Following Christ’s Resurrection, He met with the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee and instructed them to baptize all nations and spread the Faith. Since the Great Commission given by Christ to go and convert the whole world, missionaries have traveled to every corner of the Earth to spread the Gospel.
One such corner of the Earth is in India, to which Saint Thomas the Apostle traveled – 3,000 miles from home – not even 20 years after the Resurrection.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
According to tradition, Saint Thomas, known as the Apostle of India, is believed to have sailed to the ancient port of Muziris on the Kerala coast of India arriving the year 52 A.D. Taking the Great Commission by Christ to heart, Saint Thomas thought the rich, diverse trading center of Kerala was a prime location to preach the Word and spread the Gospel as far and wide as possible.
“The Savior appeared to him through the night, and said to him: Fear not, Thomas; go away to India, and proclaim the word; for my grace shall be with thee.” – Acts of Thomas
According to the New Testament apocrypha, the Lord himself commanded Thomas to travel to India and spread the Faith. When he arrived, it is said the first thing he saw was Hindu Brahmins, offering ablutions to their pagan sun god by throwing water up into the air with it falling back into a tank. He made a deal with them, saying if his God accepted the water and not let it fall back, they would have to embrace Christianity. He completed the Sign of the Cross and threw the water into the air where it remained still without falling. In this miracle he began his evangelism of India, baptizing the Brahmins in the same tank.
During his time in India, Saint Thomas became known for giving to the poor and needy. A pious legend says he collected money for some time from a rich king to build a mansion, but kept giving the money away. When the king found out, he was furious and had Saint Thomas imprisoned. The king’s brother died suddenly, and was given a vision of a golden mansion being built in Heaven by virtue of Thomas’ good deeds. When questioned by the king, Saint Thomas explained the palace he was building was not on Earth, but in Heaven. When the King accepted God’s Will, his brother came back to life, and they both converted.
Saint Thomas was martyred for his beliefs on a small hill, known as the Saint Thomas Mount, in the year 72 A.D. In total he spent twenty years in India where he spread the Faith, tended to the poor and needy, built many new churches, and formed parishes.
Saint Thomas’ mission did not die with him, and he left a lasting mark through his efforts to evangelize the people of India. Today, the community of Saint Thomas Christians in Kerala continue his legacy of helping the poor and needy. Through a charitable donation with MISSIO, you too can continue the mission of Saint Thomas and help provide aid to those who need it most.
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