A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
St Thomas the Apostle (תוֹמָאס הקדוש, Θωμᾶς, ⲑⲱⲙⲁⲥ, ܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ, മാര് തോമാ ശ്ലീഹ, Didymus (twin), Doubting Thomas, Judas Thomas, Apostle of India) (d72). Lutheran Lesser Festival and Episcopal, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Syriac Catholic, Latin and Liberal Catholic Church and Anglican Communion Feast Day for the relic translation to Edessa of the Jewish Galilean First Century member of the Twelve Apostles who doubted Jesus’ resurrection but later confessed his faith with: “My Lord and my God,” on the wounds. Thomas travelled to and preached the gospel in Kerala and southern India, where he founded the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in 54, the present Kerala Niranam St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church (Niranam Valiya Pally) being one of the oldest churches in India and in the world and where relics of St Thomas are enshrined. Thomas was martyred near Mylapore, Chennai (Madras) on 21 December 72 by jealous Hindu priests of Kali and some of his relics remain in the Santhome St Thomas Cathedral Basilica there. In 232, the greater portion of the relics was sent by an Indian king to Edessa, Mesopotamia and remained there until 1258, when they were translated to Chios, the fifth-largest of the Greek islands, the skull being at the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on Patmos. Some relics were translated to the Cathedral of St Thomas the Apostle in Ortona, Abruzzo. The finger bones were discovered during restoration work at the Church of Saint Thomas in Mosul, Iraq in 1964 and translated the 25 miles to the Monastery of Saint Matthew on 17 June 2014. Venerated by the Christians of St Thomas and by all Christian Churches that venerate Saints. Muslim exegesis identifies Thomas as one of the Twelve Disciples. Major shrine St Thomas Cathedral Basilica in Mylapore. Alternative Feast Day 21 December Malankara Orthodox, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian churches, Lutheran Church, Anglican Communion, Hispanic Church. 6 October and Thomas Sunday Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches. 26 Pashons and Thomas Sunday Coptic Christianity. Commemorated in common with all Apostles on the 30 June Synaxis of the Holy Apostles and with the icon of the Theotokos (Mother of God) on 6 September. The Malankara Orthodox church also celebrates Thomas’ Feast on 18 December for the day he was lanced. Patron of architects. Image: The Postal Department of India nineteen-hundredth commemorative stamp of his mission to the country, issued 2 December 1964.
Prayer Thomas the Apostle doubted Your Blessed Son’s resurrection but later confessed his faith with: “My Lord and my God,” on the holy wounds and travelled to and preached the gospel in Kerala and southern India. O Father of our faith, Who spread the light of Christ in the hearts of the people of India, we pray to You to strengthen us with love and faith in Jesus Christ so that we may dedicate ourselves to the Kingdom of justice, peace and love. Amen
Maidyoshahem Gahambar (Midsummer feast). End of ancient Zoroastrian festival from 29 June, one of 6 Gahambars (proper season 5-day festivals of obligation) during the year, reflecting the 6 primordial creations of Ahura Mazda, the religion’s highest divinity. They are Amesha Spentas, immortal holy, bounteous and furthering the divine entities emanating from Ahura Mazda. They may be celebrated months in advance, depending on which of the Parsi calendars (Shenshai, Kadmi or Fasli) is used. Each Gahambar focusses on worship and those celebrating will perform only necessary work, this last day usually being observed. Worshippers celebrate with a Jashan rite, a Zoroastrian liturgy that can be performed outside the confines of a fire temple. Jashan is derived from the Avestan yasna and denotes a ceremony with offerings for the wellbeing of both the spiritual and physical worlds, with the priestly exchange of flowers symbolising the passage of the soul (urvan) from one life to the next. Rich and poor normally worship together, joyously sharing communal food, forming new friendships and resolving old disputes. Image:youtube.com.
Naomh Cilléne Droichtech (St Cilléne the Bridgemaker, Den Hellige Cilléne Droichtech av Iona, little man of the church) (d752). Feast Day commemorating the death of the noble sixteenth Irish Abbot of Iona, who renewed the ninth Abbot St Adomnán’s Lex Innocentium Law of the Innocents, which protected women, children and the clergy, especially during warfare. Cilléne retired as Abbot before his death and became a hermit on Iona. The Abbot of Iona was the Medieval head of Iona Abbey and the leader of the monastic community of Iona, as well as the overlord of scores of monasteries in both Scotland and Ireland, including Durrow, Kells and, for a time, Lindisfarne. It was one of the most prestigious clerical positions in Medieval Europe and was visited by Kings and Bishops of the Picts, Franks and Anglo-Saxons. The Ionan abbots also had the status of Comarba of Colum Cille as the successors of Saint Columba. Iona was originally named Hy but became known as I-Colm-Kill (Columba Island), Iona or Holy Island. Iona’s position as the head of the Columban network (familia) of churches declined with the presence of abbots based at Derry, Raphoe, Kells and Dunkeld. In Scotland, the abbots of Dunkeld ruled much of central Scotland in the Eleventh Century and were some of the most important politicians of northern Britain. An Augustinian nunnery was established at Iona in the Twelfth Century and at the beginning of the Thirteenth Century the Columban monks of Iona adopted the Benedictine Rule. Image: wikiwand.com.