Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

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        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 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
                                |              |                                   |
          Joackim + Anne    Heli (Eliackim) + Roa + Diophanes
                                |              |                                   |
                           Mary  +  Joseph                     Thomas + Zephora              
        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.

               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)     

“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”.
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:
4. First Latin Form concerning the Passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary,                                                     Source:                                                           
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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