Big Mount Thomas
"Big Mount Thomas"
Saint Thomas, The Apostle
It is part of
Indian history that Saint Thomas lived in India's Malabar and Coromandel
Coasts for nearly 20 years. Year 52 AD he, according to tradition, landed in
Muziris, modern-day North Paravur and Kodungallore in Kerala state.
Muziris was an ancient seaport at the Malabar coast and an urban center
in south-western India, that existed from around 1st century.
By preaching the words of Christ to jewish
settlers and locals, he baptized and won several
converts today known as Saint Thomas Christians or Nasranis.
He built churches at places like: Palayur, Quilon.
Chatil, Cranganur, Parur, Niranom, Kottamangalam. Thereafter he crossed
the Western Ghats to the Coromandel Coast. At Little Mount Thomas in
Chennai, former called Madras, he lived in a cave for many years. At Big St.
AD, while praying before the
granite cross carved by Thomas himself, he was pierced to death and
became a martyr, dying embracing the cross. He was buried at the site of Saint
Basilika, at the Marina Beach of Chennai.
In December 18th, 1955, the first
president of the republic of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad spoke on the
Celebrations of St. Thomas Day in New Delhi:
"Remember, St. Tomas came to India when many of the countries of
Europe had not yet become Christian, and so those Indians who trace
their Christianity to him have a longer history than many of the European
countries. And it is really a matter of pride that it so happened."
In the 16th century,
the Portuguese were told of the burial place of the Apostle Thomas, by
the natives and others and were taken there by Armenian merchants in the
year 1517. From that year onwards, the Portuguese bean to settle down in
Mylapore. In a few years, they discovered many other places and
monuments in the vicinity of Mylapore, such as the Big Mount and the
Little Mount. In 1523 they excavated the tomb and found a few relics
therein. No other place has put forward a serious claim of possessing
the grave of the Apostle.
Christians reached India during the first century
dated from the birth of Jesus Christ. There is strong evidence that one of
Jesus' apostles, Thomas reached India in 52 AD, only 20 years after
the crucifixion of Christ.
settled in Malabar and later expanded his missionary work to China.
Three places related to St. Thomas in
It is widely believed that Thomas was
martyred in Tamil Nadu on his return to India in 72 AD.
According to legend, he is buried on
Thomas in Mylapore, a suburb south west of the
city center of modern Chennai, formerly known as Madras.
Big Mount Thomas, is a small rocky hill just north of
Chennai airport. It takes its name from Sct. Thomas and it
was here an enemy stabbed Thomas in the back during prayer.
Sct. Thomas Basilika,
is a church built in Portuguese style by the Thomas Christians.
Still there is a strong community of believers in Sct.
Thomas in the Chennai area.
Before he died
at Mylapur, he erected a very large cross and predicted to
the people that when the sea would advance to the very foot
of that cross, God would send them, from a far distant land,
white men who would preach to them the same doctrine he had
taught them. This prophesy was verified when the Portuguese
arrived in the region , and found the ocean had advanced so
far as to be truly at the foot of the cross. At the foot of
this cross was a rock where St. Thomas, while praying
fevently, suffered his martyrdom by a blow from the lance of
a pagan priest. This happened according to the Romas
Breviary, at Calamine, whichis in fact Meliapur, for in the
language of the people the word Calurmine means on the rock
(mina). The name was given the site in memory of the
A serene and
beautiful relic-filled church built by the Portuguese stands
on top of this 300-foot hillock. Pope John Paul II visited
St. Thomas Mount on February 5th 1986.
Miracles of Saint Thomas'
|One of the first
miracles that the Apostle performed is said to have been at the temple
tank at Palayur where the Brahmins were having their "Snanam", their
morning bath. Challenged by them to perform a miracle in the water, the
saint is said o have taken some water in his cupped hands and thrown it
into the air. A depression was found in the place from where the water
was scooped out and the drops of water that stood in the air turned into
flowers and fell back into the tank.
In the "Acts of Thomas", we also find good
many incidents of miracles worked by the saint: The miracle concerning
the serpent, the Colt, the Captain, the wild asses, the wife of Misdaeus
and Vasan, son of Misdaeus.
When S. Francis
Xavier landed in Kerala, he came across a very strong Christian
population in India and wrote to St. Ignatius Loyola in Rome that he met
many Christians in Kerala.
The Impressions at Little
|St. Thomas has left
behind lasting impressions for generations after generations, of persons
and stones, rocks, with his chisel and hammer and more so with
impressions of his person, even blood itself, as we can see even today
at Little Mount Cave, where he left his foot print, finger print and
blood stains at the altar and at the rocks inside and outside the cave.
In Saint Thomas days Little
Mount was a jungle of trees and scrubs. Thomas was ever in danger of
loosing his life and sought refuge in the cave at Little Mount. Still
the cave can be seen. It is about 14 feet broad and 15-16 feet long and
7 feet in its greatest height. One enters with some difficulty through a
crevice in the rock. The crevice is about 5 feet height and a little
more that 1 1/2 foot broad.
at the beginning of "Via Dolerosa"
"Via Dolerosa" inspired by the
road to Golgata in Jerusalem.
"Via Dolerosa" depicting the
sufferings of Jesus Christ before the crucifiction.
Mother Mary and the infant child Jesus
The life-size statues of station of the
Text on the monument: "This is a holy place, please keep silent, place
|The imposing calvary overlooking the
city of Madras, built on the hallowed spot of the martyrdom of the
apostle by his grace Archbishop Louis Mathias in 1963.
"Big Mount Thomas" is situated very near
to Chennai International Airport.
Many school children is visiting the holy
place every year.
Sign telling about the specialities of
this revered place
|This church dedicated to our lady of
expectation, is built by the Portuguese in 1547 A.D. The prayerhall is
built 1523 A.D.
1. Relic: A piece of the bone of St.
Thomas, the Apostle
2. The bleeding Cross: While praying before it, St. Thomas was martyred
and it was stained with his blood. His cross was discovered in 16th
century when digging the foundation of the church. It used to sweat
blood on the 18th of Deember, every year from 1551 to 1704.
3. Miraculous picture of our Lady: Painted by St. Luke and brought by
4. Fourteen ancient paintings of Jesus Christ, St. Paul and Jesus'
The Bible has not passed down any
information concerning the whereabouts, early life or the parents of St.
Thomas and he is known as the silent leader of the apostles.
Christianity has a strong foundation in India which is pawed by the
Apostle Saint Thomas.
Saint Thomas Church entrance.
The church. dedicated to our lady of expectation,
is built by the Portuguese in 1547 A.D.
Sermon in progress.
A relic in form a cross with St. Thomas bone fragment is seen to the
left of the altar.
Old painting with the martyrdom of St. Thomas is seen on top of the
The Bleeding Cross, according to tradition, carved by St. Thomas
Altar with the "Bleeding Cross" carved by
St. Thomas himself and
the very old painting depicting the stabbing of Thomas
The stabbing of Thomas
The "Bleeding Cross"
|The "Bleeding Cross" is
according to tradition carved by St. Thomas himself. While praying
before it, he was martyred and it was stained with his blood. This cross
was discovered in 16th century when digging the foundation of the church.
It used to sweat blood on the 18th of December, known as St. Thomas Day, every year from 1551 to
A similar but simpler cross is found on
Little Mount Thomas near
the miraculous water spring at St. Thomas pulpit where he used to
The Bleeding Cross
piece of St. Thomas bone
Relic with a piece of Saint Thomas' bone
Close up of relic with Saint Thomas' bone
Jesus Christ, a side altar for personal
Saint Paul, the promoter of Christianity
throughout the world
One of the fourteen
ancient paintings of Jesus Christ, St. Paul and Jesus' twelve apostles.
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