July 3 is observed as St. Thomas Day world over. The New Testament reckons Thomas – who is also known as “Didymus” (meaning “twin” in Greek) – as one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. Thomas the Apostle is also called “Doubting Thomas” as he expressed reservations about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his existence. But his doubts melted away upon seeing marks of crucifixion on the Christ’s body whom he went on to embrace in submission saying, “My Lord and my God”.
Saint Thomas is known to have spread the gospel of Jesus to the East, as far as India. As per various scriptures, he founded the Christian community in the southeastern region and evangelised the Malabar Coast (now half of Kerala). It is said that Thomas the Apostle baptised three Kings who went on to become India’s first bishops.
Significance of the Day
The Roman Catholic Calendar has observed July 3 as St. Thomas Feast Day since 1969. However, the Germanic Thomas Day is celebrated on the day of winter Solstice on December 21. The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches celebrate the Apostle’s feast day on October 6.
Birth and Death
The missionary was born in 1st century A.D. in Galilee, Roman Empire (now Israel) and he allegedly murdered at St. Thomas Mount, on December 21, 72 A.D. in Mylapore, India
The Apostle Thomas – the messiah
A mythology around missionary Thomas has it that he was commissioned for constructing a palace by an Indian king, but he put the money in the hands of the poor instead. In fact, St. Thomas Day has numerous customs attached to it as the Patron Saint’s day is celebrated three times in a year by Churches of different denominations. In rural England – on the eve of Christmas – people would go “Thomas”, visiting door-to-door to seek donations. In Austria, the shortest day of the year i.e., December 21 is considered holy for exorcising or driving out demons.
Christmas is way off, but we still can do “Thomas” this season by reaching out to the needy. Happy St. Thomas Day 2021!
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