Rev. Mary McCue
St. Thomas, whose feast day is today, is probably most widely remembered for
being the Doubting Thomas portrayed in John’s Gospel. But Thomas was also a
missionary, and figures large in some theological legends.
One legend is that he wrote his own account of the life and times of Jesus. The Gospel
of Thomas and the Acts of Judas Thomas both circulated in those days. Neither one
was deemed sufficient to be included in the Holy Scriptures. Both make
interesting reading, though, adding insights into Thomas’ time with Jesus and into the
time of Jesus.
Another is that before the Apostles left the Holy Land to become missionaries of
the Gospel in other lands, each contributed one line to the Apostles’ Creed,
which we pray today as part of our Morning Prayer service. Thomas is supposed to
have contributed the line “On the third day he rose again.”
What is true about Thomas is that he became a highly successful missionary.
Sent to Parthia, now called India, he founded seven churches there and was esteemed
by Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches. Even today, there are St.
Thomas Christians in India, and a special cross commemorates him.
Thomas was martyred in India. His remains were interred in Chennai, India.
Later, some remains were moved to Ortona, Italy. Churches in both those locations
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington