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In South India - Page 4

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Catholicos Designate

H.B Paulose Mar Milithios

Apostle Of India
Apostle Of India - In South India
Article Index
Apostle Of India
St. Thomas in the Bible
Arrival in India
In South India
Proof of his Arrival
India at that Time
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In South India

Apostle St. Thomas reached 'Muziri in AD 51-52 from the northern part of Indian peninsula visiting many inland-countries and sharing the Gospel in many places as you see the imprints. Perhaps, one reason of selecting the southern coast was flourishing Jewish settlements in along the coast in Kodungallur, Cochin, madras etc., which date back to the Jewish Diaspora or even back to King Solomon's trading centres. Another reason was the flourishing Roman trade links.

"The Apostle St. Thomas landed at Maliankara (i.e Cranganore) with Habban, the merchant. He (St. Thomas) worked great miracles and in eight months established in that town, the Church of Jesus Christ. Then he went to Mailepuram (Mylapore - Madras) where he preached the Gospel of the Lord for four months and a half and embarked for China. He remained in China for four and a half months and returned to Mailepuram. After he had been there for a month a so, the son - in- law of the King of 'Tiruvanchikulam' come to him and besought him to return to Malabar. They embarked on a ship and come to Maliankara (Kodungallore), where, in less than six months, the Apostle converted the King and his family, 40 Jews and 400 heathens.

 

St. Thomas landed at Maliankara (i.e Cranganore) with Habban
A 17th Centuary drawing of St.Thomas going with Abbanes found in Denmark

It is interesting to note that Malikayal' speaks of St. Thomas arrival by sea. The commercial history of the times lends support to this assumption. He must have either sailed from Kalyan in north India or from the island of 'Socotra'. St. Francis Xavier, who landed at Socotra on his way to India about AD 1545, declared that the natives of these islands render special honours to the apostle St. Thomas, claiming they to be the descendents of Christians begotten to Jesus Christ through that Apostle in these countries.

Ka. Naa Subrahmanyam quotes D'Orsay, who consolidating all the available records states that, after forming, on the west coast, several congregations out of Jews and Dravidi people, "Apostle St. Thomas reached Meliapore (Mylapore-Madras). The fame of his miracles had preceded him. The Raja (King Mahadevan) received baptism and a part of his subjects embraced the Gospel. This excited the hatred and jealousy of the Brahmins (The super class people & Priests)and Apostle St. Thomas was pierced with a lance."

T.N Gopal in the Vivekananda Prakashan commenting on this record, states "the legend also has it that he suffered a cruel dreath at the hands of the irate Brahmins. In so far as it points to the hostility that St. Thomas should have provoked among the guardians of Hinduism, the legend has validity.

He was preaching to the people Church surmounted by a cross and ordained priests. One of the first that he ordained was the Son - in - law of the King. King was named Andrew and the Son - in - law, Peter. Accompanied by Peter, the Apostle went to Quilon (Kollam) where he planted a cross and baptized 2400 heathens. From Quilon, he went to the mountain place, Chayal' remained there a whole year as he had done at Quilon and baptized 2,800 heathens and planted a cross. At the request of the two chiefs of 'Triepalesuaram' he returned to that village. But seeing that the people had desecrated the cross he had erected there, he cursed the village (which at the present - day is a heap of ruins) Nevertheless, he remained there for two months. He again erected the cross and instructed the people so that they might not return to heathenism and ordained priest St. Thomas, one of the chiefs who had always remained strong in his faith. During this two months that he remained at 'Triepalesuaram', he confirmed in their faith all the Christians and converted 200 pagans. Not far from there, to the south, he built the Church of 'Niranam' and ordained priests, his first disciple St. Thomas Maliyakel who has a native of the place. He then repaired to 'Kokkamangalam', where he dwelt one year and converted 1500 heathens erected a cross and taught the people how to honour God. He visited again Kottakavu - Paraur, remaining there nearly a year and converted 2,200 people.

There he went by the southern road to Maliankara and was pleased to see the flourishing state of that Christian community. He stayed there only two weeks and started for the north, proceeding to 'Palayur' where in one month he baptized 1,280 pagans, and according to his habit, erected a great cross. Towards the end of the year, 59 (AD 59) he returned to Maliepuram (Mylapore).

He came back to Malabar and the Angels protected him during the journey. He remained two months in 'Maleattur' and converted 220 pagons. He stayed a whole year at 'Niranam' and was satisfied with the faith of the people there and with the exemplary life they led, and gave Confirmation to all those that had not yet received sacrament. He proceeded to 'Chayal' taking with him his disciple, St. Thomas Rabban Malikayal. During the year he stayed there, he built a Church and ordained priests and conferred the holy sacrament of Confirmation on all who had not yet received it. After that he took leave of the Christians and told them that they would never see him again.

And he started for the country of Tamils. St. Thomas Rabban and Peter, the son-in-law of the King, accompanied him for seven miles and a half and took leave of him.