Devapriyaji - True History Analaysed

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          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.
         “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: “ 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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          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: - 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: 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.
          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)
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.
          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.
          “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”). 
 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. 
          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) 
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. 
 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: /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

1. CHAPTER II. “Introduction of Christianity into Ceylon.”
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2. Wandering in the East, the Gnostic Apostle Thomas: Chapter 19
By K.T.Rajasingham Source: - 48k -
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4. Nallur Rajadhani: City Layout V.N.Giritharan
Chapter 4:  Nallur Kandaswami Temple.                   
 Source: - 17k -
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5. V.N.Giritharan Ibid. Chapter 4.
Source: -17k -
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6. George Moraes Ibid. Page 213, Foot note 18.
7 K.T. Rajasingham, “Was one of the Magi a king from Lanka”
Source: - 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.
11.  Herbert C. Merillat 1997 “Wandering of St. Thomas in the East” Ch. 19.
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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