Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

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          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.”


        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.


        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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            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.).


        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.

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.



                 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. 
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).

             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). 
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.



            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.
            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
            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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