madurai, which lays north of the earlier centers, after the whole of the Lemurian continent had gone under water”.
 
            Ma. So. Victor in the Author’s word of his book “Kumarikkandam”:
 
1.        Quotes one striking principle of Dr. Ernst Haeckel:
 
            “An immense landscape submerged in the Indian Ocean is the Lemuria Continent. Living beings and Humanity first appeared in this continent only.  The Tamils had not come to India from any other nation to be settled here. The Lemuria continent is the motherland of the Tamils.”

Lemuria+Map.bmp
            



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Ernst Haeckel Map Lemuria Human Origins        


http://www.sciencephoto.com/image/152193/530wm/C0089507-
 
Caption: Frontis plate with illustration from Ernst Haeckel "The History of Creation" English translation by Prof. E. Ray Lankaster 1876. "A hypothetical sketch of the monophyletic origin and of the extension of the 12 races of man from Lemuria over the Earth". While Darwin correctly suspected an African origin for mankind, Haeckel hypothesized a lost continent of Lemuria from which the various races of mankind had spread. Though there seemed little basis in geology for this supposition, it suited his own racial ideologies and would help him explain the (then) rarity of human fossils (on account of them being lost on a drowned continent). It also helped explain the anomalous distribution of Lemurs (hence the name) in the seemingly disconnected realms of Africa, Madagascar, India and Asia. We now have many early hominid fossils from Africa and explain lemur distributions with continental drift.
 
2.      Victor quotes what is said by V. R. Ramachandra Theetchithar in his book “Origin and spread of the Tamils”, Page 29:
 
            “We therefore conclude that the so called Mediterranean race had its origin in peninsular India, which was a part of the original Dravidian home which was the submerged continent and connected south India with Africa, when the Indo Gangetic basin had not probably been formed. So the Dravidian element is not to be found in Indian culture alone, but is largely traceable in Gretan, Agean, Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Phoenician and other cultures of the ancient world.”
 
3.       Then he gives the frontiers of Kumarikkandam in the same Chapter (Page 22):
 
            “Many have accepted that Kumarikkandam was in the same place where today Indian Ocean is. Indian Ocean has been comprised as its frontier nations: India in the north, South Pole in the south, Africa in the west and Indonesia and Australia in the east. In this vast spread water space was the kumarikkandam.
 
4.      In the same chapter (Page 24) he shows that Ceylon was the place where Adam came and settled after he had been chased out of the Paradise.
 
            “It is discovered by scientists that Ceylon’s Vavunia forest and its mountain region is the land most ancient. Some say that the mountain called the summit of Adam at the height of seven thousand feet was the region where the first man Adam came and settled after being cast out of the Garden of Eden. The rock there with the foot prints is a very ancient rock………For the last two thousand years it is said that the foot prints known as Thiruppaadam (Sri Pada), are the feet of Adam.”
 
 
Adam%2527s+Peak.jpg
Temple in the sky Ratnapura is situated at the foot of the 2243 meter high Adam's Peak.
Catholics say it is of St. Thomas' the Christian Apostle who preached in South India.
 
Ratnapura is also the starting point for the 'Classic' Hard route up Adam's Peak, via Gilimale and Carney estate. The Pilgrimage season starts on Poya (full moon) day in December and runs until the start of the South-West Monsoon in April. It has been a pilgrimage centre for over 1000 years.                                                      Source: http://silvarinetours.blogspot.com/
 
            “Although there are no evidences available whether Adam truly lived there, evidences have now begun to appear that Adam was the man of Kumarikkandam.”
 
5.      Dr. E. Thurston says (Page 82)
           
     “According to Dr. Haeckel, where the Indian Ocean today is, there was a great landscape, extending from the Sunda Islands of Indonesia to Africa. Dr. Sclater is of opinion that this landscape is the Lemurian continent. This continent is the place where living beings, animals and man began to appear.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
            6.  Dr. Gream Williams says:
 
            “The news worthy of admiration is that India was the nation where all living beings began to appear. It is in India where wild man began the civilized life. 
 
            7.  According to Dr. H. G. Wells:
 
            “Kumarikkandam was the nursery for the development of people of the ancient world.”
 
            8. Dr. Ku. Mangaiyarkarasi in her Research Book called “Kumarikkandam Literary evidences and Modern Researches ” Page 106 has said that the findings of Kumarikkandam are not mere  imagination, but are attached to historical phenomenon: “From the assurance of Modern researchers regarding Lemuria, from the suggestions of  it as the place where living beings originated and from the saying that this place was in the sea attached to the land of south India, it could be strongly asserted that the confidence which the ancient Tamils possessed about the deluge and the civilization which perished in it is not a mere imagination, but is of a historical phenomenon”.
       
            Thus St. Thomas succeeded providentially to introduce in Tamil once again the one true religion of the one true God in three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, and updated through the teachings and merits of Jesus Christ the Son of God, into a nation which was once the birth place of the one true religion and then turned in to the nursery for the development of all kinds of religions. It is true that even the best of Scholars who wrote commentaries on the “Deiva Nool”, do not fully explain the thoughts of the author.7
 
                    St. Thomas wrote this Deiva Nool in that Tamil Character which existed in first century on Palmira leaves, and presented it first in the royal assembly of Gandhappar Raja on January 15, 35 A.D. All those who read it or heard it read, chiefly the contemporary Tamil scholars and poets, unanimously praised its incomparable and supernatural quality, its beauty of rhythm and its depth of meaning. No one had so far ventured this style of literary composition.                                                                           
 
            When this master piece of the Tamil world was submitted to King Karungai Volvaazh Perumpeyar Vazhuthi (Vukkira Peruvazhuthi I) or his immediate successor on the throne, to be presented in the Tamil Sangam at Madurai, as referred below in the “History of Thiru Vallavathevar”, a miracle was witnessed. The platform of the Sangam Poets discarded them all down and accepted only the Deiva Nool to be placed on it. The truth hidden in this story was known to all the Tamil scholars, so that this Nool was so regarded and established as an incomparable and unique one.8
 
            In the book called “The divine history of Thiru Valluva Naynaar” Pages 14 to 20, it is narrated:
 
            “In the City of Madurai of the Pandian Kingdom the poets of Tamil Sangam including Nakkeerar who were very proud of their wisdom, were wont to humiliate all the new poets who came there. Hearing this, people like Azhagananthar who were grieving over it for a long time, requested Thiruvalluva Thevar to compose a volume easy to grasp, containing the means to attain happiness in heaven and on earth, and comprising every sphere of life in the world. “Having accepted this request, Thiru Valluva Thevar fulfilled the wish of Azhagananthar and others by composing a book containing the compendium of the Bible doctrines, in one thousand three hundred and thirty short strips (Kural Venpas), explaining  the three aspects of life – Aram (spiritual order), Porul (social order) and Inbam (moral order), and comprising all that is in the world. Azhagananthar and others, feeling extremely happy over the elegance of this book, expressed their mind that by this literature they should bring down the pride of the Sangam poets.     
 
            “Accepting their request together with Azhagananthar and others, he travelled through the region of Edaikazhi, informing this matter to Ouwai Pirattiyar whom he met on the way, and inviting her to join him, reached the city of Madurai.

            “After arriving at Madurai, in the court of Pandian King Ukkirappervaluthi, surrounded by the ministers and other officials, Edaikkadar and Ouwai Pirattiyar seated by his side, the other religious superiors and missionaries attending the assembly, while those who respected it and experienced a holy joy at his miraculous composition, and that the Sangam Poets may apologies in their hearts, he inaugurated the book Thirukkural.
 
            “And then, followed by both Auwai Pirattiar and Edaikkadar, he went near the pool of golden lotus and stood in front of the forty nine Sangam Poets including Nakkeerar in order to humble their pride. Those Poets also, thinking of humiliating him in some way or other, and knowing not the consequence of it, asked of him numerous unwanted questions. And when they heard him answering their questions unhesitatingly and without offending them, they at length asked him: “which country do you belong?” To this question Thiruvalluva Thevar replied with an erudite poetry of four strips (Venpas):
 
            “Which country said ye, the country where I was you didn’t ask
            Do you know the details of that country - that country
            Would be a threefold desolation and in the end nothingness
            And beyond it, will come forth a country without desolation
            (that country I belong).  
 
            “Hearing such a supernatural answer, the Sangam Poets felt: “since there is a tremendous differences between his nature and our nature, we are not worthy of holding a conversation with him”, and said: “We have a custom; that is, to which of the book the platform we are seated gives place, that will be the Classical Tamil book. According to this custom, if this platform gives place to your book also, we will approve this book as a classical Tamil book.”
 
            “We will do so,” said Thiruvalluva Thevar, and he placed his book on the Sangam platform. Instantly the platform became as small as not to access the forty nine Sangam Poets, but to accept only the book of Thirukkural. Therefore the forty nine who occupied the platform fell down in to the pool of golden lotus.

 “At this occurrence, having understood that he was a man erudite in Classical Tamil, and that the book he composed was one of those most Classical books, the Sangam Poets came out of the pool and with wonderful praise they named that book as “Tamil Religion”, “Perfect Doctrine”, “Compendium of all doctrine” and so on. And all the forty nine Sangam Poets sang the praises of this book by each one composing a poetry of four strips (venba) according to their taste. And this is called the “Thiruvalluva Maalai”.
 
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            “Then the Sangam Poets, Ukkira Peruvazhuthi and others having paid their homage to Thiruvalluva Thevar, said: “It would be perfect if Agsthiya Munivar the master of Tamil language approves this most valuable book”. Thiruvalluva Thevar who used to acquiesce with the wishes of credited personalities, accepted this proposal and went down to the Pothigai Ashram, and lovingly visited Agasthiya Munivar who was residing there, and expressed the intention of his arrival there. And the latter after making a critical study of that book, was most happy to grant his whole hearted approval”.
 
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            St. Thomas, who by Jesus Christ was imparted spiritual knowledge and instructed in a miraculous way to compose the couplets of the Deiva Nool, went to Agasthiya Munivar, who was none but Melchizedek as shown above, and obtained his whole hearted approval for his master piece of the Tamil literature. This is the reason why great men have attempted to find a mystical relationship between Lord Murugan (Alagar) and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Actually, as cited above, if Lord Murugan the second antediluvian king is the son of Adam and Eve (Seth), Jesus Christ is the eternal son of God the Father.
 
            There is another proof to state that the real author of the Deiva Nool was St. Thomas. One of the miracles done by St. Thomas in Mylapore is attributed to Thiruvalluvar. Namely, the miraculous removal of a huge log of wood by St. Thomas narrated in the “History of St. Thomas” by M. Motha Vaz Page 47, has also been recorded as done by Thiruvalluvar in the “History of Thiruvalluva Naayanar” Page 13.
 
            Parimelazhagar, one considered the best among the existing commentators of this Deiva Nool, as he was a Vaishnavaite,  depends very much upon his own religion and departs from the thoughts of the author.9 But even he, unconsciously admits the author’s belief in the Holy Trinity in his commentary for the very first verse, and for this he is rebuked by another commentator.10 But when Parimelazhagar  says “Moovaraagia Mutharkkadavulodu,” meaning - with  the Prime God in three Persons, it signifies  the Triune God whom a Christian alone worships; and he says that the author of this Deiva Nool greets here the God whom he worships. Therefore the first verse of this Deiva Nool speaks of the Holy Trinity and the author of it must definitely be a Christian.
Moreover, T.S. Kandasamy Muthaliar in his Research Introduction to Parimel azhagar-urai says that this Deiva Nool is incomparable in expounding the nature and fragrance of virtues. What is virtue, how to practice virtue and the purpose of it have all been perfectly explained in this Nool. And in no other book can we find apt answers to the questions about the divine virtues. And the highest form of practicing justice viz. of doing good even to the enemy is a unique teaching of this author.11 Now Jesus Christ alone has taught and practiced this highest form of virtue and justice. For example, Jesus taught: “But I say to you: Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you” (Mt. 5: 44), and He practiced this teaching all His life, even while hanging on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk.23: 34).
 
            Nakkeerar in his encomiums to this Deiva Nool appraises its author as follows:        
“What gratitude would the world render to the author who knowing everything himself, has composed in Tamil short strips (Kural Venpas), the four most important subject matters beginning with Virtue (Aram), in a way easily to be understood even by those who are ignorant of them.”12
 
            Nakkeerar had his origin from the region of the Southern Pandian kingdom Maana Veera Naadu where St. Thomas built his first church at Kanakkankudiyiruppu. This Kanakkankudiyiruppu is the place where king Gandhappar had settled his accountants called kanakkayars.  These kanakkayars were in charge of the store house called “Pandaga Saalai” of the kingdom. The father of Nakkeerar was one of these Kanakkayars belonging to the art craftsmen called “Sankaruppore”. Nakkeerar was called the son of Kanakkayar, and he proudly calls himself as from the heritage of “Sankaruppore” (Sankaruppore engal Kulam, Sankaranaar kaetu kulam? = Our heritage is to be Sankaruppore, which heritage does Sankaranaar belong?) In this connection Kakkeerar might have had some knowledge about St. Thomas as worthy of his highest encomium above.
 
        Hence the author of this Deiva Nool, whatever name might be attributed to him, must be a great and holy man who knew Jesus Christ and His teachings perfectly well enough to practice them himself. If an Italian Constantine Beschi (Veera Maa Munivar) could become well versed in Tamil so much as to be the first one to create the Tamil Dictionary, and to compose the famous “Thembavani,” why not an Apostle of Jesus Christ be the best and most worthy author (Deiva Pulavar) of this Deiva Nool? But for his contact with the very Son of God (Jesus Christ), the author could not have acquired the qualities admired by Nakkeerar and others.                                                             
 
        This tribute of God’s prerogative (Omniscience) cannot be applied to any man except to him who is inspired by and who has a specific mission from God Himself. And we know well that Jesus Christ (The True God and True Man) had sent one of His Apostles Thomas to the Pandian kingdom with a divine mission. And for this purpose He has conferred upon the Apostle His divine Power: “All Power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe  all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28: 18, 19, 20).
     
        Another commentator Thodithalai Vizhuthandinaar eulogizes our author saying: “This great Poet, who exposed the ineffable four subjects, seems to know even higher mysteries which are not contained in these subjects.”13 The disciples of Jesus Christ had a chance to live with the Son of God, and they heard Him teach all the doctrines. They saw him face to face, they heard Him speaking about hidden things and performing highest of miracles. 
 
       


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 This fact is proved first by the writing of Matthias the Apostle who in his Acts “The book of Thomas the contender” has written as follows:
 
            “The secret words that the Savior spoke to Judas Thomas which, I, even I, Matthias, wrote down, while I was walking, listening to them speak with one another. “The savior said, “Brother Thomas while you have time in the world, listen to me, and I will reveal to you the things you have pondered in your mind,” “Now since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist and how you will come to be. Since you will be called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself. And I know that you have understood because you had already understood that I am the knowledge of the truth. So while you accompany me although you are uncomprehending, you have in fact already come to know, and you will be called “the one who knows himself,” (the supreme norm prescribed by Nakkeerar, i.e:-“knowing everything himself” -Thaanae Anaithaiyum Arinthu).  For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all. So then, you, my brother Thomas, have beheld what is obscure to men, that is, what they ignorantly stumble against.” Now Thomas said to the lord, “Therefore I beg you to tell me what I ask you before your ascension, and when I hear from you about the hidden things, then I can speak about them.”14
 
            Over and above all these, St. Thomas and all the Apostles were promised the understanding of all things by the Holy Ghost: “But the Paraclete, The Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (Jn. 14: 26). Added to this, The Blessed Virgin Mary Who was the seat of the Eternal Incarnate Wisdom, also instructed the Apostles on the divine mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity, The Incarnation, Redemption and Hypostatic Union (the union of divinity and humanity in Jesus).15 Christianity is a supernatural religion and it contains truths which are unfathomable to human intellect. “Behold, God is great, exceeding our knowledge; the number of his years is inestimable” (Job. 36: 26). “The mind cannot rise to the contemplation of the Deity, whom nothing approaches in sublimity, unless it be entirely disengaged from the senses, and of this in the present life we are naturally incapable” (vide Summa Theologoca Ia XII-11). And therefore the author of this Deiva Nool must have had acquired supernatural knowledge about the divine mysteries. But for his actual contact with the Eternal Incarnate Wisdom itself in the way explained above, the author would not have acquired the astonishing qualifications attributed to him by Thodithalai Vizhuthandinaar.
 
            Thus St. Thomas had Christianized the philosophies of the Indian Vedas by indianizing his Christian thoughts without sacrificing the Christian doctrines. This has been traditionally sung in a song printed in the history of St. Thomas Mount as follows: “O our great sage! Who explained the meaning of ancient Vedas of India”16 (ð£óî ï£ì¢®ù¢ ðöñ¢ «õîé¢è÷¢ ªð£¼÷¢ õ¤÷è¢è¤ò âñ¢ ñ£ºù¤õ£!) And his contribution to the Tamil language, literature and comparative religious, moral and social ethics by his true indianization, are meritorious services that Indian Christian scholars themselves have not done for ages before or after. The influence of the Deiva Nool on the Indian literary works such as Sangam literature, Kambar Ramayanam, Tamil epics, Tirumantiram, Shivite ethics, Jeevagachintamani etc. have been analyzed for evidences of its impact on them.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                           
        And Parimelazhagar claims the Deiva Nool as belonging to his Vaishnava religion. His claim is confirmed by Krishna Moorti: “At places, he (Parimelazhagar) refuted the points made by Sanskrit texts and highlighted the variation put forth by the Kural (Deiva Nool). His analysis of textual emendations adds to his worth.”17 
                                                                                                                                                                     
        And moreover, in his writing about the excellence of this Deiva Nool, R. P. Sethuppillai rightly criticizes Parimelazhagar saying that it is obvious that Parimelazhagar has interpreted it forcefully or leniently according to his own thought and Philosophy. 18
 
         The commentaries now available are only those written approximately one thousand years after the composition of it. Therefore one cannot expect to see in these commentaries the original intention of the author. It is natural therefore for the commentators like Parimelazhagar to explain out those passages which are unknown to them according to their own cult and creed.                       
 
            It is unfortunate, therefore, that this masterpiece of the early Christian literature (the Doctrines of St. Thomas in Tamil), is misunderstood even by Christian Theologians and has been misinterpreted by the Indian philosophers. Thus it had been left to be handled according to their cult and belief. Hence it had to suffer the inevitable emendations and interpolations19 in accordance with their personal thoughts and cults in its text and in its cultural context. This problem would have been solved if a true Christian commentary had been available prior to the existing emended non-Christian texts and commentaries.
 
        It is true that U.G. Pope who translated the whole of the Deiva Nool into English mentions that it contains teachings of Christianity, but he is afraid of bringing in the Christian doctrines even when it is possible. For instance, the translation of the very first verse could have been:
 
The world came forth from the prime God composed of
The sound ‘A’, its Word and its Character
 
            Agara Muthala Ezhuthellam
            Aathi Bagavan Muthtrae vulagu
 
            ‘A’ (Agaram), Word (Muthalam), Character (Ezhuthu)
 
             The first exterior revelation of God’s Wisdom is Agaram (‘A’ the principle of sound). The second exterior revelation is the first born Muthlam (Word, the first born of the sound). The third exterior revelation is Ezhuthu (Character of the Word).
 
            Ellam = All These Three, (Father the prime Cause, Son the first born, and the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
           
            Aathi Bagavan = From the Prime God.
           
            Muthatrae Ulagu = From Whom all the world came forth. (Is He Who created heaven and earth).
 
            Even Parimelazhagar, in the beginning of his commentary on this book, when he explains the very first verse, points out the Triune God of the author of this book. According to him, “Moovaragia Mutharkkadavul” (the Prime God composed of three) would mean, The Prime God who is in three Persons.
 
            In the book “Thiru Valluvar, Thirukkural Moolamum uraiyum” – Page, 3. Introduction to Chapter 1, Praise of God, he writes:
           
            “That is to say, the author praises the most worthy God whom he worships in accordance with his doctrines. Of those (doctrines), see that this praise is fittingly worthy of God. Do you see? The three elements of an immovable being such as substance, being related to the Prime God Who has been composed of these three, it is quite fitting to praise the three persons, who are said to have possessed these three elements”.
 
            Besides, in the same page, the foot note gives an exciting explanation to the word Bagavan:  
 
            “The six prerogatives Richness, braveness, praise, holiness, wisdom and steadiness are meant by the word Bagam. And therefore, Bagavan means the one who possesses all these six prerogatives.”      
           
            Thus, it is quite fitting to say that the Author who praises the Triune God possessing the six prerogatives enumerated by Parimelazhagar is truly no one but St. Thomas.
 
 
 
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            In Chennai, the State capital of Tamil Nadu, India, the chief minister Kalaigner M. Karunanithi has established the great memorial called “Valluvar Kottam” as a worthy remembrance of the immemorial “Deiva Nool” of  St. Thomas. Few examples of this cultural edifice will suffice to prove that this Deiva Nool speaks of Jesus Christ who had sent the apostle St. Thomas to India.  


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1. On the pedestal of the stone chariot one can see the above carved image of Jesus carrying the cross, as a description of the 16th chapter of the Deiva Nool on patience: “Porai Udaimai”.
 
 
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2. Around the assembly Hall of the Valluvar Kottam one of the paintings shows Jesus Christ as the one who has burned the five senses of one’s body – “ainthavithaan”, a description of the 6th poem of Chapter 1, and the 5th poem of chapter 3. 
 
 
 


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3. Another painting describes the scourging of Jesus at the pillar as one under goes an act of penance, said in the 9th poem of chapter 2.
 
 
 
 


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 4. Still another painting around the same assembly hall of Valluvar Kottam in Chennai describes Jesus Christ as one who has conquered his bodily senses.
 
 
 
 It is praise worthy that Tamil Scholars like M. Deiva Nayagam and Arch Bishop Arulappa have brought to light the truth that the Deiva Nool is nothing but the doctrines taught by  Jesus Christ. (Confer: “Thirukkural Puthaivu” First edition 1987 by Arch bishop Arulappa; and “Thiru Valluvar Christhavara?” written by M. Deiva Naayagam and published on May 23 1969)
 
            But unfortunately there was no attempt made by Christian scholars to write a Christian commentary so far.
 
        Even now it is not too late to publish a Christian commentary, without prejudice to the fact that St. Thomas the Apostle of Jesus Christ was the contemporary author who really lived and taught Christian doctrines in the Southern Pandian Kingdom for thirteen years and more. The Pandian King Gandhappar Raja and his successors might have written the authentic interpretations for the Original Deiva Nool of St. Thomas, and these interpretations together with the Original Text of the Deiva Nool might have been surely preserved in the libraries and archives of the sand covered Kingdom of Naaraankottai.
           
            An archaeological excavation of the sand hill of Maanaveera Naadu will certainly prove this fact. (This is the conviction of the author of this research work.) We will see in another chapter how the kingdom of Gandhappar Raja had been slowly disappearing and suddenly swallowed by a sand storm occurred in the seventeenth century due to a curse, and was buried under a huge sand hill. It was due to this misfortune that for one thousand years the Deiva Nool was unknown to the Christian world. The original record and its original Christian commentaries of Gandhappar Raja and the scholars of his successors might have been buried under the sand hill. Actually this sand hill can be viewed now from the top of the sand hill north of Peria Thaazhai in the district of Thiruchendur Taluk, Tuticorin District, Tamil Nadu.
 
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1.  Thudisai Kizhaar A. Chidambaranaar “The history of Tamil Sangam” Page, 101.
2.  N. Krishnamoorti “Saint Thiruvalluvar and his message of life as Dharma” Page,10.                                                                     
3.  Arch Bishop Dr. R. Arulappa “Thirukkural Putthaivu” Page, x.
4. Cfr. R. P. Sethuppillai “Thiruvalluvar Noolnayam” page, 10.   
5. A. Chidambaranaar ibid. Page, 119.
6. Catholic commentary on Holy Scripture No. 146g, Page, 18
7.  R.P. Sethuppillai ibid. Page, 10, 11.
8. The Siva Siddhanda Printers’ Association, in the Printers’ word for “The Parimelazhagarurai”
 Page, 1.                                                                                                                                                         
9.  N. Krishnamoorthy. ibid. Page 103: R.P. Sethuppillai Ibid. Page, 112, 118, 120, 124.                                                                                                                                              
10. Cfr. Parimelazgagarurai Page, 533.                                                                                                  11. Cfr. ibid. Research Introduction Page, 3. 
12. Ibid. Appendix 1, Nakkeerar.
13. Ibid, Appendix 1, Thodithalai Vizhuthandinaar.
14. “The Book of Thomas the contender” Translated by John D. Turner,         Source: www.prophecy.worthyofpraise.org
15. City of God ibid. Vol IV Nos. 47, 48.                                                                                                  16. History of St. Thomas mount, Madras 16, page, 15.
17. Krishna Moorti ibid. Page, 107
18. R. P. Sethuppillai ibid. Page, 112.                                              
19. R. P. Sethuppillai ibid. Page, 131,134. Ref. Verse No. 501. (Parimelazhagar. Page, 193. Commenting on Verse No. 501) 

            


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MIRACLES OF ST. THOMAS AT PERIATHALAI
 
          This is the first of the miracles which St. Thomas performed immediately after baptizing Gandhappar Raja and his brother Gaathiappar together with those in the King’s court at kanakkankudiyiruppu. On the very night Our Lord appeared to St. Thomas and told him to go along the eastern road towards Periathlai, that he may perform a miracle there, in order to show His glory and to bring to light the nature and power of devil, the enemy, to the newly converted Christians. We find this and the following miracles recorded in the Acts of St. Thomas.
 
 
Act the Third: Concerning the vision of Jesus. (No. 28, 29)
 
 
 
            “And the apostle ceased not to preach and to say unto them: Ye men and women, boys and girls, young men and maidens, strong men and aged, whether bond or free, abstain from fornication and covetousness and the service of the belly: for under these three heads all iniquity cometh about. For fornication blindeth the mind and darkeneth the eyes of the soul, and is an impediment to the life (conversation) of the body, turning the whole man unto weakness and casting the whole body into sickness. And greed putteth the soul into fear and shame; being within the body it seizeth upon the goods of others, and is under fear lest if it restores other men’s goods to their owner it be put to shame. And the service of the belly casteth the soul into thoughts and cares and vexations, taking thought lest it come to be in want, and have need of those things that are far from it. If, then, ye be rid of these ye become free of care and grief and fear, and that abideth with you which was said by the Saviour: Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Remember also that word of him of whom I spake: Look at the ravens and see the fowls of the heaven that they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and God dispenseth unto them; how much more unto you, O ye of little faith? But look ye for his coming and have your hope in him and believe on his name. For he is the judge of quick and dead, and he giveth to everyone according to their deeds, and at his coming and his latter appearing no man hath any word of excuse when he is to be judged by him, as though he had not heard. For his heralds do proclaim in the four quarters (climates) of the world. Repent ye, therefore, and believe the promise and receive the yoke of meekness and the light burden, that ye may live and not die. These things get, these keep. Come forth of the darkness that the light may receive you! Come unto him that is indeed good, that ye may receive grace of him and implant his sign in your souls.
 
And when he had thus spoken, some of them that stood by said: It is time for the creditor to receive the debt. And he said unto them: He that is lord of the debt desireth always to receive more; but let us give him that which is due. And he blessed them, and took bread and oil and herbs and salt and blessed and gave unto them; but he himself continued his fast, for the Lord’s Day was coming on (Syr. And he himself ate, because the Sunday was dawning).
 
 
And when night fell and he slept, the Lord came and stood at his head, saying: Thomas, rise early, and having blessed them all, after the prayer and the ministry go by the eastern road two miles and there will I show thee my glory: for by thy going shall many take refuge with me, and thou shalt bring to light the nature and power of the enemy. And he rose up from sleep and said unto the brethren that were with him: Children, the Lord would accomplish somewhat by me to-day, but let us pray, and entreat of him that we may have no impediment toward him, but that as at all times, so now also it may be done according to his desire and will by us. And having so said, he laid his hands on them and blessed them, and brake the bread of the Eucharist and gave it them, saying: This Eucharist shall be unto you for compassion and mercy, and not unto judgment and retribution. And they said Amen.”
 

 
THE DRAGON AND THE YOUNG MAN
 
 
        After saying Mass at Kanakkankudiyiruppu St. Thomas took with him Gandhappar Raja (Peter), Gaathiyappar Raja (Paul), King Gondophernes (Zantipus) and a great multitude of people, and proceeded towards Periathalai. On the way, after walking about two miles away, the Saint deviated form the road and took them into a forest. There he saw the dead body of a young man whose body was all blue in colour as if smitten by a poisonous serpent. While all were surprisingly gazing at the young man with pity and fear, there broke out a roaring noise and a great black dragon emerged out of a cave.
 
 
 
          St. Thomas calmed the people who began to run away, and accosted the dragon seeking the cause of the young man’s death. The dragon replied that the youth was found committing the sin of fornication, and therefore it smote and slew him. But the Apostle raising his voice said: “you shameless creature, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ, that you suck out the poison which you have put into this young man and take it from him.”  And the dragon came near and sucked forth the poison out of him. And little by little the colour of the young man became white. And when the dragon had drawn up all the poison into itself, the young man got up and stood, and fell at the apostle’s feet: but the dragon swelled up, burst and died, and its venom and poison were shed forth; and in the place where its venom was shed there appeared a great gulf, and that dragon was swallowed up therein. And the apostle said unto the king (Gandhappar Raja) and his brother (Gaathiappar Raja): “Take enough workmen and fill up that gulf, and lay foundations and build houses upon them, that strangers may come and settle there.” 
          The young man entreated the Apostle to forgive him because he fell into the sin of fornication by the provocation of the same dragon, but he revealed in front of the multitude that he saw Jesus Christ by the side of the Apostle while he was raised to life. And therefore the young man requested the Saint to instruct him how to behold Jesus and be with him always. St. Thomas, as an answer to this question, gave out a beautiful sermon on Christian perfection while he was leading the multitude towards the port city of Periathalai.
          Now let us read the full detail of this miracle from the third Act of Thomas.
 
Act the Third: concerning the serpent. (No. 30 to 38)
 
“And the apostle went forth to go where the Lord had bidden him; and when he was near to the second mile (stone) and had turned a little out of the way, he saw the body of a comely youth lying, and said: Lord, is it for this that thou hast brought me forth, to come hither that I might see this (trial) temptation? thy will therefore be done as thou desirest. And he began to pray and to say: O Lord, the judge of quick (living) and dead, of the quick that stand by and the dead that lie here, and master and father of all things; and father not only of the souls that are in bodies but of them that have gone forth of them, for of the souls also that are in pollutions (al. bodies) thou art lord and judge; come thou at this hour wherein I call upon thee and show forth thy glory upon him that lieth here. And he turned himself unto them that followed him and said: This thing is not come to pass without cause, but the enemy hath effected it and brought it about that he may assault (?) us thereby; and see ye that he hath not made use of another sort, nor wrought through any other creature save that which is his subject.
“And when he had so said, a great (Syr. black) serpent (dragon) came out of a hole, beating with his head and shaking his tail upon the ground, and with (using) a loud voice said unto the apostle: I will tell before thee the cause wherefore I slew this man, since thou art come hither for that end, to reprove my works. And the apostle said: Yea, say on. And the serpent: There is a certain beautiful woman in this village over against us; and as she passed by me (or my place) I saw her and was enamored of her, and I followed her and kept watch upon her; and I found this youth kissing her, and he had intercourse with her and did other shameful acts with her: and for me it was easy to declare them before thee, for I know that thou art the twin brother of the Christ and always abolishest our nature (Syr. easy for me to say, but to thee I do not dare to utter them because I know that the ocean-flood of the Messiah will destroy our nature): but because I would not affright her, I slew him not at that time, but waited for him till he passed by in the evening and smote and slew him, and especially because he adventured to do this upon the Lord’s day.
“And the apostle inquired of him, saying: Tell me of what seed and of what race thou art. And he said unto him: I am a reptile of the reptile nature and noxious son of the noxious father: of him that hurt and smote the four brethren which stood upright (om. Syr.: the elements or four cardinal points may be meant) I am son to him that sitteth on a throne over all the earth that receiveth back his own from them that borrow: I am son to him that girdeth about the sphere: and I am kin to him that is outside the ocean, whose tail is set in his own mouth: I am he that entered through the barrier (fence) into paradise and spake with Eve the things which my father bade me speak unto her: I am he that kindled and inflamed Cain to kill his own brother, and on mine account did thorns and thistles grow up in the earth: I am he that cast down the angels from above and bound them in lusts after women, that children born of earth might come of them and I might work my will in them: I am he that hardened Pharaoh’s heart that he should slay the children of Israel and enslave them with the yoke of cruelty: I am he that caused the multitude to err in the wilderness when they made the calf: I am he that inflamed Herod and enkindled Caiaphas unto false accusation of a lie before Pilate; for this was fitting to me: I am he that stirred up Judas and bribed him to deliver up the Christ: I am he that inhabiteth and holdeth the deep of hell (Tartarus), but the Son of God hath wronged me, against my will, and taken (chosen) them that were his own from me: I am kin to him that is to come from the east, unto whom also power is given to do what he will upon the earth.
 
“And when that serpent had spoken these things in the hearing of all the people, the apostle lifted up his voice on high and said: Cease thou henceforth, O most shameless one, and be put to confusion and die wholly, for the end of thy destruction is come, and dare not to tell of what thou hast done by them that have become subject unto thee. And I charge thee in the name of that Jesus who until now contendeth with you for the men that are his own, that thou suck out thy venom which thou hast put into this man, and draw it forth and take it from him. But the serpent said: Not yet is the end of our time come as thou hast said. Wherefore compellest thou me to take back that which I have put into this man, and to die before my time? for mine own father, when he shall draw forth and suck out that which he hath cast into the creation, then shall his end come. And the apostle said unto him: Show, then, now the nature of thy father. And the serpent came near and set his mouth upon the wound of the young man and sucked forth the gall out of it. And by little and little the colour of the young man which was as purple, became white, but the serpent swelled up. And when the serpent had drawn up all the gall into himself, the young man leapt up and stood, and ran and fell at the apostle’s feet: but the serpent being swelled up, burst and died, and his venom and gall were shed forth; and in the place where his venom was shed there came a great gulf, and that serpent was swallowed up therein. And the apostle said unto the king and his brother: Take workmen and fill up that place, and lay foundations and build houses upon them, that it may be a dwelling-place for strangers.
 
 
 
“But the youth said unto the apostle with many tears: Wherein have I sinned against thee? for thou art a man that hast two forms, and where so ever thou wilt, there thou art found, and art restrained of no man, as I behold. For I saw that man that stood by thee and said unto thee: I have many wonders to show forth by thy means and I have great works to accomplish by thee, for which thou shalt receive a reward; and thou shalt make many to live, and they shall be in rest in light eternal as children of God. Do thou then, saith he, speaking unto thee of me, quicken this youth that hath been stricken of the enemy and be at all times his overseer. Well, therefore, art thou come hither, and well shalt thou depart again unto him, and yet he never shall leave thee at any time. But I am become without care or reproach: and he hath enlightened me from the care of the night and I am at rest from the toil of the day: and I am set free from him that provoked me to do thus, sinning against him that taught me to do contrary thereto: and I have lost him that is the kinsman of the night that compelled me to sin by his own deeds, and have found him that is of the light, and is my kinsman. I have lost him that darkeneth and blindeth his own subjects that they may not know what they do and, being ashamed at their own works, may depart from him, and their works come to an end; and have found him whose works are light and his deeds truth, which if a man doeth he repenteth not of them. And I have left him with whom lying abideth, and before whom darkness goeth as a veil, and behind him followeth shame, shameless in indolence; and I have found him that showeth me fair things that I may take hold on them, even the son of the truth that is akin unto concord, who scattereth away the mist and enlighteneth his own creation, and healeth the wounds thereof and overthroweth the enemies thereof. But I beseech thee, O man of God, cause me to behold him again, and to see him that is now become hidden from me, that I may also hear his voice whereof I am not able to express the wonder, for it belongeth not to the nature of this bodily organ.
 
[Before this speech Syr. (Wright) inserts one of equal length, chiefly about man’s free will and fall. But the fifth-century palimpsest edited by Mrs. Lewis agrees with the Greek.]
 
“And the apostle answered him, saying: If thou depart from these things where of thou hast received knowledge, as thou hast said, and if thou know who it is that hath wrought this in thee, and learn and become a hearer of him whom now in thy fervent love thou seekest; thou shalt both see him and be with him forever, and in his rest shalt thou rest, and shalt be in his joy. But if thou be slackly disposed toward him and turn again unto thy former deeds, and leave that beauty and that bright countenance which now was showed thee, and forget the shining of his light which now thou desirest, not only wilt thou be bereaved of this life but also of that which is to come and thou wilt depart unto him whom thou saidst thou hadst lost, and will no more behold him whom thou saidst thou hadst found.
 
“And when the apostle had said this, he went into the city holding the hand of that youth, and saying unto him: These things which thou hast seen, my child, are but a few of the many which God hath, for he doth not give us good tidings concerning these things that are seen, but greater things than these doth he promise us; but so long as we are in the body we are not able to speak and show forth those which he shall give unto our souls. If we say that he giveth us light, it is this which is seen, and we have it: and if we say it of wealth, which is and appeareth in the world, we name it (we speak of something which is in the world, Syr.), and we need it not, for it hath been said: Hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven: and if we speak of apparel of raiment wherewith they that are luxurious in this life are clad, it is named (we mention something that nobles wear, Syr.), and it hath been said: They that wear soft raiment are in the houses of kings. And if of costly banquets, concerning these we have received a commandment to beware of them, not to be weighed down With reveling and drunkenness and cares of this life -speaking of things that are- and it hath been said: Take no thought for your life (soul), what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, neither for your body, what ye shall put on, for the soul is more than the meat and the body than the raiment. And of rest, if we speak of this temporal rest, a judgment is appointed for this also. But we speak of the world which is above, of God and angels, of watchers and holy ones of the immortal (ambrosial) food and the drink of the true vine, of raiment that endureth and groweth not old, of things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of sinful men, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Of these things do we converse and of these do we bring good tidings. Do thou therefore also believe on him that thou mayest live, and put thy trust in him, and thou shalt not die. For he is not persuaded with gifts, that thou shouldest offer them to him, neither is he in need of sacrifices, that thou shouldest sacrifice unto him. But look thou unto him, and he will not overlook thee; and turn unto him, and he will not forsake thee. For his comeliness and his beauty will make thee wholly desirous to love him: and indeed he permitteth thee not to turn thyself away.
 
“And when the apostle had said these things unto that youth, a great multitude joined themselves unto them. And the apostle looked and saw them raising themselves on high that they might see him, and they were going up into high places; and the apostle said unto them: Ye men that are come unto the assembly of Christ, and would believe on Jesus, take example hereby, and see that if ye be not lifted up, ye cannot see me who am little, and are not able to spy me out who am like unto you. If, then, ye cannot see me who am like you unless ye lift yourselves up a little from the earth, how can ye see him that dwelleth in the height and now is found in the depth, unless ye first lift yourselves up out of your former conversation, and your unprofitable deeds, and your desires that abide not, and the wealth that is left here, and the possession of earth that groweth old, and the raiment that corrupteth, and the beauty that waxeth old and vanisheth away, and yet more out of the whole body wherein all these things are stored up, and which groweth old and becometh dust, returning unto its own nature? For it is the body which maintaineth all these things. But rather believe on our Lord Jesus Christ, whom we preach, that your hope may be in him and in him ye may have life world without end that he may become your fellow traveler in this land of error, and may be to you a harbour in this troublous sea. And he shall be to you a fountain springing up in this thirsty land and a chamber fill of food in this place of them that hunger, and a rest unto your souls, yea, and a physician for your bodies.
 
“Then the multitude of them that were gathered together hearing these things wept, and said unto the apostle: O man of God, the God whom thou preachest, we dare not say that we are his, for the works which we have done are alien unto him and not pleasing to him; but if he will have compassion on us and pity us and save us, overlooking our former deeds, and will set us free from the evils which we committed being in error, and not impute them unto us nor make remembrance of our former sins, we will become his servants and will accomplish his will unto the end. And the apostle answered them and said: He reckoneth not against you, neither taketh account of the sins which ye committed being in error, but overlooketh your transgressions which ye have done in ignorance.
 
 
THE MIRACLE OF THE COLT
 
 
        As they were approaching the Port City of Periathalai, while St. Thomas speaking to the crowd, all of a sudden a colt came and stood in front of him. St. Thomas perceived the will of God and asked the colt to open his mouth and speak. And the colt spoke by the power of God and said: “O Apostle of the Most High! You have come here that the people in the land of the Indians may find the true light and life everlasting. Mount and sit upon me and rest yourself until you enter into the City.”
 
 
          The Apostle mounted and sat upon the colt, and the multitude followed him before and after. When they reached the City gate, the saint dismounted from the colt, and bade him go on his way. But the colt fell at the feet of the Apostle and died.
        Thus it was God’s will that an animal came to declare St. Thomas as the Apostle who brought Salvation to the land of the Indians, and to teach us a lesson how good it is to die at the service  of the Apostle of the Most high.
 
        A graphic description of this miracle is found in the Acts of Thomas as follows.
 
The Fourth Act: concerning the colt. (No. 39 to41)
 
“And while the apostle yet stood in the highway and spake with the multitude, A she ass’s colt came and stood before him (Syr. adds, And Judas said: It is not without the direction of God that this colt has come hither. But to thee I say, O colt that by the grace of our Lord there shall be given to thee speech before these multitudes who are standing here; and do thou say whatsoever thou wilt, that they may believe in the God of truth whom we preach. And the mouth of the colt was opened, and it spake by the power of our Lord and said to him) and opened its mouth and said: Thou twin of Christ, apostle of the Most High and initiate in the hidden word of Christ who receivest his secret oracles, fellow worker with the Son of God, who being free hast become a bondman, and being sold hast brought many into liberty. Thou kinsman of the great race that hath condemned the enemy and redeemed his own, that hast become an occasion of life unto man in the land of the Indians; for thou hast come (against thy will, Syr.) unto men that were in error, and by thy appearing and thy divine words they are now turning unto the God of truth which sent thee: mount and sit upon me and repose thyself until thou enter into the city. And the apostle answered and said: O Jesu Christ (Son) that understandest the perfect mercy! O tranquility and quiet that now art spoken of (speakest, Syr.) by (among) brute beasts! O hidden rest, that art manifested by thy working, Saviour of us and nourisher, keeping us and resting in alien bodies! O Saviour of our souls! spring that is sweet and unfailing; fountain secure and clear and never polluted; defender and helper in the fight of thine own servants, turning away and scaring the enemy from us, that fightest in many battles for us and makest us conquerors in all; our true and undefeated champion (athlete); our holy and victorious captain: glorious and giving unto thine own a joy that never passeth away, and a relief wherein is none affliction; good shepherd that givest thyself for thine own sheep, and hast vanquished the wolf and redeemed thine own lambs and led them into a good pasture: we glorify and praise thee and thine invisible Father and thine holy spirit [and] the mother of all creation.
 
“And when the apostle had said these things, all the multitude that were there looked upon him, expecting to hear what he would answer to the colt. And the apostle stood a long time as it were astonished, and looked up into heaven and said to the colt: Of whom art thou and to whom belongest thou? for marvelous are the things that are shown forth by thy mouth, and amazing and such as are hidden from the many. And the colt answered and said: I am of that stock that served Balaam, and thy lord also and teacher sat upon one that appertained unto me by race. And I also have now been sent to give thee rest by thy sitting upon me: and (that) I may receive (Syr. these may be confirmed in) faith, and unto me may be added that portion which now I shall receive by thy service wherewith I serve thee; and when I have ministered unto thee, it shall be taken from me. And the apostle said unto him: He is able who granted thee this gift, to cause it to be fulfilled unto the end in thee and in them that belong unto thee by race: for as to this mystery I am weak and powerless. And he would not sit upon him. But the colt besought and entreated him that he might be blessed of him by ministering unto him. Then the apostle mounted him and sat upon him; and they followed him, some going before and some following after, and all of them ran, desiring to see the end, and how he would dismiss the colt.
 
“But when he came near to the city gates he dismounted from him, saying: Depart, and be thou kept safe where thou wert. And straightway the colt fell to the ground at the apostle’s feet and died. And all they that were present were sorry and said to the apostle: Bring him to life and raise him up. But he answered and said unto them: I indeed am able to raise him by the name of Jesus Christ: but this is by all means expedient (or, this is by any means expedient). For he that gave him speech that he might talk was able to cause that he should not die; and I raise him not, not as being unable, but because this is that which is expedient and profitable for him. And he bade them that were present to dig a trench and bury his body and they did as they were commanded.


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 MIRACLE OF CASTING THE DEVIL OUT OF A WOMAN
 
 
            The Saint came into the Port City of Periathalai and saw a woman possessed with many devils. She fell on the ground and was frightfully rolling all over, crying with a loud voice she asked the Saint: “O Apostle of Jesus Christ! Why do you torment us? Have you come to cast us out?” Without answering the question the Apostle asked: “How many of you who dwell in this woman?” The demon answered: “Five hundred!” Immediately he ordered: “In the Name of Jesus Christ, depart from this woman, you Satan!”, and blessed her with the sign of the Cross. Hearing this, the demon left her with a loud cry: “All right I go, but I will possess another woman higher in position who is far away from here, and I shall encounter you there.”
 
              Immediately the woman rose up and stood peacefully, praising God and thanking St. Thomas, who blessed her and said as if foretelling her future: “May the Grace of the Blessed Virgin Mary remain with you and your generations for ever.”  This woman followed the saint asking for more instruction and for baptism. When the Apostle and others came back to Kanakkankuditiruppu, there appeared miraculously a spring flowing with sweet water, and with this miraculous water St. Thomas baptized the woman and named her ‘Maria Kirubai’. This miracle has been recorded  by  Fr. Motha  Vaz  in  his  book  ‘The  History  of  St. Thomas’ Page 7.
 
          The miracle narrated above has been recorded in the Acts of Thomas as follows.
 
 
The Fifth Act: concerning the devil that took up his abode in the woman. (No. 42 to 50)
 
 
“And the apostle entered into the city and all the multitude followed him. And he thought to go unto the parents of the young man whom he had made alive when he was slain by the serpent: for they earnestly besought him to come unto them and enter into their house. But a very beautiful woman on a sudden uttered an exceeding loud cry, saying: O Apostle of the new God that art come into India, and servant of that holy and only good God; for by thee is he preached, the Saviour of the souls that come unto him, and by thee are healed the bodies of them that are tormented by the enemy, and thou art he that is become an occasion of life unto all that turn unto him: command me to be brought before thee that I may tell thee what hath befallen me, and peradventure of thee I may have hope, and these that stand by thee may be more confident in the God whom thou preachest. For I am not a little tormented by the adversary now this five years’ space [one Greek MS. And the apostle bade her come unto him, and the woman stood before him and said: I, O servant of him that is indeed God am a woman: the rest have, As a woman] I was sitting at the first in quiet, and peace encompassed me on every side and I had no care for anything, for I took no thought for any other. And it fell out one day that as I came out from the bath there met me a man troubled and disturbed, and his voice and speech seemed to me exceeding faint and dim; and he stood before me and said: I and thou will be in one love and we will have intercourse together as a man with his wife; And I answered and said to him: I never had to do with my betrothed, for I refused to marry, and how shall I yield myself to thee that wouldest have intercourse with me in adulterous wise? And having so said, I passed on, and I said to my handmaid that was with me: Sawest thou that youth and his shamelessness, how boldly he spake with me, and had no shame? but she said to me: I saw an old man speaking to thee. And when I was in mine house and had dined my soul suggested unto me some suspicion and especially because he was seen of me in two forms; and having this in my mind I fell asleep. He came, therefore, in that night and was joined unto me in his foul intercourse. And when it was day I saw him and fled from him, and on the night following that he came and abused me; and now as thou seest me I have spent five years being troubled by him, and he hath not departed from me. But I know and am persuaded that both devils and spirits and destroyers are subject unto thee and are filled with trembling at thy prayers: pray thou therefore for me and drive away from me the devil that ever troubleth me, that I also may be set free and be gathered unto the nature that is mine from the beginning, and receive the grace that hath been given unto my kindred.
 
“And the apostle said: O evil that cannot be restrained! O shamelessness of the enemy! O envious one that art never at rest! O hideous one that subduest the comely! O thou of many forms! As he will he appeareth, but his essence cannot be changed. O the crafty and faithless one! O the bitter tree whose fruits are like unto him! O the devil that overcometh them that are alien to him! O the deceit that useth impudence! O the wickedness that creepeth like a serpent, and that is of his kindred! (Syr. wrongly adds a clause bidding the devil show himself.) And when the apostle said this, the malicious one came and stood before him, no man seeing him save the woman and the apostle, and with an exceeding loud voice said in the hearing of all: What have we to do with thee, thou apostle of the Most High! What have we to do with thee, thou servant of Jesus Christ? What have we to do with thee, thou counsellor of the holy Son of God? Wherefore wilt thou destroy us, whereas our time is not yet come? Wherefore wilt thou take away our power? for unto this hour we had hope and time remaining to us. What have we to do with thee? Thou hast power over thine own, and we over ours. Wherefore wilt thou act tyrannously against us, when thou thyself teachest others not to act tyrannously? Wherefore dost thou crave other men’s goods and not suffice thyself with thine own? Wherefore art thou made like unto the Son of God which hath done us wrong? for thou resemblest him altogether as if thou wert born of him. For we thought to have brought him under the yoke like as we have the rest, but he turned and made us subject unto him: for we knew him not; but he deceived us with his form of all uncomliness and his poverty and his neediness: for seeing him to be such, we thought that he was a man wearing flesh, and knew not that it is he that giveth life unto men. And he gave us power over our own, and that we should not in this present time leave them but have our walk in them: but thou wouldest get more than thy due and that which was given thee, and afflict us altogether.
 
“And having said this the devil wept, saying: I leave thee, my fairest consort, whom long since I found and rested in thee; I forsake thee, my sure sister, my beloved in whom I was well pleased. What I shall do I know not, or on whom I shall call that he may hear me and help me. I know what I will do: I will depart unto some place where the report of this man hath not been heard, and peradventure I shall call thee, my beloved by another name (Syr. for thee my beloved I shall find a substitute). And he lifted up his voice and said: Abide in peace for thou hast taken refuge with one greater than I, but I will depart and seek for one like thee, and if I find her not, I will return unto thee again: for I know that whilst thou art near unto this man thou hast a refuge in him, but when he departeth thou wilt be such as thou wast before he appeared, and him thou wilt forget, and I shall have opportunity and confidence: but now I fear the name of him that hath saved thee. And having so said the devil vanished out of sight: only when he departed fire and smoke were seen there: and all that stood there were astonished.
 
“And the apostle seeing it, said unto them: This devil hath shown nought that is alien or strange to him, but his own nature, wherein also he shall be consumed, for verily the fire shall destroy him utterly and the smoke of it shall be scattered abroad. And he began to say:
 
“Jesu, the hidden mystery that hath been revealed unto us, thou art he that hast shown unto us many mysteries; thou that didst call me apart from all my fellows and spakest unto me three (one, Syr.) words wherewith I am inflamed, and am not able to speak them unto others. Jesu, man that wast slain, dead buried! Jesu, God of God, Saviour that quickenest the dead, and healest the sick! Jesu that wert in need like and savest as one that hath no need, that didst catch the fish for the breakfast and the dinner and madest all satisfied with a little bread. Jesu that didst rest from the weariness of wayfaring like a man, and walkest on the waves like a God. Jesu most high, voice arising from perfect mercy, Saviour of all, the right hand of the light, overthrowing the evil one in his own nature, and gathering all his nature into one place; thou of many forms, that art only begotten, first-born of many brethren God of the Most High God, man despised until now (Syr. and humble). Jesu Christ that neglectest us not when we call upon thee, that art become an occasion of life unto all mankind, that for us wast judged and shut up in prison, and loosest all that are in bonds, that wast called a deceiver and redeemest thine own from error: I beseech thee for these that stand here and believe on thee, for they entreat to obtain thy gifts, having good hope in thy help, and having their refuge in thy greatness; they hold their hearing ready to listen unto the words that are spoken by us. Let thy peace come and tabernacle in them and renew them from their former deeds, and let them put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new that now is proclaimed unto them by me.
 
“And he laid his hands on them and blessed them, saying: The grace Eucharist and to call upon thine holy name: come thou and communicate unto us (Syr. adds more).
 
“And he began to say: Come, O perfect compassion, Come O communion of the male, Come, she that knoweth the mysteries of him that is chosen, Come, she that hath part in all the combats of the noble champion (athlete), Come, the silence that revealeth the great things of the whole greatness, Come, she that manifesteth the hidden things and maketh the unspeakable things plain, the holy dove that beareth the twin young, Come, the hidden mother, Come, she that is manifest in her deeds and giveth joy and rest unto them that are joined unto her: Come and communicate with us in this Eucharist which we celebrate in thy name and in the love-feast wherein we are gathered together at thy calling. (Syr. has other clauses and not few variants.) And having so said he marked out the cross upon the bread, and brake it, and began to distribute it. And first he gave unto the woman, saying: This shall be unto thee for remission of sins and eternal transgressions (Syr. and for the everlasting resurrection). And after her he gave unto all the others also which had received the seal (Syr. and said to them: Let this Eucharist be unto you for life and rest, and not for judgment and vengeance. And they said, Amen”. Cf. 29 fin.).
 

THE MIRACLE OF ST. THOMAS AT MANPPADU CAVE
 

        During his stay at Manappadu St. Thomas built a church in the spot where the flagstaff of the Holy Ghost church stands now. Here he ordained many priests and deacons, and from here he sent them to all the places which he had already evangelized. And it is in the cave of Manappadu that the great miracle narrated by Fr. Motha Vaz happened1 although he does not locate this miracle as happened in Manapadu. One day the Saint was saying mass for a group of people at the cave. As the faithful were receiving Holy Communion, a young man came to receive Communion. But suddenly it became impossible for him to open his mouth. Then he stretched out his hands. Immediately both of his hands became crippled and white with leprosy.
 
 
              Shocked at the sight, the Apostle was bewildered and said: “Young man! The Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ heal everybody. But why this evil has happened to you? There must be some grave reason for this. Tell me what you have done.” The young man became extremely perplexed with fear and distress. He could not speak a word, but was weeping and shedding copious tears with shame and sorrow. The whole crowd was watching with fear and trembling. St. Thomas with his thumb moistened with saliva, blessed his mouth with the sign of the Cross and said: “Young man! In the name of my Lord and my God, Open your mouth and speak!” Now with trembling voice he spoke in front of the crowd: “Two days ago I made up my mind to kill my innocent wife, due to unreasonable suspicion on her fidelity. And fully drunk, I went home and mercilessly attacked her with an iron rod and ran away. This morning when I came home I found her still gasping, and out of fear I came to hide myself in the cave.”
 
       Saying this, the young man confessed all his sins in front of the people, and with tears he begged of the Saint and the people to pray God to pardon him. The Apostle, after absolving him from his sins, took a bucket of water from the miraculous spring of the cave, blessed it with the sign of the Cross and asked him to wash his hands in it. The young man immersed his hands into the water, and immediately his hands were healed! Then the Saint led the crowd with him to his house. Hearing the news, the whole village gathered around the house. When they opened the house, the young woman was found dead! She was very young and beautiful.
 
       The whole crowd was weeping and the Saint also was moved with pity and tender mercy. He asked the corpse to be brought out in front of the crowd. They brought the body out and placed it on a bed. St. Thomas stretched out his hands towards heaven and prayed in a loud voice: “Hear our humble prayer O my Lord and my God Jesus Christ! In order that those who are gathered here may praise Thy Holy Name, and that they may attain eternal life by having confidence in Thee, give life to this dead young woman!” Then he turned to the young man and taught him: “Turn your heart to God. Place your confidence in Him. Go to your wife and say that you have killed her, but the Lord and God Jesus raises her on behalf of your faith in Him, and ask her to rise!” The young man approached the corpse and said: “O Lord Jesus Christ! Truly I have confidence in Thee” And turning towards the Apostle he said: “O holy Apostle! Pray for me,” and then he raised his wife by her hands.
 
        O what a marvelous miracle! The young woman rose and stood up as if she were awake from sleep! She looked around and was surprised to see the crowd. And when she saw the Apostle, rushed to him and prostrated at his feet together with her husband, thanking him and praising God Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Saint blessed them and said: “Dear Children, God has shown you great mercy. Be happy and sin no more.” All those who witnessed this miracle, believed in Jesus, received baptism and gave the Apostle plenty of offerings to be distributed to the poor.           
 
The original narrative of this miracle, as found in the Act of Thomas, is given below.
 
 
 


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The Sixth Act:  Of the youth that murdered the Woman. (Nos 51 to 61)
 
 
“Now there was a certain youth who had wrought an abominable deed, and he came near and received of the Eucharist with his mouth: but his two hands withered up, so that he could no more put them unto his own mouth. And they that were there saw him and told the apostle what had befallen; and the apostle called him and said unto him: Tell me, my child, and be not ashamed, what was it that thou didst and camest hither? for the Eucharist of the Lord hath convicted thee. For this gift which passeth among many doth rather heal them that with faith and love draw near thereto, but thee it hath withered away; and that which is come to pass hath not befallen without some effectual cause. And the Youth, being convicted by the Eucharist of the Lord, came and fell at the apostle’s feet and besought him, saying: I have done an evil deed, yet I thought to do somewhat good. I was enamored of a woman that dwelleth at an inn without the city, and she also loved me; and when I heard of thee and believed, that thou proclaimest a living God, I came and received of thee the seal with the rest; for thou saidst: Whosoever shall partake in the polluted union, and especially in adultery, he shall not have life with the God whom I preach. Whereas therefore I loved her much, I entreated her and would have persuaded her to become my consort in chastity and pure conversation, which thou also teachest: but she would not. When, therefore, she consented not, I took a sword and slew her: for I could not endure to see her commit adultery with another man.
 
“When the apostle heard this he said: O insane union how ruinest thou unto shamelessness! O unrestrained lust, how hast thou stirred up this man to do this! O work of the serpent, how art thou enraged against thine own! And the apostle bade water to be brought to him in a basin; and when the water was brought, he said: Come, ye waters from the living waters, that were sent unto us, the true from the true, the rest that was sent unto us from the rest, the power of salvation that cometh from that power which conquereth all things and subdueth them unto its own will: come and dwell in these waters, that the gift of the Holy Ghost may be perfectly consummated in them. And he said unto the youth: Go wash thy hands in these waters. And when he had washed they were restored; and the apostle said unto him: Believest thou in our Lord Jesus Christ that he is able to do all things? And he said: Though I be the least, yet I believe. But I committed this deed thinking that I was doing somewhat good: for I besought her as I told thee, but she would not obey me, to keep herself chaste.
 
“And the apostle said to him: Come; let us go unto the inn where thou didst commit this deed. And the youth went before the apostle in the way, and when they came to the inn they found her lying dead. And the apostle when he saw her was sorry, for she was a comely girl. And he commanded her to be brought into the midst of the inn: and they laid her on a bed and brought her forth and set her down in the midst of the court of the inn. And the apostle laid his hand upon her and began to say: Jesu, who always showest thyself unto us; for this is thy will, that we should at all times seek thee, and thyself hast given us this power, to ask and to receive, and hast not only permitted this, but hast taught us to pray: who art not seen of our bodily eyes, but art never hidden from the eyes of our soul, and in thine aspect art concealed, but in thy works art manifested unto us: and in thy many acts we have known thee so far as we are able, and thyself hast given us thy gifts without measure, saying: Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you: we beseech thee, therefore, having the fear (suspicion) of our sins; and we ask of thee, not riches, not gold, not silver, not possessions, not aught else of the things which come of the earth and return again unto the earth; but this we ask of thee and entreat, that in thine holy name thou wouldest raise up the woman that lieth here, by thy power, to the glory and faith of them that stand by.
 
“And he said unto the youth (Syr. ‘Stretch thy mind towards our Lord,’ and he signed him with the cross), having signed (sealed) him: Go and take hold on her hand and say unto her: I with my hands slew thee with iron, and with my hands in the faith of Jesus I raise thee up. So the youth went to her and stood by her, saying: I have believed in thee, Christ Jesu. And he looked unto Judas Thomas the apostle and said to him: Pray for me that my Lord may come to my help, whom I also call upon. And he laid his hand upon her hand and said: Come, Lord Jesu Christ: unto her grant thou life and unto me the earnest of faith in thee. And straightway as he drew her hand she sprang up and sat up, looking upon the great company that stood by. And she saw the apostle also standing over against her, and leaving the bed she leapt forth and fell at his feet and caught hold on his raiment, saying: I beseech thee, my lord where is that other that was with thee, who left me not to remain in that fearful and cruel place, but delivered me unto thee, saying: Take thou this woman, that she may be made perfect, and hereafter be gathered into her place?
 
“And the apostle said unto her: Relate unto us where thou hast been. And she answered: Dost thou who wast with me and unto whom I was delivered desire to hear? And she began to say: [This description of hell-torments is largely derived from the Apocalypse of Peter] A man took me who was hateful to look upon altogether black and his raiment exceedingly foul, and took me away to a place wherein were many pits (chasms), and a great stench and hateful odour issued thence. And he caused me to look into every pit, and I saw in the (first) pit flaming fire and wheels of fire ran round there, and souls were hanged upon those wheels, and were dashed (broken) against each other; and very great crying and howling was there, and there was none to deliver. And that man said to me: These souls are of thy tribe, and when the number of their days is accomplished (lit. in the days of the number) they are (were) delivered unto torment and affliction, and then are others brought in, in their stead, and likewise these into another place. These are they that have reversed the intercourse of male and female. And I looked and saw infants heaped one upon another and struggling with each other as they lay on them. And he answered and said to me: These are the children of those others, and therefore are they set here for a testimony against them. (Syr. omits this clause of the children, and lengthens and dilutes the preceding speech.)
 
“And he took me unto another pit, and I stooped and looked and saw mire and worms welling up, and souls wallowing there, and a great gnashing of teeth was heard thence from them. And that man said unto me: These are the souls of women which forsook their husbands and committed adultery with others, and are brought into this torment. Another pit he showed me where into I stooped and looked and saw souls hanging, some by the tongue, some by the hair, some by the hands, and some head downward by the feet, and tormented (smoked) with smoke and brimstone; concerning whom that man that was with me answered me: The souls which are hanged by the tongue are slanderers, that uttered lying and shameful words, and were not ashamed, and they that are hanged by the hair are unblushing ones which had no modesty and went about in the world bareheaded; and they that are hanged by the hands, these are they that took away and stole other men’s goods, and never gave aught to the needy nor helped the afflicted, but did so, desiring to take all, and had no thought at all of justice or of the law; and they that hang upside down by the feet, these are they that lightly and readily ran in evil ways and disorderly paths, not visiting the sick nor escorting them that depart this life, and therefore each and every soul receiveth that which was done by it. (Syr. omits almost the whole section.)
 
“Again he took me and showed me a cave exceeding dark, breathing out a great stench, and many souls were looking out desiring to get somewhat of the air, but their keepers suffered them not to look forth. And he that was with me said: This is the prison of those souls which thou sawest: for when they have fulfilled their torments for that which each did, thereafter do others succeed them: and there be some that are wholly consumed and (some, Syr.) that are delivered over unto other torments. And they that kept the souls which were in the dark cave said unto the man that had taken me: Give her unto us that we may bring her in unto the rest until the time cometh for her to be delivered unto torment. But he answered them: I give her not unto you, for I fear him that delivered her to me: for I was not charged to leave her here, but I take her back with me until I shall receive order concerning her. And he took me and brought me unto another place wherein were men being sharply tormented (Syr. where men were). And he that was like unto thee took me and delivered me to thee, saying thus to thee: Take her, for she is one of the sheep that have gone astray. And I was taken by thee, and now am I before thee. I beseech thee, therefore, and supplicate that I may not depart unto those places of punishment which I have seen.
 
“And the apostle said: Ye have heard what this woman hath related: and there are not these torments only, but others also, worse than these; and ye, if ye turn not unto this God whom I preach, and abstain from your former works and the deeds which ye committed without knowledge, shall have your end in those torments. Believe therefore on Christ Jesus, and he will forgive you the sins ye have committed hitherto, and will cleanse you from all your bodily lusts that abide on the earth, and will heal you of all your trespasses which follow you and depart with you and are found upon (before) you. Put off therefore every one of you the old man, and put on the new, and forsake your former walk and conversation; and let them that stole steal no more, but live by labouring and working; and let the adulterous no more fornicate, lest they deliver themselves unto eternal torment; for adultery is before God exceeding evil beyond other sins. And put away from you covetousness and lying and drunkenness and slandering, and render not evil for evil: for all these things are strange and alien unto the God who is preached by me: but rather walk ye in faith and meekness and holiness and hope, wherein God delighteth, that ye may become his own, expecting of him the gifts which some few only do receive.
 
“All the people therefore believed and gave their souls obediently unto the living God and Christ Jesus, rejoicing in the blessed works of the Most High and in his holy service. And they brought much money for the service of the widows: for the apostle had them gathered together in the cities, and unto all of them he sent provision by his own ministers (deacons), both clothes and nourishment. And he himself ceased not preaching and speaking to them and showing that this is Jesus Christ whom the scriptures proclaimed, who is come and was crucified, and raised the third day from the dead. And next he showed them plainly, beginning from the prophets, the things concerning the Christ, that it was necessary that he should come, and that in him should be accomplished all things that were foretold of him. And the fame of him went forth into all the cities and countries, and all that had sick or them that were oppressed by unclean spirits brought them, and some they laid in the way whereby he should pass, and he healed them all by the power of the Lord. Then all that were healed by him said with one accord: Glory be to thee, Jesu, who hast granted us all alike healing through thy servant and apostle Thomas. And now being whole and rejoicing, we beseech thee that we may be of thy flock, and be numbered among thy sheep; receive us therefore, Lord, and impute not unto us our transgressions and our former faults which we committed being in ignorance.
 
“And the apostle said: Glory be to the only-begotten of the Father! Glory be to the first-born of many brethren! Glory be to thee, the defender and helper of them that come unto thy refuge! that sleepest not, and awakest them that are asleep that livest and givest life to them that lie in death! O God Jesu Christ, Son of the living God, redeemer and helper, refuge and rest of all that are weary (labour) in thy work, giver of healing to them that for thy name s sake bear the burden and heat of the day: we give thanks for (to) the gifts that are given us of thee and granted us by thy help and thy dispensation that cometh unto us from thee.
 
“Perfect thou therefore these things in us unto the end that we may have the boldness that is in thee: look upon us for thy sake have we forsaken our homes and our parents, and for thy sake have we gladly and willingly become strangers: look upon us, Lord, for we have forsaken our own possessions for thy sake, that we might gain thee the possession that cannot be taken away: look upon us, Lord, for we have forsaken them that belong unto us by race, that we might be joined unto thy kinship: look upon us, Lord, that have forsaken our fathers and mothers and fosters, that we might behold thy Father, and be satisfied with his divine food: look upon us, Lord, for for thy sake have we forsaken our bodily consorts and our earthly fruits, that we might be partakers in that enduring and true fellowship, and bring forth true fruits, whose nature is from above, which no man can take from us, with whom we shall abide and who shall abide with us.
 
 
PREACHING   AT   NILAPPARAI   KURUSUMALAI
 
 
 
 
                 After converting a great multitude of people in Naaraankottai, St. Thomas once again started his journey to Thiruvithankodu. Now the people began to follow him in great number to hear his preaching and witness his miracles. They carried with them all kinds of sick people to be cured by the Apostle. Thus followed by a great multitude, he reached the foot of Kanjomali, now called Kurusumalai at Nilapparai. He wanted to stay there for a few days and preach the gospel to the multitude which followed him there. 
 
Nilaparai+Malai+1.JPG
This place, as mentioned earlier, was a very pleasant site in between two streams, with plenty of trees and fresh air.The Kurusumalai Cave of Nilapparai was the best platform for St. Thomas to preach to the multitude. A huge vertical rock on the western side of the cave served as an echoing device for his voice to be amplified and to reach even the last one in the crowd. Like Our Lord Jesus Christ, St. Thomas was delivering his ‘Sermon on the Mount" at Nilapparai Kurusumalai on that day to more than ten thousand People.
 
             This account and what follows has been recorded by Fr. Motha Vaz in his book ‘The History of St. Thomas’ Pages 15 and 16, though he has made a geographical blunder in locating Kanjomalai somewhere near Kasi (Banares?).1
 

            At the end of the sermon he assembled all that were sick. Raising his eyes towards heaven and spreading his hands over them he prayed: “My Lord and My God Jesus Christ! Thou hast said that Thou wouldst grant us whatever we ask in Thy Name. Behold these miserable people and have mercy on them. I humbly pray that Thou, Jesus Christ the Son of God may grant sight for the blind, hearing for the deaf and healing for all those who are afflicted with various illnesses so that they may all believe in the Name of the Eternal and One God in Three Persons Father, Son and the Holy Ghost.” To this prayer the whole crowd answered: “Amen.”
 
               All of a sudden, the crowd witnessed a great thunder and lightning on the sky! All fell prostrate on the ground and became silent. The Apostle now raised his voice and said: “Rise up my children! God had mercy on you and has healed you all. Let us thank the Lord our God Jesus Christ for his kindness.” All rose up; the sick found themselves cured and the unbelievers believed in Jesus Christ. St. Thomas instructed them for seven days and baptized them all. The number of those baptized, excepting the women and the children were nine thousand. (Fr. Motha Vaz, Ibid Page 15, 16).
 


St.+Thomas+cave+at+Nilaparai.jpg
             Actually the location of Nilapparai Kurusumalai (Kanjomalai) is in the Parish of Azhagappapuram (Tuticorin Diocese), Kanyakumari District, Tamilnadu. St. Thomas found this place with a natural rock cave as a resort or resting place, because of its natural beauty and convenience on his journey to and from Kanakkankudiyiruppu and Thiruvithaankodu.These two towns were the Capital cities of the two Kingdoms namely of Maanaveera Naadu (from Thiruchendur to Cape Comerin) and Venaadu (from Quilon to Cape Comerin). 
 
View+from+Nilapparai+1.JPG
Kanjomalai, now called ‘Barvathaa Malai’ is located in between Marunthuvaazh Malai (Pazhaiya Ettam Madam) and Kaattaadi Malai (Aralvaimozhy or Aaraam Puzhai) of the Western Ghats. From the place where St. Thomas was delivering his sermon on the mount, one could see clearly the rock on which he had erected a pillar at Cape Comerin.
 
 

THE MIRACLE AT THIRUVITHAANKODU
 
 
            After the Sermon on the Mount at Nilapparai, St. Thomas went to Thiruvithaankodu, where he met the King Elaya Raja and asked for a land to build a church. At the order of the king, a plot of twenty one cents was allotted for the construction of the church. According to Professor George Mathew in his Legends about the ‘First Converts’ of St. Thomas, this plot allotted for the church was a forest like place believed to be haunted by evil spirits. Some wood cutters were employed to remove the trees and clean the ground where the Saint wanted to build the church. The ancient people used to say that when sandalwood trees were cut, astonishingly blood was flowing out of them! At this strange phenomenon, the wood cutters were frightened, and one after another fell to the ground fainted. All those who attempted to cut the trees, met with the same fate. The relatives and friends of the woodcutters rushed to the spot and found them all dead.
 
 
 
Ezharaipalli.JPG
            St. Thomas came to the venue, placed his hands on them and prayed: “Omnipotent God, Father of my Lord and my God Jesus Christ! Creator of all men and Giver of life, have mercy on these Thy servants and give them life and raise them alive, so that they may praise Thee by bearing living testimonies to Thy Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ in this Kingdom, so that the place of worship which we are going to build on this spot may be a monument of Thy Kingdom for time immemorial - Amen.” Immediately after this prayer, to the great surprise of all gathered there, the dead persons came back to life! Now the Saint himself took up the axe and cut down a tree. As the tree was falling, three evil spirits appeared in the form of women creating a big noise, and disappeared into three different directions. St. Thomas started the construction of the Church and finished it in the year 36 A.D. He offered Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and administered the Sacraments in this church.2
 
 
 
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            About one kilo meter south of this church, St. Thomas built two cave tombs for him and for his priests, one of which can be seen even now in the present Parish church of “Peria Nayagi Matha Kovil.” The converts of St. Thomas, who were called “Tharisayakkanmar” were settled in two streets situated in between the church and the tombs built by the Saint. This place is even today known by the name “Thariya Theru” From these Tharsayakkanmar, St. Thomas ordained two priests called Yakoob Kasseessa and Alexander Kasseessa, who after their death were buried in the tombs built by ST. Thomas. The rock materials and fashion of these tombs resemble those of the cave cells of Thiruchendur and Manappadu, built by St. Thomas.3
 

           On the spot where St. Thomas had built the church, four centuries later a certain king of Venaadu built the present church. This king wanted to build in Thiruvithancode three places of worship simultaneously i.e., the Palace temple (for Hindus), the ancient Mosque (for Muslims) and the church of St. Thomas (for Christians). This church was constructed with pillars and walls in granite stones, and with a flat roof of stones. The walls are of 2.5 ft thick and have a dimension of 45 ft length and 16 ft width. The sculptural engravings are at par with the palace at Padmanabhapuram in quality and antiquity. In 1123 the church was renovated, the altar was extended and the stone roof was replaced by a Kerala style tiled roof as it appears today.4
 
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PART II
 
(CHAPTER NINE TO FIFTEEN & INDEXES)
 
CONTENTS
 
 
CHAPTER NINE 
THE MONUMENTS OF ST. THOMAS DURING HIS 
FIRST MISSION IN INDIA

CHAPTER TEN
 THE VISIT OF ST. THOMAS TO CEYLON AND CHINA
 
CHAPTER ELEVEN
 THE SECOND VISIT OF ST. THOMAS TO PARTHIA
 
CHAPTER TWELVE
ST. THOMAS AND THE GLORIOUS ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY 
 
CHAPTER THIRTEEN
THE TRANSLATION OF THE RELICS OF ST. THOMAS                                                                        TO EDESSA,  CHIOS, ORTONA AND TO INDIA
    
CHAPTER FOURTEEN
 THE SPREADING OF ST. THOMAS’ CHRISTIANS
 
CHAPTER FIFTEEN
THE DESTRUCTION  OF MAANAVEERA NAADU 
UNDER A HUGE  SAND HILL AND THE                                                                           MIRACULOUS FINDING OF MANAL MATHA KOVIL
 
INDEXES
 
 
 
        
 
 
CHAPTER NINE
 
 

 
THE MONUMENTS OF ST. THOMAS
DURING HIS FIRST MISSION IN SOUTH INDIA
        After composing and presenting the Deiva Nool (Doctrines of St. Thomas), the Saint began his preaching tour in the towns and villages of the South East Coast. This time he went up to Tuticorin (Thoothukudi), and thence to Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari). In those days, Korkai was the biggest sea Port in the East Coast of the Pandian Kingdom. Korkai and Kayal (now Palayakayal) were the Ports situated where the River Thaamira Porunai (now called “Thamirabarani”) reached the sea. Since this part of the South Pandian Kingdom was more fertile than other parts of Maanaveera Naadu, this part of the kingdom to which Korkai was the Capital city, was called Maanaveera Vazhanaadu. Thus in the South East Coast, the important towns and villages were: Korkai, Kayal, Kombuthurai and Thiruchendur in the Maanaveera Vazhanaadu; Manapadu, Periathlai, Kooduthalai and Ovari in the Maanaveera Naadu; and Muttappathi (now Chinna Muttam) and Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari) in the Chera Naadu. Let us now see how St. Thomas preached Christianity in these places and established the Monuments of his First Mission.
JESU KOVIL AND THOMAIYAR KOVIL
       Alex C. Muthiah states: “Just as those converted by St. Thomas in the South West Coast, so those converted by him in the Maanaveera Naadu (which is in the South East Coast) have an equal right to be called St. Thomas’ Christians.”1 This shows that St. Thomas has evangelized not only in the South West Coast, but also in the South East Coast. In this tour of evangelization, St. Thomas visited first Korkai which was famous for Pearl and Sangu fishing, and also famous for manufacturing bracelets and garlands out of Sangu and precious ornaments of pearls. Groups of Westerners including Jews had their settlements in and around Korkai.2 These settlements must have attracted the Apostle, and therefore he also stayed there and preached the gospel. There were two islands, one near the Port of Kayal and another near the Port of Korkai, both inhabited by fishermen of Pearl and Sangu. St. Thomas converted the whole population of these two islands.  And as the marks of this evangelization of the Apostle, we can see even now the church of “Jesu Kovil” near the present Palayakayal and the “Thomaiyar kovil” north side of the present Punnaikayal. Actually these two churches which attract crowds of pilgrims throughout the year even now are the Sacred Monuments of St. Thomas’ Evangelization erected in the Srivaikuntam Taluk during his First Mission. 
THE CAVE CELLS OF THIRUCHENDUR AND MANAPPADU
        Secondly, The Apostle took Manappadu as his centre, and from there he was going to Kombuthurai and Thiruchendur in the north and to Periathalai, Kooduthalai and Ovari in the south. During this tour of evangelization in Thiruchendur Taluk, St. Thomas had founded some cave like hermitages for his followers, namely the priests, deacons, lay brothers and catechists to make solitary or group meditations and retreats. For, these kinds of Spiritual Exercises were necessary for them and for him too to fight against the temptations of the world, of the devil and of the flesh. Some of these followers like Xantipus (King Gondophernes) and Paul (King Gaatthiappar) in their old age chose to remain in these cave cells as Sanyasis or religious monks.
        Therefore St. Thomas founded for him and for his priests several cave cells in the sea shore villages of Thiruchendur and Manappadu, either as places for prayer and meditation or for their own tombs. It is to be noted that cremation was a scandal to the Jews who had their tombs cut on rocks (Ref. Lk. 23: 53 & Jn. 11: 38). So, for fear of being cremated, in accordance with the local custom, St. Thomas (a Jew) and his followers were making ready-made tombs built or cut on rocks. The Manappadu cave was mostly used by the Apostle as a place of prayer and as his dwelling place. And because he wanted to reside there, he had dug a well with a miraculous spring of water inside the cave itself. Even now we can find this well and taste its sweet spring water.
 
manapad+cave.JPG
         H. Sarkar M.A., Superintending Archeologist of the Archeological Survey of India in his Research Article on “A Pandia Rock-Cut Cave at Manappadu on Pearl Fishery Coast” says that this cave was “…intended to be used as a residential cave unlike those excavated in the granite rock.  ...it has a circular well (diam. 3ft. 3in. internally) at the north-eastern corner of the hall or mandapa, a characteristic very much unusual in the rock-cut tradition of the Pallavas and the Pandias.”3
 
manapad+interior.lnk.JPG
        St. Thomas must have lived in this Cave for some years and from there he must have written letters to the various Churches to be read as his epistles. Herman D’Souza says: “It is interesting to note that St. Thomas, as did some of the other Apostles, wrote from India letters which were read in the various Churches where they were received.” He proves this statement by referring to the Syriac work entitled “The Doctrine of the Apostles” and quotes its passages: “After the death of the Apostles, there were Guides and Rulers in the Churches; and whatever the Apostles communicated to them, and (whatever) they had received from them, they taught to the multitudes…also what James had written from Jerusalem and Simon from the City of Rome …and Judas Thomas from India, that the epistle of an Apostle might be received and read in the Churches in every place.”4 Among his doctrines and letters St. Thomas must have certainly quoted his Deiva Nool also, if not passages translated to form part of his letters.
        These cave cells, later in the seventh or ninth centuries, were occupied by some Saivite Sanysis, and then some of the caves were destroyed by sand and sea, and some others are now inside the Murugan Temple at Thiruchendur. The Rock-Cut cave of Manappadu with the drinking water well in it was once again converted into a Catholic church at the time of St. Francis Xavier. H. Sarkar M.A. again says: “It is not unlikely that these caves were used by the Saiva saints (sanyasis). ….An inscribed stone tablet outside, records in English and Tamil that, ‘This cave (once the dwelling of a Saivite Sanyasi) has been sanctified by the prayers and penances of St. Francis Xavier.” It is followed by the Tamil translation of the English text. The last line gives the date 1542-52, evidently the period of St. Xavier’s stay in that area.”5
        H. Sarkar M.A. describes as follows: “The Cave facing eastward is a modest excavation with its opening towards the sea. Excavated to a depth of 32 ft., it is, in the main a pillared hall, measuring 16ft. 4 in x 17 ft. 6 in., having a constricted vestibule (5ft. 6in. x 8ft. 6in.), fronted by a porch (12ft. in breadth) all placed axially…..on the whole the cave appears to be a simple excavation without any shrine cell or embellishments, and in all probability, intended to be used as a residential cave unlike those excavated in the granite rock (Cave Temples).” And he continues, “In the absence of any foundation inscription it is difficult to date the rock-cut cave at Manappadu. Further, its transformation into a Roman Catholic Church has also made the dating on stylistic groups difficult. The excavation in the hardened sandstone and its use as a monk-cell are factors that may connect the Manappadu cave, chronologically and architecturally, with the Thiruchendur ones....although no details in respect of types and materials of structure of any period are available.” Then he concludes, “It is evident from the foregoing that the sandstone caves at Thiruchendur along with the rock excavation at Manappadu constitute a distinct group that might have come into existence, around a sacred spot, as cave resorts of the Sanyasis by about the first half of the ninth century, if not earlier. Of these caves, the one at Manappadu appears to be the most impressive, notwithstanding the fact that it hardly bears any similarity with the granite cave temples of the Pandia Country.” 6
        In the above said official survey, it is clear that these cave cells are not temple caves, and that they possibly belong to a distinct group of caves founded by St. Thomas as cave resorts of Sanyasis, belonging to the first half, not of the seventh or ninth century, but of a much earlier period, i.e. the first century, which was evidently the period of St. Thomas’ stay in that area. 
 


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NILAPPAARAI KURUSUMALAI CAVE MEMORIAL
Nilapparai+Cave.JPG
 Nilappaarai Kurusumalai is a place of importance. There is a cave in which a perennial stream of drinking water was flowing. St. Thomas found this place suitable for rest, contemplation and also a platform to preach to the people gathered around him. He made use of this cave for his contemplation on his knees, so much that the in prints of his knees can be seen there. George the Nestorian visited this place and planted a stone cross in front of the cave. People possessed of devils were healed and crowds of people made pilgrimage to this cave shrine throughout the year. Recently this shrine was developed in to a meditation center and an official shrine of regular devotion of St. Thomas.
Fr. Selva George, who gave shape to this Kurusu Malai in our times as a pilgrim center, testifies the above facts by the following document which is kept in the archives of the author. 
                                                                                     Date: 28 July 2011
 
ST. THOMAS WHO GUIDED ME WITH DIVINE INSPIRATION
 
          The word of God: “A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid” (Mt. 5:14) has been fulfilled in this Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai. I would like to narrate here an extra ordinary experience granted to me when I was the Parish Priest (from 1996 to 2001) at Azhagappapuram in Kanyakumari District.
 
          Nilappaarai a small village of natural beauty, the substation of Azhagappapuram Parish was also called Thirumoola Nagar. In this village there was a church of St. George and a shrine of St. Thomas the Apostle. Every Friday crowds of people come and stay here and obtain many graces. Even from Kerala people come and stay several days and go healed from incurable diseases. To this we testify as eye witnesses.
 
          From the church of Thirumoola Nagar while walking for one kilo meter through a narrow path towards the foot of the mountain, there appears a cave in the Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai.
 
          When I went to visit that place for the first time, I felt as if going through a wild forest. The whole area was covered with thick bushes of thorns and thistles. To reach Kurusu Malai one should pass through three big elephant hauls created by heavy flow of water from the mountain.
       
nilapparai+top.lnk.JPG
          Wonderful was that cave of Kurusu Malai. By the side of it was a clean water spring which was pointing out as it were the mountain at Lourdes. Inside the cave can be seen the knee prints caused by St. Thomas’ stay for a long time in prayer and meditation. When I was contemplating on an inspiration in me to give a shape to this living mountain, a widow from the neighbouring village approached me with her children and asked me permission to erect a tiled shed near that cave for the pilgrims to come and stay. Even after my hesitation regarding the inconvenience of the path way, the lady went away saying: “St. Thomas who appeared to me will help”. Within a month’s time she finished building that Shed. What a wonder! What a joy!
 
          Usually I go to this Cave only in the evening hours. But one Sunday at 2-30 pm, surprisingly enough I was urged by an inspiration to go to Kurusu Malai. Immediately I started and reached there. What was going on there infuriated me. Three young men who were grazing their cattle there had broken the shed built by the widow, and had applied human waste on the water pump which was supplying fresh and sweet drinking water; and had damaged the pipes too.
 
          When I reported this to the village people they brought the three persons, and we took them and the cattle to the village. Immediately those who were related to the event asked pardon and in recompense paid Rs. 10,000.
 
          In the homes of the culprits animals began to die one after another. And they themselves testified that after offering some chicks and so on to St. Thomas as an act of reparation, the misfortune ended. From that time onwards the cattle stopped coming there and the place became as holy as to accommodate only the pilgrims.
 
          One day a young man due to family problem, with an intention of committing suicide, took 20 pain killer tablets in a small bottle and poison, came to Kurusu Malai at 9 pm, swallowed 15 tablets, drank the poison and stretched himself down at the cave. At 3 am a man dressed in white saved him, left him at home and disappeared. The people at home took him to be treated in the hospital and saved his life. He is still bearing testimony of this fact.
 
           Consequently a lady called Theresammal as a thanksgiving for her election as Panchayat President obtained the three phase electric connection without any expense. And Mr. Thalavoy Sundaram M.P. the very next year of making road arrangement to the cave became a minister.
 
Nilapparai+Malai.JPG


          People came in crowds to remove the thorns and thistles and without any expense planted thousands of useful trees.
 
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          Two overhead water tanks, meditation hall, house for the priest, flag staff, a grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, 14 shrines of the way of the cross and a cave of Our Lord’s grave, an eight feet high statue of St. Thomas on the top of the mountain, all these were constructed within two and a half years. This shows that God has stationed St. Thomas as a living Apostle in Nilappaarai Kurusu Malai. This is our profound faith.
          From that day to this day I am witnessing, and the people are witnessing there what St. Paul has said with divine inspiration: In accordance with the increase of faith of the people, God’s grace will abound. (Cfr. Rom. 5: 2, 20)
                                                           Fr. T Selva George
                                                                         
THIRUVITHAMCODE CAVE
        Professor Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodappuzha speaks in the documentary film “Ezharappallikal” that there was a tradition even before St. Thomas came to Kerala (in 52 A.D.), which claims that the Sanyasi St. Thomas went earlier to the other places in the south countries and had preached Chistianity at Travancore in Kanyakumari district.7
 
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          Interestingly enough, George Moraes quotes T. K. Joseph who in his article “Kerala Studies” speaks of one such cave cell built by St. Thomas for him and for his priests also at Thiruvithankodu. It is said that “In about 1924 an old parishioner of the Jacobite Syrian Church at Thiruvancodu in south Travancore (the half-church among the 7 ½ Churches of St. Thomas) said that there was a tradition that the unusually broad tomb in the southern yard of the church was built by St. Thomas for himself and a priest of his.”This tomb can be seen even now inside the Catholic Church (Peria Nayagi Matha Kovil) in the southern yard of the St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church at Thiruvithaankodu.
thomas+cave+2.jpg
          This cave of St. Thomas later (A.D.1550 to 1590) became the source of excavating the historical tunnel way between Thiruvithankodu and Padmanabhapuram palace. No one can deny the existence of this “three kilo meter long” cave tunnel which connects Thiruvithankodu “Peria Naayagi Matha Kovil” and Padmanabhapuram Palace. The inhabitants of the place are well aware of this fact. On 13th June 2004 when the author of this treatise had an interview with Mr. Paul a local historian, Mr. Paul admitted that when he was a child he used to enter into the cave and play together with other local children. And he said that when a man ventured to walk through the tunnel, he disappeared and never came back! And when a dog was sent, the same result occurred. Therefore the entrance of the tunnel was temporarily closed with stones and cement. And the cave still remains as you see in the Picture.
Palace+Of+the+Cave.JPG
Raja's residence having the cave inside
converted into the church of Peria Nayagi Matha
          Actually the kings of Travancore had divided the province of Venadu into several Taluks (Kodu) and each Taluk was entrusted to a petit king. This fact is confirmed by A.M. Stanislaus when he says: “It is said that with Rama Varma (A. D. 1545 to 1556) certain Puthala Kerala Varma and Unni Kerala Varma were ruling at the same time in different places.”For these petit Rajas they had built residences in each Taluk with secret cells for arms and ammunitions. One such residence was built at Thiruvithankodu also with St. Thomas’ cave cell in it. This residence has been converted into the present “Peria Nayagi Kovil.”
          Historical data reveal that this Tunnel way had been constructed during the period of Rama Varma (A.D. 1545 to 1556) and Unni Kerala Varma (1556 to 1595). The inscriptions at the Padmanabhpuram Palace say that it was constructed from A.D. 1550 to 1590. And the Website page on the Historical Monuments of Travancore testifies that “the Padmanabhapuram Palace is a 16th century marvel”10 It is a wide spread understanding that during the reign of the above mentioned petit Rajas, while wars broke out due to the attack by the fleet of the Vijaya Nagar Kingdom in 1558, and due to the internal strife caused by Apputhambi and Ramanthambi together with Ettuveettu Pillaimar during the reign of Marthanda Varma (A.D.1729 TO 1758), it is this tunnel way that helped them to escape as being a war time strategy for their victory.
 


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INTERNATIONAL MONUMENT OF ST. THOMAS
AT THIRUVITHAMCODE

 
 
 
 
Ezharaipalli+1.jpg


St. Thomas International Pilgrim Centre, Thiruvithamcode, Kanyakumari Tamil Nadu. [www.stthomasinternationalpilgrimcentre.com]

The Historic Thiruvithamcode Church was built by St. Thomas , the Apostle of India in 63AD? (36 A.D) in the name of the Holy Mother St. Mary. This is believed to be one of the oldest church structures in the world.......... (See Chapter 8) 

 


FOOT PRINT OF ST. THOMAS ON MATHA MALAI AT KAPPIYARA
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Matha Malai
          In between Thiruvithaankodu and Karungal six kilo meters west of Thiruvithaankodu at Kappiyara there is a hill called Matha Malai. St. Thomas during his stay in and around Thiruvithaankodu, chiefly when the construction of the Ezharaippalli was under way, The Apostle used to spend the night and the morning hours in a small hut on top of this hill. There on the top of a rock he would spend the morning hours meditating and reciting his divine office. On that spot two stones served him as a throne. Sitting on the one and resting the right foot on the other, he folded his left leg over the knee of the right leg. Thus seated he used to read, write and meditate for a long time even under the sun. Cool breeze from the sea of the west coast made this spot very pleasant to sit and meditate.
 
 
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          As St. Thomas was accustomed to sit on this rock, the foot print of his right leg has been imprinted on the rock. Rev. Thirumeni Varghese a priest of the Syro -Malabar Rite has traced out the details of this spot and a cave in which Our Lady appeared several times to St. Thomas. These details, he says, are found in the archives of the Latin Seminary in Thiruvanathapuram Arch Diocese where he studied. People around the locality have a great veneration to this sacred place. On every Good Friday the devotees climb on the hill praying the way of the cross and kissing the foot print of St. Thomas the Apostle to this day.  

THE PILLAR OF ST. THOMAS AT KANYAKUMARI
        By now the name and fame of the Apostle began to spread like wild fire all over the neighbouring countries. A group of people came from Cape Comerin (Kanyakumari) to invite the Saint to their country. Cape Comerin at that time was called Muttapathy and was situated at the present Chinna Muttam or Kumari Muttam. The present Cape Comerin at that time was an uninhabited hill, from which the sea was then half a league (about one kilo meter) distant.11 Muttapathy was well inhabited by a fishermen population. St. Thomas came to Muttapathy, began to preach the gospel and baptized all of them in front of the Cross he erected there, which can be seen even today. Then the Apostle built a church there. Doctor V. Lawrence writes: “Kanyakumari was not only the confluence of seas but also the meeting ground…..of early Christianity that was associated with St. Thomas,” and he admits that in Kottar also there were Christians who have remained as such from the time of St. Thomas. And he also speaks about the church of St. Thomas (Thoma Palli) at Kumari Muttam near Cape Comerin, quoting Diego Gonsalves who wrote the first ‘History’ of Malabar.12                   
        Thus it was fulfilled in Muttapathy (Cape Comerin) in the first mission of St. Thomas what Herman D’Souza quotes as said in “The Doctrine of the Apostles”: “India and all its own countries and those bordering on it (Ceylon), even to the farthest sea (Indian Ocean), received the Apostles’ Hand of Priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was Guide and Ruler in the church which he built there and ministered there.”13
        This church built by the Apostle was continually rebuilt and maintained by the subsequent missionaries. Duarte Barbosa who came to India around 1500 A.D. and remained there for sixteen years, wrote by the year 1517: “Near this Cape Comerin is an old church of Christians which was founded by Armenians, who still have it and celebrate Christian masses within it and have Cross on the altars.”  There are two stone inscriptions , of which one contains the edict (A.D. 1494) of the local ruler authorizing that from the income collected from the fishermen, lights have to be kept burning in this church; and the other inscription was of the local king Muttampiranar, after whose name this place got the name “Muttam” or “Muttapathi.” 14
         There is a tradition backed by the historians that on the top most part of the hill of Cape Comerin St. Thomas had erected a stone Pillar with a Cross on the top in full view of Ceylon (Sri Lanka). George Moraes writes: “There stood upon the rocks near the sea-shore, a stone pillar, which according to popular belief, had been erected by St. Thomas himself.”15 The historians are confused in the demarcation of the place of this Pillar of St. Thomas. Because there were three pillars, erected in different places, by different persons and in different periods. The first was erected in Cape Comerin by the Apostle St. Thomas about the year 35 A.D. The second one by John Marignoli at Covalam near Cape Comerin in the year 1348 A.D and the third one by the Portughese missionaries at Quilon in the year 1502 A.D. The confusion was also due to the naming of the places where these pillars were erected. For example the names like Covalam, Caulam, Caulan or Quilon. In the first century Cape Comerin and Covalam were one place with two hills and without any inhabitants.
       Speaking of this pillar of St. Thomas, Fr. A. Monserrate in his letter to the General of the Society of Jesus, dated January 12, 1579 observes: “The Tradition is, and it is the common saying, that St. Thomas erected at Caulan (Covalam or Cape Comerin) a pillar (marco) on some stones, from which the sea was then about half a league distant, while saying (prophesying) that, when the sea should reach that pillar, white Christians would come, who would reduce them (instruct them) to following the law (religion) which he was preaching.”16
        John Gilmary Shea writes: “Before he died in Meliapour, St. Thomas erected a very large cross and predicted to the people that when the sea would advance to the very foot of that cross, God would send them, from a far-distant land, white men who would preach to them the same doctrine he had taught them. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Portuguese arrived in the region, and found that the ocean had advanced so far as to be truly at the foot of the cross.” 17
        Herman D’souza,  getting the mistaken idea from authors like that of the above quoted materials, tries to locate this pillar at the city of Mylapore, but by giving the king’s name of the locality as Gandhappar Raja, he assures without his knowledge that the Pillar was erected within the territories of the Southern Pandian Kingdoms. He writes as follows: “There is a tradition that the sinking of Mylapore was prophesied by St. Thomas. He had been allowed by the local king, probably Kandappa Rajah, to build a church in the locality. ……On a certain occasion, the Apostle is believed to have said that when the sea should come near his Beth (abode), a western nation would come preaching the same doctrines as he himself taught.”18 The locality of Gandhappar Raja definitely not being Mylapore but the province between Thiruchendur and Kanyakumari, it becomes certain that the Pillar of St. Thomas was erected not in Mylapore but in Kanyakumari.
        Fr. Hosten says: “The same thing was said for St. Thomas at Mylapore though we have no allusion to the existence of such a pillar close to the church of the saint’s tomb.”19 Fr. A. Monserrate thinks that this pillar was erected not in Mylapore but somewhere else, and that before the time of the arrival of the Portuguese. He says: “But I rather think that that Pillar is from before the time of the arrival of the Portuguese.”20
        In the above accounts, the location of the Pillar of St. Thomas is indicated as “upon the rocks near the sea-shore,” and “on some stones, from which the sea was then about half a league distant.” The present Rocks-Memorial at Cape Comerin might have been the sacred foundations of the hill, on which St. Thomas had erected his “Pillar-Memorial” of Christianity in the first century.
 
 
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        The hill, on the top of which the Pillar was erected, must have had, as its foundation, a solid mountain comprised of the three Sacred Rocks at the tri-sea spot of Cape Comerin: (1). The ‘Thiru Muzhukku Paarai” the rock of Divine Baptism or the present Sacred Snana Mandabam (Bathing spot) at the tip of Kumari Munai. (2). The “Thiru Thoon Paarai” the rock of the Sacred Pillar or the present Memorial of the Divine Poet. (3). The “Thiru Anai Paarai” the rock of the Sacred Shield or the present Memorial of the Sacred Philosopher (Saint Francis Xavier). These three rocks   and stones around them were then under the hill when the sea was about half a league distant.                                                          
 
        The names “Thiru Muzhukku Paarai,” “Thiru Thoon Paarai” and “Thiru Anai Paarai” were traditionally in use among the St. Thomas’ Christians in Cape Comerin. When the prophecy of St. Thomas was fulfilled at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the sea reached the vicinity of the pillar, and the rock first appeared was the Thiru Anai Parai, (the present Vivekananda Rock) which for a long time was shielding the pillar of St. Thomas from falling, and therefore was called the rock of the Sacred Shield. But finally, before the end of the thirteenth century, when the sea eroded the whole area as foretold by St. Thomas, the hill together with the Sacred Pillar disappeared into the sea.
        In the fourteenth century White Christians came, in fact, and built a church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Cape Comerin at the spot where the church of the Roman Catholics now stands. The Franciscan Bishop John Marignoly visited this church twice and preached the gospel in 1339 before his visit to China, and in 1347 after he returned from China. Now Bishop Marignoli also erected a pillar in Cape Comerin. At his time the top most spot was a hill situated south east of Covalam near Cape Comerin. He intended this pillar to last till the end of the world. But it was also destroyed by the sea in the later part of the nineteenth century.
         George Moraes writes: “This Franciscan (Bishop Marignolli) was endowed with a lovely imagination. Ceylon was not very far. It was the ‘Paradise’ where the Muslims pointed to the lake formed by the tears of Adam and Eve mourning for their son Abel. Before leaving for India, Marignolli had a pillar set up at Cape Comerin, the extremity of the Indian peninsula in full view of Ceylon. “More glorious than Alexander the great,” says he, when he set up his colomn (in India), “for I erected a stone as my landmark and memorial in the corner of the world over against the Paradise. In sooth, it was a marble pillar with a stone cross upon it, intended to last till the world’s end. And it had the pope’s arms and my own engraved upon it with inscriptions both in Indian and Latin characters. I consecrated and blessed it in the presence of an infinite multitude of people, and I was carried on the shoulders of the chiefs in a litter or palanquin like Solomon’s.”21
        Details of the pillar of Bishop Marignoli are recorded by Fr. Hosten as different from that of the Quilon Pillar. “If this pillar had been a Padrao set up by the Portuguese, it would have been discovered in various places; for instance the arms of Portugal, or date. Now, the Quilon pillar has never been described as having anything distinctive. It is said that it disappeared only in the nineteenth century. Surely, the pillar was not the one erected by Friar John of Marignolli about 1347; his pillar was somewhere at or near Cape Comerin.”22
        Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam also in his “Ancient Jaffna,” makes reference from “Cathay and the Way Thither,” written by Col. H. Yule, in 1348 or 1349 AD, that John de Marignolli, the papal delegate to the Court of the Great Khan, on his return from China, landed at Columbam. He remained with the Christians there for one year and four months, after erecting a stone memorial,“ in the corner of the world over against Paradise,”  (supposed to be at Cape Comarin) he went to see the famous Queen of Saba, by whom he “was honorably treated” and then “proceeded to Seyllan  (Ceylon). Source:  BahamasWriter.comClick Here
        Later this monument of Bishop Marignoli was attributed to St. Thomas by the local inhabitants. Baldaeus, a Dutch writer who reports this, has said that he saw this Pillar in 1662. As he says: “Upon the rocks near the sea shore of Caulam (Covalam), stands a stone pillar, erected there, as the inhabitants report, by St. Thomas. I saw the pillar in 1662. …….But It disappeared towards the close of the nineteenth century. And as Howard in his ‘Christians of St. Thomas and their liturgies’ says: “Mr. D’Albedhil told me that he has seen this pillar and that it was washed away only a few years ago” Quoted from Travancore Manual. 23
        In the sixteenth century the Portuguese and St. Francis Xavier came and built a beautiful church of Our Lady of Joy which we can still find behind the sacristy of the church of Our Lady of Ransom with its golden cross on top of the tower  now in Cape Comerin.
THE STONE CROSS OF ST. THOMAS AT PANDARAKULAM
 
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          One of the available monuments of St. Thomas, erected during his mission in the southern Pandian Kingdom, is a famous stone cross with the inscription “I.N.R.I.” carved by his own hands in a         style peculiar to St. Thomas himself.
 
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          The story of this cross as narrated by the inhabitants is that when St. Thomas founded a community of Christians at Pandarakulam near Vallioor, (See Ch. 6) the Saint as usual erected a stone cross there as an object of worship. And for a long time the Christians of St Thomas gathered in front of this Cross for their morning and evening prayers, and even for Holy Mass whenever some missionaries visited them. Then the people had built a “Kurusadi” holding the Cross on its top, with a small chapel attached for worship.
  
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And when the present church was built, the Kurusadi was demolished, and the value of the Cross being unknown, it was discarded to a corner by the side of the church. But St. Thomas appeared to a pious man in dream and told that the Cross should be given a suitable place of veneration. It should be kept as a monument of his apostolic work in this place. Thus the Cross was recognized as a valuable treasure and a record for these people of having received the gospel of Christ in the very beginning of the Christian era. And therefore the Cross has been now kept, as you see in the picture, by the right side of the church, facing the main street of entrance in to the village.
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Many miracles are attached to this Cross of St. Thomas. (These details were narrated to the author in a personal interview with one of the inhabitants Mrs. Marianthony Ammal 80 yrs. on May 23, 2004).  Recently the local people have once again constructed a beautiful shrine in the same spot where the cross had been planted, namely by the right side of the church, facing the main street of entrance in to the village.
          Ever since this shrine was built, the devotion of the Holy Cross is being celebrated on every First Friday of the month.




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.AlexC.Muthiahibid.Pages139,140.                                                                                                                        2. Ibid. Pages 50, 15, 16.                                                                                                                            3. H. Sarkar, Research Article in the “Souvenir of the fourth Centenary Celebration                                of the Holy Cross church at Manappadu. 1581 - 1981. Cfr. Paragraph 3,                                                 4. Herman D’Souza “In the Steps of St. Thomas” Pages 5, 6.                                                                     5. H. Sarkar Ibid Paragraph. 3, 14. 17; Foot Note 5.                                                                                    6. H. Sarkar Ibid. Paragraph 14,                                                                                                                  7. Professor George Menacherry Documentary Film, ICS Creation “Ezharappallikal”                                8. George Moraes Ibid. Page 42, Foot Note 50.                                                                                         9. A. M. Stanislaus “Thamizhar Arasu 3 (Cherar Arasu)” Pages 135,                                                            10.  “Padmanabhapuram palace is a 16th century marvel”
Source: kerala.bizhat.com/monuments/-17k-Cached - Similar pages
11. George Moraes Ibid. Page 210.
12. Dr. V. Lawrence Ibid. Pages 44, 46.
13 Herman D’Souza Ibid. Page 5
14. Dr. V. Lawrence Ibid. Page 46. 20.
15 George Moraes Ibid.  page, 210                                                                                              
16. ibid.
17. John Gilmary Shea “Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints” Dec. 21
18. Herman D’Souza ibid.  Page 42.
19. George Moraes Ibid. Page 210, Foot Note No. 15.                                             
20 Ibid. Page 211.                                                                                                                                      21. Ibid. Page 105; V. Lawrence Ibid. Page 49; A.E. Medlycott ‘St. Thomas’ Christians’                        Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. XIV Page 683                                                                                                  22. George Moraes Ibid. Page 211 Foot note No. 16.                                                                               23. ibid. Page 211, Foot Note No. 16.


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CHAPTER TEN
 

 
THE VISIT OF ST. THOMAS
TO CEYLON AND CHINA
 
 
 
THE VISIT OF ST.THOMAS
 TO CEYLON
 




          Ceylon is a great island of the Indian Ocean. It is called by the Indians “Seeladiba” and by the Greeks “Taprobane.” The legends relating to the preaching of Christianity in Ceylon by the Apostle St. Thomas cannot be reduced to the fond imagination of the Early Fathers as wrongly concluded by modern historians.1 But recent researches reveal that St. Thomas has preached the gospel in Ceylon as well as in India.
 
          The Carmelite Friar Vincent Maria says that St. Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes, Bactrians, Hyrcanians, and Taprobanians. (Taprobane was Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka). Read the quotation from Chapter 19 of “Wandering in the East”: “First on Vincenzo Maria's list is Syria-Mesopotamia. The Carmelite friar specifically mentions "the neighborhood of Edessa," but in the same breath expands the initial mission field to almost all of the Persian Empire, or "Parthia," where he preached "to Parthians, Medes, Bactrians, Hyrcanians, and Taprobanians." (Ancient Bactria was, roughly, what is now northern Afghanistan; Hyrcania abutted the south eastern corner of the Caspian Sea; Taprobane was Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka.) Apparently he was depending on the Nestorian tradition for the emphasis on Parthia; he has Thomas visit it twice.”2
 
          Already in the foregoing chapters it is explained that Gandhappar Raja (Gaspar), the Pandian king was ruling Celon and the southern Pandian Kingdom in India. This Gandhappar Raja had Jaffna as his capital city in Ceylon in the beginning of the first century. And it is he who went from Cylon to adore the Infant Jesus at Bethlehem.
 
          K. T. Rajanayagam says that an early King of Jaffna was one of those who adored the Infant Jesus. And he adds that Christianity was in existence in Sri Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era. He writes: “Christianity visited Sri Lanka, long before the arrival of Portuguese colonists in 1504. Cosmas Indicopleustes (Christian Topography, book XI) tells of Ceylon and its trade in the 6th century AD, as follows: “This is the great island of the Ocean, situated in the Indian sea, which is called by the Indians- Seelediba, by the Greeks - Taprobane, where the hayacinthus stone is found; and it is beyond the pepper country (mainland). Considering the frequent communications between the Mediterranean world and Mantai, the international emporium and the entrée port in Sri Lanka, pre-historic period,  it is not beyond belief that, one of the disciples of Christ, came to India and Sri Lanka to preach Christianity.
          Even though, due to lack of archeological development reports, except for the finding of the Nestor Cross, and the mention of the Babylonian name Seruma or Soruma in the Sussondi Jataka III, a corruption of Sumer, as a name of a country denoting it as an Island in North Ceylon, we are not in a position to make an informed  judgment. Anyhow, when we take into consideration the spread of Christianity in the coastal region of Kerala, and the existence of an ancient Syrian Church even today, it is very difficult to dismiss the fact that, an early king of Jaffna was one of those who paid his adoration to the infant Jesus, also Christianity was in existence in Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era. 
 
          In the Capital City of Jaffna (Nallur). Gandhappar Raja had built a palace, and much later when the city was inhabited by Hindus (say in 948 A.D.) a temple had been built by a certain Bhuvanegubagu in the name of Gandhappar Raja. This Temple was called Nallur Kandaswami Kovil or Nallai Kandan Temple.
 
          V.N.Giritharan in his “Nallur Rajdhani” proves that there was a king’s palace in Nallur the capital city of Jaffna 2000 years ago. The stone inscription you see in this picture testifies the fact.
 
 
Pandara+Maligai.JPG
         “There is a pillar with the words 'Pandaramaaligai' in Tamil character (King’s Palace) engraved on it. Closely, there is a statue of Vairavar with a small porch. And in this porch the following words are sculpted:
 
 "Entrance of Pandara Maaligai, a place of two thousand years old and which the Tamil kings preserved and safeguarded and prayed;
And where the Nallai 'Theradip Padhi Urai Padhi', the temple of Sri Bairava and Aadhimoolam, the god of gods - is inside”.4
 
          This proves that the palace of Gandhappar Raja was well preserved and safeguarded by his successors, and then it was converted into the temple of Sri. Bairava and Aadhimoolam.
 
          Mudaliar Rasanayakam says in his book Yaazhpaana Vaibhava Maalai that in 948 A. D. this temple was rebuilt and was given the name of Gandhppar Raja. Regarding this fact let me quote from V. N. Giritharan’s “Nallure Rajadhan” what follows:
 
“In the history of ‘Eelam’ (Ceylon) Nallur has had a role to play. It was a renowned city way back at the time of Chola rule itself. Afterwards, it was the glorious capital of Jaffna State, created in a well-planned and meticulous manner King, Brahmin and the Court bard's Area: That the place situated north westward to the royal market place was a very important locality of the Nallur Rajdhani era is proclaimed by the names of lands and streets there and also by Pandarakulam.
 
          The very names Sangili Thoppu, Sangiliyan Veedhi, Arasaveedhi, Arasaveli, Pandara Maaligai Valaivu, Pandara Kulam stand for the link that existed between the Tamil regime and themselves. In the names such as Pandara Maaligai, Pandara Kulam, the term 'Pandara', according to many, refers to the Tamil king. Mudaliar Kula Sabanathan opines that the term refers to Pararasasekara Pandaram. There were many kings, having names that ended with the term 'Pandaram'. 'Puviraraja Pandaram' was one of them. One of the sons of Lakshmidevi, the legal queen of Pararasasekaran was also Pandaram. The coconut grove encompassing some six acre area is called Pandara Valavu.
 
          Historical works offer us a lot of contradictory details about Nallur Kandaswami Temple which was one of the significant features of Nallur Rajdhani. The song given below which comes in Kailayamaalai has caused the controversy. "...ilakkiya sagaptha Yenntrezhubhadha......" (Tamil Cheyul) According to Swami Gnanaprakasar, Va. Kumaraswami and such others the term 'Yennootrezhubadhu' refers to the year 1248 A.D. And, the word Yenn in the above given verse refers to  thousand (aayiram) and that which comes by adding one hundred and seventy (nootrezhubadhu) with thousand is the saga year 1170 and this points at 1248 A.D., they hold. As per one Dainel John, saga year 'Yennoothrezhubadhu' means 948 A.D. As per Mudaliar Rasanayaka's contention also saga year 870 means 948 A.D. Bhuvanegubagu who was spoken of in this song was referred to as the minister of Aryan king and the one who constructed the Nallai Kandan temple in such works as Kailaya Maalai, Yaazhpaana Vaibhava Maalai etc.” 5
 
          That this King Gandhappar (Gaspar) was reining the Southern Pandian Kingdom which at that time consisted of Ceylon as well has been proved by various authors like George Moraes, Joao De Barros. John De Marignoli, Motha Vaz, Herman D’ Souza and so on.
 
        In Ceylon Gandhappar was known as Peria Perumal, and his brother Gaatthiappar as Chinna Perumal. This was the king of Ceylon who heard the nativity of the messiah foretold by an Indian Sybil, and had joined with the other Magi Kings and had gone to Bethlehem to adore the child. This has been cited by George Moraes from a legend which the Portuguese heard from the lips of the bishop of Quilon as follows: “A Perumal King of Ceylon having heard tell of it from the Sybil, embarked in a ship for Muscat. At this port he joined the other Magi and they went to Bethlehem to adore the child.”6
       
          Here let us repeat what K.T. Rajasingham has stated in his essay, “Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka” :                      
          “A page in history reveals that the Tamil king of Yalapanam (Jaffna, was one amongst those wise-men - Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby Jesus. This happened, according to the prophecy in the Bible. “Kings along the Mediterranean coast- the kings of Tarshish and the Islands- and those from Sheba and from Seba- all will bring their gifts.” (Psalms 72: 10.)
 
          Joao de Barros, the Portuguese historian, in his book, “Asia de Joao Barros, dos fectos que od Portuguese fizeram no descobrimento & conquista dos mares & teras do Oriente,” published after 1563, relates, “a king of the island of Ceilam, called Primal, went in a ship to the coast of Muscat, to join other kings, who were going to adore the Lord, at Bethlehem, and that he was the third.”
 
          “According to de Barros, the Tamil king Primal (Perumal) was one of the Magi, who went to Bethlehem, to worship the new born baby infant Jesus.” 
Mudaliyar C.Rasanayagam, in his “Ancient Jaffna,” makes reference from “Cathay and the Way Thither,” written by Col. H. Yule, in 1348 or 1349 AD, John de Marignolli, the papal delegate to the Court of the Great Khan, on his return from China, landed at Columbam. He remained with the Christians there for one year and four months, after erecting a stone memorial,“ in the corner of the world over against Paradise,”  (supposed to be at Cape Comarin) he went to see the famous Queen of Saba, by whom he “was honorably treated” and them “ proceeded to Seyllan  (Ceylon).
Father Fernao De Queyroz, who wrote “The Temporal and Spiritual Conquest of Ceylon,” strongly refutes the story put forward by Jao De Barros, but up to date, no historians has come forward to refute the historical facts, put forward by John De Marignolli, that Yalapanam was the famous Saba and the “Magi”-pathi, the king of Yalapanam (Jaffna), was one of those men who went to adore the infant Jesus.  
Anyhow, when we take into consideration the spread of Christianity in the coastal region of Kerala, and the existence of an ancient Syrian Church even today, it is very difficult to dismiss the fact that, an early king of Jaffna was one of those who paid his adoration to the infant Jesus, also Christianity was in existence in Lanka, since from the very beginning of the Christian era.” 7
 
       Now there is a tradition that this Peria Perumal came to south India and was baptized by St. Thomas the Apostle as Gaspar. This fact is described by Fr. Motha Vaz as follows: “Peria Perumal, the King of Jaffna (Ceylon) journeyed to India to meet the Apostle. As soon as he saw St. Thomas, he requested him: ‘O Apostle of the Redeemer of the world! I am one of the Magi Kings who at the sight of the star in the East, followed it and visited the Holy Infant Messiah at Bethlehem. Therefore, please explain to me His life and teachings and baptize me. The Saint, accepting the request and after having instructed on the life and teachings of the Saviour, baptized him as Gaspar.”8
 
        Herman D’Souza writes: “.....an ancient song says that at a certain stage the Apostle ‘started for the country of the Tamils’. The author (of the song) doubtless means ‘the country which is now of the Tamils’. For, at the time of the Apostle, all the three kingdoms (of the Chera, Chola and Pandia) was the country of the Tamils.”9
 
          From the above mentioned sources we can conclude that the visit of St. Thomas the Apostle to Ceylon is no more to the fond imagination of the Early Fathers, but a historical fact.
 
 
 
 
 


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THE VISIT OF ST.THOMAS
 TO CHINA
 
          After establishing Christian communities in India and Ceylon St. Thomas the Apostle made a missionary expedition to China sometime between A.D. 40 and 46. Let us make an attempt to prove this fact both from the Chinese official Roman Catholic authorities and from many other sources cited below.
 
          Ignatius Cardinal Kung, Bishop of Shanghai, China, spent over thirty years in a Communist prison for his allegiance to Rome. Although Pope John Paul II named him a cardinal in 1979 while the Chinese bishop was imprisoned, his name became known only in 1991 when he was able to flee to the United States. Cardinal Kung died Sunday March 12, 2004 in Connecticut. He was 98. The Chinese National Conference of Roman Catholic (underground) Bishops, in union with Cardinal Kung declared in a Pastoral Letter dated Dec. 1994, the following statement:
 
          “There has been a long history of evangelization in China. Since our Lord's ascension and his command to the apostles to proclaim the good news of salvation to all nations, St. Thomas the apostle traveled at least as far as India; some further research has shown that he also reached China.” Source: www.cardinalkungfoundation.org/articles/pastoral.htm - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
 
          Bishop Tedi B. Weber, O.A. confirms the truth that St. Thomas had established a Christian community in India even before he went to the Malabar coast (Kerala) in A.D. 52; and says that the Apostle went as far as China and Korea. He writes:
 
          “There are many evidences which indicate that Thomas taught as far away as China and Korea: pictures painted in long-ago China, temples (churches) that house figures clothed in garments authentic to the peoples of the fertile crescent of the time. These I know of, others I doubt not exist. The Apostolic Succession within the St. Thomas Christians is continuous from Christ's anointing of Thomas as an Apostle through the time he was sent to India and established a Christian community there, sometime between 45 A.D. and 52 A.D., down through time until today” 10
 
              Thomas Coipuram in his article to Arlington Catholic HERALD  7/11/02, writes: “St. Thomas the Apostle was assigned to go to Greece, Armenia, India and China. The one who questioned the Resurrection of Christ, he traveled the farthest.” Source: www.catholicherald.com/articles/ 02articles/thomas0711.htm - 10k - Cached - Similar pages
 
        Herbert Christian Merillat sites the following quotation: “Thomas”, says Vincent Maria, “began his mission in Syria – Mesopotamia, from there the Apostle went East to China, ‘the state of the great Mogul (Mongol)’, and the Kingdom of Sian (The city of Sian in north west China was the ancient capital of the Han dynasty [200 B.C. to A.D. 9], the capital of Tang dynasty [A.D. 618 – 907] and the site of a Nestorian stele [monument])”; then to Ethiopia, and thence to the island of Socotra, and finally to South India. There he evangelized the Malabar Coast and finally the Coromandal Coast (Madras and Mylapore), where he was Martyred.” 11
 
           The above study of Herbert C. Merillat has been confirmed by Benjamin John Wilkinson who in his writings on “Adam and the Church in China” 12 states that China in the days of Prophet Daniel was in contact with the Old Testament Religion:       
“As the Jews had been dispersed throughout all nations, the stirring prophecies of Daniel were disseminated everywhere. These led all peoples to look with hope for the coming of the great Restorer. The Magi who journeyed from the East to worship at the Savior’s manger are but an example of those who were stirred by the promise of the Coming One. Suetonius and Tacitus, Roman historians of the first century A.D., bear witness to the universal expectation of a coming Messiah.“The prophecy of Buddha concerning the predicted Prophet is another example. Buddha said: “Five hundred years after my death, a Prophet will arise who will found His teaching upon the fountain of all the Buddhas. When that One comes, believe in Him, and you shall receive incalculable blessings!
 
          “Also it is reported that Confucius, the famous founder of China’s national religion in the sixth century B.C., said that “a saint should be born in the West who would restore to China the lost knowledge of the sacred tripod. “Study touching the work of the Apostle Thomas in India cites the old tradition that after he had founded Christianity in the Hindu Peninsula, he then brought the Gospel to the country of the yellow river” (China).
          It is evident therefore that after the first foundation of Christianity in the South Pandian Kingdom of Gandhappar Raja in the Indian Peninsula, including the island of Ceylon, St Thomas made a journey to the land of China. 
     
          T.V. Philip speaking about “Christianity in China”13 quotes the following writers mentioning the different traditions about St. Thomas’ visit to China:
   
          “A.C. Moule in his book: Christians in China before 1550 mentions a tradition that St. Thomas visited China. Both the Latin and Syriac writers in the medieval period (Francis Xavier, de Cruz and de Gouivea, de Burros among the Latin writers and Ebed Jesus among the Syrians) mention this tradition”.
 
          “John Stewart refers to another tradition current among the Chinese of Chang-an, a tradition referred to also in the Chinese records. According to this tradition, in AD 64, the Chinese emperor Ming-ti, as a result of a dream, sent messengers along a road leading to the west to find out who was the greatest prophet who had arisen in the west. They met two Christian missionaries on the way to the court and returned with them. The missionaries remained there till they died six years later. (Most probably these two missionaries might have been sent by St. Thomas himself from India while he was engaged in his second mission in India between the years A.D. 52 to 72). The only relic of their stay is to be found in a scripture of forty-two sections and a logia of the New Testament. We are not sure of the reliability of this tradition.”
 
          Furthermore, it is not without solid basis that commentators claim that China is contemplated in the well-known prophecy of Isaiah which foresees converts to the gospel as coming from the land of Sinim. There are scholars of research who conclude that the original Chinese colonists who settled on the western branch of the Yellow River came from the plains of the Euphrates. It must be true that the great facts of early Bible history were known in some form in the Orient from early days, there being much travel back and forth from Persia to China. As Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, so the Separatists from the Tigris and Euphrates valleys are considered by some to have taken their long trek through Turkestan to the Wei River of northwestern China carrying many elements of Chaldean civilization to that region.
 
          How early and how influential the Jews (being repeatedly carried as captives to the East) were in China before the Christian era, may be seen in the following quotations:
 
          Many of those Israelites whom God dispersed among the nations, by means of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities, found their way to China, and were employed (says the celebrated chronicler Pere Gaubil) in important military posts, some becoming provincial governors, ministers of state, and learned professors. Pere Gaubil states positively that there were Jews in China during the fighting states period, i.e., 481-221 B.C.
 
          Thus we know that China in Daniel’s day was in contact with the Old Testament religion.
 
          According to “Spring and Autumn,” a book compiled by Confucius himself in 481 B.C., notice is taken of the frequent arrival of “the white foreigners.” Saeki thinks that these could be from the plains of Mesopotamia. The vigorous earlier Han dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 9) carded its conquests far to the west and to the Babylonian plains.
 
          The apostle Paul in his day said that the gospel had been carried “to the ends of the world.” How strong the gospel in China was is seen in the statement of the Ante-Nicene Father Amobius, written about A.D.300, which enumerated that nation as one of the Oriental peoples among whom the church was established. Also it is to be noticed that Isaac, the patriarch of the Assyrian Church, ordained a metropolitan for China in A.D.411. As metropolitans usually were directors of from six to eight supervisors of church provinces, each of which in turn was the presiding officer over many clergy, it can readily be understood that Christianity, in order to have had such a large growth, must early have been planted in the Middle Kingdom, or China.
 
          And therefore, It must not be concluded that the Chinese emperor (of the Tang Dynasty), surrounded by the greatest scholars of his realm, took an astonishing decision to permit Adam (who was the director of the Assyrian Church in China) to build the celebrated stone monument (in A.D. 781) solely because he was influenced by the teachings which he heard from the Christian missionaries of that date. He and his scholars were well aware of the remarkable events which crowded the history touching the Church of the East. The Chinese were not ignorant of the expansion of Christianity among the nations of central Asia (even in the first century A.D.).14
 
          The last statement of Benjamine George above quoted, has been proved by a recent study of Professor Wei-Fan.
 
          “In 2001 Professor Wang Wei-Fan wrote an article entitled “Christian Spirit In Ancient China” which suggested that the Gospel has reached China during the Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25 to 220). As one of the basis for his assumption he quotes the statement of Li Wenbin: “During the Eastern Han period, two Syrian missionaries came to China. Their purpose was to spread Christianity.” Another basis was the discovery of an Iron Cross in Luling, Jiangxi province during the reign of Emperor Hongwu in the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1368 to 1398) A couplet was found carved on the Iron Cross:
 
“Four seas rejoice o’er peace; iron rod splendors a cross;           
Ten thousand folks for grace yearn; a thousand autumns incented by golden urn”.
 
          ”The date of this relic was “the ninth year of Chi-Wu.” Chi-Wu was the name of the fourth period of the reign of Sun Quan who became king of Eastern Wu in the year A.D.222. “The ninth year of Chi-Wu was actually the 25th year of Sun’s reign (A.D.222 to 246).  The fact that such a large iron cross existed, and that a Christian intellectual could compose a couplet with this degree of sophistication lead to the speculation that Christianity must have been in China before Sun Quan’s reign. In other words, the gospel could very well have been brought to China in the Eastern Han dynasty.” 15
 
          Professor Wang Wei-Fan also made a valuable research on the Tomb Stone carvings of the first century, found in the art museum of Xuzhou in China. He gives the following details.16
 
          1. “The Gospel Carved on Stone during the Han Dynasty, especially Eastern Han, carved stone objects were often used for burial.  Furthermore, elaborate tombs were constructed with limestone, with carvings on the doors and walls of underground chambers.  In June, 2002 a colleague from Xuzhou (in northern Jiangsu Province) informed me that the museum in this city contained many excavated carvings with Middle East cultural characteristics.  So, with the hope of finding evidence of Christianity in Eastern Han China, I visited the Art Museum in Xuzhou.  Later the church in Xuzhou (formerly a Presbyterian church within the Synod of Jiang-Huai) gave me a newly published book “Xuzhou Han Stone Carvings” compiled by the director of the museum, Mr. Wu Liuhua (published in Beijing, November 2001).  Most of the picture illustrations on these pages are taken from this volume.
 
Phoenix+%2526+Fish.JPG
          The first startling piece of art I came upon was a carving with fish and phoenix as symbols. (A)(5)  The phoenix, also known as “eternal” or “everlasting” bird, was a symbol for resurrection in Egyptian myths.  The Fish (ICQUS), meaning “Jesus Christ God’s Son our Savior,” was used by early Christians on their doors and tombs.  The combination of these two symbols on the Han tomb may indicate the hope of Christians for salvation and resurrection by faith in Christ.  To the left of this carving was the date:  “The seventh day of the third month in the year of Yuan-he” – 86 AD. Yuan-he was the name of the reign of Emperor Zhangdi in Eastern Han.  So the construction of this tomb was 550 years before the Nestorian monk Alopen reached Changan (today’s Xi’an) in 635 AD, and about 50 years after the mass persecution in Jerusalem, resulting in Christians being dispersed to other parts of the world.(6)
 
Creation.gif
2. “The Creation and the fall one of the carvings seems to describe the creation story. (B)(7)  On the top are “two great lights” of sun and moon, a big fish and a bird.  On the right are wild beasts.  The left are domestic animals such as donkey, horse and ox.  The images are typical of Western Han art – exaggerated, flowing and lively – except for the two beasts with intertwining necks, which are in the style of Middle East art.
 
garden+of+edan.lnk.JPG
          Another carving shows the temptation of Eve.(C)   On this carving we read from right to left (in Chinese and Jewish order): the devil, serpent, Eve, the tree of discerning good and evil, the cherubim, then the sword (symbols of evil and deceit on the right; symbols of goodness and kindness on the left.)  The seductive and crafty serpent is waving beautiful flowers to Eve while biting her left hand.  At the same time Eve’s right hand is already picking the fruit from the tree.  To the left of the tree we see the cherubim and the sword, flaming and turning, guarding the tree of life.
Out+of+Edan.jpg
          “Two other carvings have figures like Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden.  The first one (D) shows a man and a woman wearing clothes made with animal skins.  The woman’s skirt seems to have a design of snakes, while the man is holding a tool resembling a hoe. 
                                                                                                       
          “The second carving (E) depicts a man and a woman moving away from a locked gate.  The woman looks sad and the man’s face has two sides, one side looking forward and the other side turning back as if reluctant to leave.  Both of these carvings were excavated from the tomb of “Jiu nu dun” (which can mean “thy mourned of the ninth daughter”). 
 
Lamb.jpg
 3. “The Passover Lamb over the Gate   A number of the limestone entrances to the Eastern Han burial chambers has carvings of fish and lamb. (G) Which, for Christians, would mean “Christ Jesus the Savior” and the lamb of Passover save the Israelites from death. 
 
          Some of the beams from the tombs have just the lamb (H) while others have both the lamb and the eternal bird (phoenix), combining salvation and resurrection.  The fish and the lamb were seldom seen in traditional Chinese art.  The phoenix in China was a symbol for prosperity and good luck, unrelated to resurrection. 
 
Phoenix+%2526+Tree.JPG
          An Eastern Han tomb discovered at Wang Shan had semicircular upper beams with two levels.(I)(6)  The upper level describes “heaven” with the tree of life and the eternal bird; the lower level is “earth,” with the dragons bound by three chains.  The tree of life and the eternal bird represent resurrection and everlasting life, while the dragons represents the ruler of demons.(10) 
 
crib+1.lnk.gif
4. “The Nativity. It is common for carvings on Han tombs to illustrate activities of everyday life, and some seem to tell the story of the life of Christ.  One of them may be the Christmas story, with wise men worshiping the Christ child (L).  While the birds (and angels) are rejoicing above the shed, the human figures show reference and admiration.  A wise man is offering a gift.  On the ground is a vase, possibly containing myrrh?  At the lower left of the shed is a little sheep. 
 
          “A larger likely “manger scene” clearly shows the baby held on the lap of his mother. (M)  This, too, has celestial beings above the roof, and wise men coming to pay homage. 
crib+2.jpg
 
 5.  “The Yi Vessel.    In the Xuzhou museum I saw a bronze container, also dating back to the Eastern Han period. (O)(14)  The bottom is carved with two fishes and five loaves, plus the character “Yi.”  In the Book of Records [one of the Five Classics which are considered part of the sacred scriptures of China], it was said that “the offering is to God; while the yi is used for offering by the emperor.”  This container with the five loaves and two fishes could be a vessel for offering to God.  The word Yi also means “sharing.”  In the Book of Poetry [also part of the Chinese sacred scriptures] it says “To share with you.”  It is not difficult to imagine that this was a vessel used by the early church in Eastern Han for sharing food and to celebrate the “love feast,” Holy Communion. 
 
          “These speculations are the results of my initial research, made possible with the help of the Xuzhou Han Carving Arts Museum, and the assistance of the church in Xuzhou.  It is important to note that Xuzhou is not the only place where Han stone carvings have been found.  Several locations in Henan and Shandong provinces have sizable collections of these excavated stone carvings.  As if these very stones are “crying out” for our attention, they deserve our serious study and research.  The task will take years, requiring rigor and discipline. Eastern Han was the first period in history when many religions were introduced to China.  In the Western Han period, Zhang Qian had explored the west and went on the Silk Road to “Da Qin which is today’s Syria.  It is not difficult to trace the footsteps of the Gospel by way of the Silk Road to Eastern Han, from Jerusalem, Samaria and Syria, through what is today Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Xinjiang, Dunhuang to reach Changan (Xi’an).  The ancient Christians had braved the long and arduous journey to reach our land.  Therefore with gratitude we say:  How beautiful are the feet of those who brought good tidings. "Wei-Fan Wang, Retired Professor, Nanjing Theological Seminary”(16)
          Tombstone Carvings from AD 86: “Did Christianity Reach China In the First Century?” [02-20-03] Source: www.christianityinchina.org /Common/Admin/showNews_auto.jsp?Nid=304&Charset=big5 - 21k - Cached - Similar pages
 
          The details given above by professor Wei-Fan Wang are clear proofs for the visit of St. Thomas the Apostle to China. An on-going research will furnish evidences of his activities in China more and more

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1. CHAPTER II. “Introduction of Christianity into Ceylon.”
Source: www.iaf.nl/Users/janpoel/lapidarium/lapidarium_2.html-9k-
Cached- similar pages
2. Wandering in the East, the Gnostic Apostle Thomas: Chapter 19
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_Afghanistan
3. “WAS ONE OF THE MAGI, A KING FROM LANKA?” 
By K.T.Rajasingham Source: www.bahamaswriter.com/magi.htm - 48k -
Cached - Similar pages
4. Nallur Rajadhani: City Layout V.N.Giritharan
Chapter 4:  Nallur Kandaswami Temple.                   
 Source: www.geotamil.com/ctamils/chapter5_nallur.html - 17k -
Cached - Similar pages
5. V.N.Giritharan Ibid. Chapter 4.
Source: www.geotamil.com/ctamils/chapter5_nallur.html -17k -
Cached - Similar pages
6. George Moraes Ibid. Page 213, Foot note 18.
7 K.T. Rajasingham, “Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka”
Source: www.bahamaswriter.com/magi.htm - 48k -
8. Fr. Motha Vaz ibid. Page 32, 33.
9. Herman D’Souza ibid. Page 24.
10. “St. Thomas the Apostle to India” Bishop Tedi B. Weber, O.A.
Source: http://bookread.tanaya.net/cgi-bin/BookRead.cgi?stthomas
11.  Herbert C. Merillat 1997 “Wandering of St. Thomas in the East” Ch. 19.
Source: http://www.gnosis.org/thomasbook/ch19.html
12. Benjamin George Wilkinson Ph. D. “The Church in the Wilderness”                                                     Ch.  21, Adam and the Church in China (Internet – Source).
13. T.V. Philip. “East of the Euphrates: Early Christians in Asia” Chapter 5.                                                Origin of Christianity in China (Internet – Source).        
14. Benjamin George. ibid. Ch. 21, Adam and the Church in China.
15. China News Update, January 2003 By Wang Wei-fan, Retired Professor,                                           Nanjing Theological Seminary.


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          In one of the villages in Thakshasila while the Apostle was saying mass, (Cfr. The Passing of Mary: "Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in India—he still had on his sacerdotal robes". Appendix II) he announced that the death of our lady was made known to him. This fact is testified by Thomas Coipuram as follows: “The apostle came to know of the death of Christ’s mother in a dream and told of the death of the Blessed Mother to a village community. From their presence the apostle disappeared and later returned to the curious group to tell them that he went up to the clouds to see the angels carrying the body to heaven. Even today, there is a village story in that part of the world, confirming the assumption of the Blessed Mother to heaven.”10


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CHAPTER THIRTEEN
 
 
THE TRANSLATION OF
THE RELICS OF ST. THOMAS
TO EDESSA, CHIOS, ORTONA AND TO INDIA
 
 
THE TRANSLATION OF THE RELICS TO EDESSA
 
San+Thome+Cathedral.jpg
          The “Acts of Judas Thomas” state that the bones of the Apostle were removed from his grave at Mylapore during the life time of the king who sentenced him to death. Let us first read this tradition which says that the translation took place in the very Apostolic age itself: “Now it came to pass after a long time that one of the children of Misdaeus (Mahadeva) the king was smitten by a devil, and no man could cure him, for the devil was exceeding fierce. And Misdaeus the king took thought and said: I will go and open the sepulcher, and take a bone of the apostle of God and hang it upon my son and he shall be healed. But while Misdaeus thought upon this, the apostle Thomas appeared to him and said unto him: Thou believedst not on a living man, and wilt thou believe on the dead? Yet fear not, for my Lord Jesus Christ hath compassion on thee and pitieth thee of his goodness.
 
          “And he went and opened the sepulcher, but found not the apostle there, for one of the brethren had stolen him away and taken him unto Mesopotamia; but from that place where the bones of the apostle had lain Misdaeus took dust and put it about his son’s neck, saying: I believe on thee, Jesu Christ, now that he hath left me which troubleth men and opposeth them lest they should see thee. And when he had hung it upon his son, the lad became whole.
 
          “Misdaeus the king therefore was also gathered among the brethren, and bowed his head under the hands of Siphor the priest; and Siphor said unto the brethren: Pray ye for Misdaeus the king, that he may obtain mercy of Jesus Christ, and that he may no more remember evil against him. They all therefore, with one accord rejoicing, made prayer for him; and the Lord that loveth men, the King of Kings and Lord of lords, granted Misdaeus also to have hope in him; and he was gathered with the multitude of them that had believed in Christ,” (Thirteenth Act. No. 170)
 
          The modern town of Urfa in Turkey represents the ancient Edessa (in Mesopotamia).
 
          There is another tradition which holds that the translation took place at a latter period in the third century.

          Concerning these two traditions Medlicott expressed the following view: “The Alexandrian date towards the middle of the third century (The Ortona record gives the exact date as July 3, 230 A.D.), does appear on general grounds the more probable of the two, because, it fits in better with surrounding data and with the reopening of the trade route to India Via the Euphrates; by the successful termination of the war, the way would be paved for such removal.”1
 
          Fr. Motha Vaz gives a graphic description of this second tradition of the translation in a style peculiar to him: “The testimony of St. Gregory of Tours states that after a long interval of time these remains had been removed thence to the city of Edessa is more reliable. However it is clear from the writings of St. Ephrem that the relics remained at Edessa in A.D. 373. Let me explain how they came there. King Abgar IX was ruling Edessa from A.D. 222 to 225. After his conversion to Christianity, Catholic religion had been declared as the state religion. In those days Mylapore belonged to the diocese of Edessa. Besides, some of the monks from Edessa had established a monastery at Mylapore and were engaged in missionary activities there. It is they who were safeguarding the tomb of the Apostle. The king when he came to know about the Acts of Thomas and of his martyrdom, wishing to bring the bones and respectfully venerate them in his country, sent for that purpose Khabin a merchant to Mylapore. Since he was the envoy sent by the king, through him the monks sent the bones to Edessa. But at the request of the monks and the Christians at Mylapore, a small portion of the spear which pierced through the Apostle and a small piece of bone attached to the point of the spear were left in the tomb itself.”2
 
 


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RELICS OF ST. THOMAS, MYLAPORE, CHENNAI                                
reliquery+of+the+spear+head.jpg
The lance head with which the saint was killed is preserved in the Basilica museum.
 
First time the tomb was opened to take some earth to cure the son of ruling king Mahadeva. The sand from the tomb is believed to have miraculous healing powers. Between A.D. 220 and 232 a merchant called Khabin removed greater portion of the relics to Edessa in Asia Minor. Later this was moved to Chios island and finally to Ortona on the east coast of Italy.
 
A piece of bone and the lance head that used to kill the saint, excavated from the tomb, is kept in a monstrance in the museum.
Saturday, 07 July 2007 09:54 Simon Chumkat.
Marco polo visited the tomb in 1293 and recorded about the miraculous healing powers of the sand taken from the tomb. Pilgrims used to take sand from the tomb back to their homes and keep it with devotion. For the benefit of pilgrims Shrine is providing 'Relic Card' embedded with sand taken from the tomb.
          Further proof may be adduced to justify this claim in the Catholic Encyclopedia:
 
          “A Syrian ecclesiastical calendar of an early date confirms the above. In the quotation given below two points are to be noted which support its antiquity - the fact of the name given to Edessa and the fact the memory of the translation of the Apostle's relics was so fresh to the writer that the name of the individual who had brought them was yet remembered. The entry reads: "3 July, St. Thomas who was pierced with a lance in India. His body is at Urhai [the ancient name of Edessa] 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. Ephraem came to Edessa on the surrender of Nisibis to the Persians, and he lived there from 363 to 373, when he died. This proof is found mostly in his rhythmical compositions. In the forty-second of his "Carmina Nisibina" he tells us the Apostle was put to death in India, and that his remains were subsequently buried in Edessa, brought there by a merchant.”3
 
          St. Ephrem, as an expression of the Devil, repeatedly refers to the translation of the relics of St. Thomas to Edessa in the following verses 4:
 
“Thus howled the Devil, in to what land                                      
Shall I fly from the Just?
I stirred up Death the Apostles to slay,                                               
That by their death I might escape their blows.
But harder still am I now stricken; the Apostle I slew in India     
Has overtaken me in Edessa; here and there he is all himself.
 
There went I, and there was he;                                                                
Here and there to my grief I find him.
The merchant brought the bones;                                                            
Nay, rather they brought him. Lo, the mutual gain!
What profit were they to me,                                                              
While theirs was the mutual gain? Both brought me loss.”
 
“Thomas, whence thy lineage,                                                                              That so illustrious thou should become!                                                  
A merchant thy bones conveys:                                                               
A Pontiff assigns thee a Feast:                                                        
A King a shrine erects.”
 
“The bones the merchant hath brought                                        
Over them an outward watch he kept                                           
They from within the guard over him keep,                                  
Since on divers trades he embarked,                                    
Nothing so priceless did he acquire.”
 
“In his several journeyings to India,                                               
And thence on his return,                                                                        
All riches, which there he found,                                                   
Dirt in his eyes he did repute                                                         
When to thy sacred bones compared.”4
Abba Marcos in his “History of the relics of St. Thomas the Apostle” gives some reliable information about when how the relics were translated to Edessa. He writes:
          “The merchant kahbin, and the inhabitants of the entirely Christian town that possessed a splendid church, having matured the plan to enrich both of them with an invaluable treasure, seized the body of Saint Thomas in 230. The faithful soon started to venerate the body of the saint; and the chronicle of Edessa relates the translation of the Apostle’s relics to a big church dedicated to him on 22nd August 394 (in the time of Bishop Cyrus). The importance of Edessa diminished after 609 as a result of the different foreign occupations of the Persians, the Arabs and the Byzantines. The town was entirely destroyed in 1146”.
 
          It is interesting to know that already when the relics were kept in Edessa, portions of the relics were venerated in Italy also. Professor George Menachery informs how this happened. He says that on the occasion of the removal of the relics from the old church at Edessa to the newly built Basilica of St. Thomas in A.D. 394, some portions of the relics were secured on behalf of three principal churches in Italy. These principal churches in Italy are known as the Cathedral of Nola, the Cathedral of Brescia, and the Cathedral of Milan, during the times of their respective bishops Paulinus, Gaudentius and Ambrose.  
 
          After the destruction of Edessa by the Muslims, as the whole country was liable to be overrun by the rising power of Islam, the Edessan Christians took steps to have the relics removed for safety to Chios an island off the coast of Asia Minor.
(The translation of the body of Saint Thomas to the island of Chios)
 
           Abba Marcos states that in order to save the venerated body of the Apostle, the European crusaders and the natives carried the relics to the island of Chios. The Byzantine and Syrian Churches indicated 6th October (1146) as the date of this translation.
 
          At Chios, the worship of the saint developed very quickly. The existence of a church dedicated to St. Thomas is proved historically, as well as the body of the saint being placed in a silver shrine (casket). The chronicles attest numerous miracles and healings around the relics of the apostle. The silver casket was presented by Anatoles Stratelates in 753 while at Edessa.5
 
          Herman d’ Souza relates that the island of Chios had a chequered history, and therefore it is difficult to know exactly what happened to the relics during the period of their repose over there. They remained in Chios till 1258. But the genuineness of the relics was testified by the slab of chalcedony with the name of the Apostle and his bust engraved on it, which covered the Apostle’s relics while at Chios. This stone is now in the Cathedral of Ortona, Italy.6
 
 
Slab+of+Chalcedony.jpg

The slab of   chalcedony, showing figure bust and Greek inscription – “Agios Thomas,”
meaning Saint Thomas.7


 

 


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THE TRANSLATION OF THE BODY OF SAINT THOMAS
TO ORTONA (ITALY)
 
Abba Marcos gives the following details:
 
 
 
 
Ortona+cathedral.jpg
          “During the war between the republics of Venice and Genoa, wanting to settle up with Genoa, Venice destroys several islands recently conquered by Genoa, one among which was the island of Chios. Three galleys (war ships) from Ortona took part in this expedition and put in sack the island of Chios, under the leadership of the Admiral Leo Accaciuoli. He discovered the tomb of Saint Thomas in the church, ordered to open it, and then got the body of the Apostle and carried it to one of the three galleys. The admiral took away with him the body of the saint and the guardian of the church Father Angi Falconiero, as a prisoner. 
 
Ortona+tomb.jpg
On 6th September 1258, the body of Saint Thomas reached Ortona. Father Falconiero remained at Bari as a prisoner; the religious and civil authorities of Ortona sent a commission to Bari, which registered the event in front of a notary so as to dissipate all doubt and confusion in the future. This act relating the translation of the body of Saint Thomas to Ortona, has been registered by the notary Pavone in Bari (Italy) on 22nd September 1259, signed by him, by other notaries and by eminent personalities.
 
 
Ortona++skeliton.jpg
          “The body of the Saint was put in the main church dedicated to Saint Mary, which took later on the name of Saint Thomas. Illustrious pilgrims paid visits to the tomb of the apostle, among them St. Brigitte of Sweden. Numerous indulgences were granted to the pilgrims who visited the body of Saint Thomas:  by Pope Sixtus IV on 7th July 1479, by Pope Gregory XIII on 13th September 1575, by Pope Clemens VIII on 4th March 1596, by Pope Benedict XIV on 14th September 1742, and by Pope Pius XII on 2nd September 1949.
 

 
 
 
ortona_tomb_of_st__thomas.JPG
          “But the relics knew also some tribulations at Ortona. A tentative robbery of the relics by the Venetians took place in 1475. An act of the notary Giuseppe Massari informs us that in 1566 the church was burnt by the Turks during the sacking of Ortona. The relics were thrown on the ground and the silver chest taken away as spoils of war. The next day, the clergy got back a large portion of the body from the ashes. In 1612, the relics were placed in a gilded bronze casket. A few years later, the cathedral was reconstructed and embellished. 
 
 
 
Ortona+tomb+2.jpg
On 18th February 1799, soldiers of the French army under the general Couthard again profaned the relics, breaking the casket and throwing the bones on the ground. The next day, the canons collected “all the bones of our protector Saint Thomas, which appeared black as they were after the conflagration of 1566”, as relates a document of that time, and put them in a casket. On 20th April 1800, the relics were again placed in a bronze casket, which was duly sealed; the restoration and the embellishment of the apostolic tomb and the cathedral were undertaken. New disaster in 1943: the cathedral was destroyed by the German army. The relics of Saint Thomas could be saved. On 6th September 1949, the altar tomb of the apostle and the reconstructed cathedral were re-consecrated.”8
 
 


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A REGISTER OF RELICS, Compiled by David Sing master mentions the wrist bone of St. Thomas at Cranganore (now Koddungalloor) and the head of a lance, a pot with some blood stained earth and some bones in the tomb of the Apostle at Mylapore, Madras:
 
 “He is said to have landed near Cranganore (now Kodungalloor), Kerala, in 52. The Marthoma Pontifical Shrine there has one of his wrist bones, from the hand that was poked into the side of Christ, supposedly the only relic of Thomas outside Italy. …He is said to have been martyred at Mylapore, now a suburb of Madras and to be buried there in San Thome Basilica, Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu – this is on the site of an earlier Syrian church which was discovered by the Portuguese in 1525 when the tomb was found to contain the head of a lance, a pot with some blood-stained earth and some bones”.9
 
             Christians all over India celebrated the 19th centenary anniversary of the arrival of St. Thomas the Apostle in 1952. For this solemn occasion, a bone from his hand was entombed in the altar of St. Thomas Church in Crangannore.10
 
          St. Thomas had said that he would not believe in the Resurrection till he had felt the Risen Christ and his wounds with his own finger — "Except I put my hand into His side, I will not believe (John 20.25)". In 1952, the Pope decided to gift to India, a portion of this finger from the relics kept at Ortona in Italy, in order to commemorate the 1900 years of arrival of St. Thomas in India and Cardinal Tisserant officiating for the Pope, presented this precious relic to Indian Christianity. Source: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/810969/posts
 
 
Marthoma+church+Kodungalore.jpg
          The Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, a monument to St. Thomas is situated at Marthoma Nagar, Azhikode, Kodungallur, in Kerala. Built in the model of St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, this shrine is a historic pilgrim centre of the Indian Christians, situated on the beautiful banks of the river Periyar. Its historical importance was rightly acknowledged when on the occasion of the 19th centenary celebration of the coming of St. Thomas to India, Holy See, the official seat of the Vatican, thought to offer a befitting gift to St. Thomas Christians in Kerala.
 
 
right+arm+of+st.+Thomas.jpg
          Late Eugene Cardinal Tisserant, the then Prefect of Oriental Congregation solemnly brought the bone of the right arm of the apostlefrom Ortona in Italy and enthroned it in the present Shrine on December 6th, 1953. From the great day onwards, the Shrine has been attracting pilgrims from all over the world irrespective of caste and creed who come to venerate that hand which belonged to the great Saint, a disciple of Lord Jesus Christ. 
 
 
The Marthoma Pontifical Shrine carrying the holy relic of St. Thomas was entrusted by the Holy See to the C.M.I. fathers of Devamatha Province, Thrissur. The relic is enclosed in a glass case and exposed daily from 9 am - 6pm for veneration of the faithful with befitting briefing. Source: Marthoma Pontifical Shrine http://tourism.webindia123.com/tourism/pilgrimcenters/churches/marthomapontificalshrine/index.htm
          The following Email correspondence gives us a curious viewpoint where to look for the relics of St. Thomas: are they surely found in Ortona at present? Whom are they disposed to? Has our Apostle been offered a chance to come back home (to India)?
 
 


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 CINEast Archives
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Re: CE: body of St. Thomas
New Message
 
Date: Fri Mar 14 2003 - 15:57:43 CST
Subject: Re: CE: body of St. Thomas
Allen W Thrasher (athr@loc.gov)
wrote: 
 “ The body of St. Thomas the Apostle was not taken by  Westerners from  India, rather it was early taken from India to  Edessa in Asia Minor, and from thence to Ortona. I don't know the details of any stage, but the initial abstraction was done by Easterners”.
 
In reply to: Allen W Thrasher: "CE: body of St. Thomas"
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 13:57:43 -0800 (PST)
From: "P.M."( ahmadbenbhazir@yahoo.com )
 
Dear Allen,

“Thank you, I had forgotten this. But it doesn't matter to me so much who did what first. Should Rome give back the relics to Edessa and then leave Edessa to give them to India? Perhaps this would work, but who should Rome return them to? The Patriarch of Antioch? The Catholicos-Patriarch of the Assyrians? In this time when Rome is giving relics back to the Copts, the Greeks, and others, I find it troubling that our Apostle is not offered a chance to come back home (to India). Of course, I blame a lot of this on our hierarchs for not making a big stink about it, but surely one should offer to return property rather than wait to be asked?”
 
Do you Yahoo!?  Yahoo! Web Hosting - establish your business online http://webhosting.yahoo.com
 
This archive was generated by hyper mail 2.1.2 on Fri Mar 14, 2003 - 15:58:00 CST
 
          Assuredly our Apostle, by Devine Providence, has been offered a chance to come back home (to India). Though our hierarchs did not intend to do so, the property has been returned to India through a back door quite reliable.
 
          After Vatican II the veneration of relics having been under estimated by the Catholic Hierarchies, S.E. Mgr. Pius Augustus M. Crivellari, O.F.M. succeeded in obtaining a considerable portion (or the whole) of St. Thomas’ relics from Ortona.

The tube containing the relics was sealed by himself at the upper part in 1965.
 
          In 1967 these relics were donated by Father Bernardino M. Genzo, O.F.M to Dr. Pietro Zampieri, honorary Canon of the Cathedral of Valencia, Spain.
 
          In 1981 the relics were again donated to S.E. Mgr. Hieronymus B. Bortingnon, Bishop of Padua.
 
           And in 1983 these relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were donated by the honorary Canon Pietro Zampieri to Abba Marcos, Orthodox Coptic bishop for the territory of France.
 
          Abba Marcos, the Orthodox Coptic bishop really wanted to return the property to India. In the year 1988 when he received news that the Society of St. Pius X had started its mission in India, he as a sign of fraternal devotion wanted to donate the relics to the Superior General of the SSPX so that the relics may be sent to the Priory of SSPX in India.
 
          The author was privileged to be an eye witness when Abba Marcos handed over the treasure of India to Father Franz Schmidberger, Sacerdotal Fraternity of St. Pius X in Switzerland on 6th May 1988, together with the following authentic documents and act of donations dated 10th April 1988.
 
DOCUMENT OF DONATION BY ABBA MARCOS TO THE SUPERIOR GENERAL OF ST. PIUS X SOCIETY
 
The Revost les Eaux
10.4.1988
 
As a sign of fraternal devotion, I Abba Marcos, Orthodox Coptic bishop for the territory of France, offer to
 
Father Franz Schmidberger
Sacerdotal Fraternity of St. Pius X.
 
A reliquary containing the relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle, accompanied by the following documents:
 
1. Copy of the authentic document of S.E. Mgr. Pius Augustus M. Crivellari, O.F.M.
     The tube containing the relics was sealed by himself at the upper part in 1965.
 
2. Act of donation of these relics from Father Bernardino M. Genzo, O.F.M. to Dr. Pietro Zampieri, honorary Canon of the Cathedral of Valencia, Spain, in 1967.
 
3. Authentic document of S.E. Mgr. Hieronymus B. Bortingnon, Bishop of Padua, who sealed the tube again in 1981.
 
4. Document of donation of these relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle by the honorary Canon Pietro Zampieri to Abba Marcos, orthodox Coptic bishop in 1983.
 
These relics were placed in a reliquary of Renaissance style by myself.
 
Abba Marcos
Orthodox Coptic Bishop
for the territory of France   
  
 

 
 
 
 
relic+closeup.jpg



The original copies of the above said documents and the reliquary containing the relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle which you see in these pictures are now preserved in the archives of the Superior of SSPX in India at: The Priory of the Most Holy Trinity, 8A/3 Seevalaperi Road, Annie Nagar, Palyamkottai, Tamil Nadu 627 172, India.
         
reliquery.jpg
 
 
          Thus the great treasure of India, most probably the whole of the remaining relics of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, through the benevolent hands of Abba Marcos Orthodox Coptic Bishop for the territory of France, has reached the land of India (the southern Pandian Kingdom) where St. Thomas commenced his First Mission in 33 A.D. to 46 A.D., without having asked for it.
 
 
 
 
 



 
 


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THE HOLY RELIC

OF THE MOST BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,

 

FROM HER GIRDLE (BELT, CINCTURE)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/79438132@N00/4556379910/
 

 
Girdle+closeup.jpg
          “This most ancient dress piece of Mother Mary has centuries-old tradition of veneration. According to the tradition, it is taken from the grave of Saint Thomas
 
          The Apostle who brought it from Jerusalem to India. Now it is preserved under the guard of Jacobite Syrian Church in Homs, Syria. Scientific studies prove that this girdle is two thousand years old (see picture below, in the comment box) and was made in Palestine.
 
          P.S, This Cincture should not be confused with the Cincture Our Lady gave to Saints Augustine and Monica (Augustinian Cincture)”
 
Girdle+reiquer.jpg
          “This holy and precious relic of the Blessed Virgin Mary can be found at the Syrian Orthodox Church of Homs, Syria.
         
          “By the 7th century a variation emerged, according to which one of the apostles, often identified as St Thomas, was not present at the death of Mary, but his late arrival precipitates a reopening of Mary's tomb, which is found to be empty except for her grave clothes. In a later tradition, Mary drops her girdle down to the apostle from heaven as testament to the event. This incident is depicted in many later paintings of the Assumption.
          “Apocryphal writings from the early church mention that St. Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles except St. Thomas. St. Thomas was brought to Jerusalem by Holy Spirit through 'Oyar' (air) and saw St. Mary's body was taken to heaven by the angels. He got the girdle from St. Mary as a token to show it to other apostles that he actually saw St. Mary in 'Oyar' and to confirm asked the apostles to open the tomb and then there was no body in it. The Apostles concluded that she had been taken up to Heaven, body and soul.
girdle+1.jpg
          “Our Holy Syriac Orthodox Church has the rare privilege to have with her the Girdle of St. Mary. The Holy Girdle of Virgin Mary which was handed over to Apostle St. Thomas, during her assumption to heaven. St. Thomas carried this precious treasure of Virgin Mary with him to India where he died a martyr. In 394 A.D. together with the coffin of St. Thomas, this valuable Girdle of Holy Virgin Mary was also moved from India to Raha and was established in a Church. (In the Syriac history of Raha, it is mentioned that in Aug 22, 705 Greek era they brought the coffin of St. Thomas the apostle to his large church in the days of Mar Kora, the bishop of Raha. Ref: The Orien Biblio of Assimaany, Volume I, page 399). This Church where the Holy Girdle of Virgin Mary was established came to be known as the "The Church of Girdle".
 

Girdle+reliquery+chappel.jpg
“Holy Girdle is now kept in the St. Mary's Soonoro Church in Holms, Syria.
      
“Parts of the Holy Girdle was distributed all over the world, and now the remaining small part is rolled and covered with cotton and is kept in an "Arulikka", in a special place near to the Madbaho in this Church. The Holy Girdle was earlier kept in the 'Altar' and in 1953, when the Church was renovated; it was taken out by L.L. “The
Patriarch Mor Aphrem. It was then carbon tested by the archaeologists to determine its age and after that they confirmed its authenticity. Photographs of these events are also kept near to the Holy Girdle's place. The two stone plates, one with a hole inside where the Holy Girdle was kept, and the other one which was covering the first stone plate with an inscription about it, is also kept in a nearby place of the Madbaho.
         
Girdle+relic+2.jpg

Two stone plates, one with a hole inside 
where the Holy Girdle was kept, 
and the other one which was covering the first stone plate 
with an inscription about it.
 
          “The relic of the Cincture venerated for over 800 years in the Cathedral of Prato has no definite history before 1141. According to a story, a gentleman of Prato, named Michele received the relic as a dowry upon his marriage to Maria of Jerusalem, who claimed to be a direct descendant of St. Thomas the Apostle. Michele was told how the belt had come to his wife's possession, but these details are now unknown.
          “Until 16th Century, the relic was kept folded in a silver box and shown carefully by priests who wore silk gloves. During the 16th Century, the Medici family donated a special double frame reliquary which we now see in the photo above.
          “It is a long strip of green ribbon, 1.27 meters in length, and is made from either goat or camel hair with thin gold threads stretched along its borders. It also has small olive-shaped buttons for hooking”. Source: "Relics" by Joan Caroll Cruz.
 
THE POWER OF THE GIRDLE
 
          When St. Thomas came to India the first time (before the death of Our Lady), he brought with him, like the other apostles, a portion of the relics of Our Lord’s dress and few thorns from the crown of thorns given by the Blessed Virgin Mary. When he came the second time (after the death of Our Lady), he alone was privileged to come wearing in his waist the very girdle of Our Lady Herself. Here let us recall one of the miracles of this girdle against the iniquitous idols and paganism of India.

          F. A. D’Cruz K.S.G. in his “St. Thomas in India” quotes the epic poem called the Lusiads of Louis Camoes, the most sublime figure in the history of Portuguese literature: 
 
“Here rose the potent city, Named Meliapore,
in olden time rich, vast and grand:
Her sons their olden idols did adore
As still adoreth the iniquitous band:
In those past ages stood she far from shore
 When to declare glad tidings over the land 
Thome came preaching after he had trod
A thousand regions taught to know his God
                                                            
“Here came he preaching, and the while he gave
Health to the sick, revival to the dead;
 When chance one day brought floating o’er the wave
A forest tree of size unmeasured:
The King a Palace building life would save
The waif for timber, and determined
The mighty bulk of trunk ashore to train
By force of engines, elephants and men.
 
“Now was that lumber of such vasty size,
No jot it moves, however hard they bear;
When lo! th’ Apostle of Christ’s verities
Wastes in the business less of toil and care
His trailing waist-cord to the tree he ties
Raises and sans an effort haled so nice
A sumptuous Temple he would build the same
A fixt example for all future names”.11