6 October: St Thomas Apostle

He was one of the twelve Great Apostles. Through his doubt of the Resurrection of the Lord Christ, a new confirmation was given of that wonderful and saving event, for the risen Lord appeared again to His disciples, to convince Thomas. The Lord said to Thomas: “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side . Do not be unbelieving, but believing,” and Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the apostles cast lots to see who would go where to preach the Gospel, it fell to Thomas to go to India. He was somewhat saddened at having to go so far away, but the Lord appeared to him and comforted him. In India, St. Thomas converted many, both rich and poor, to the Christian faith, and founded a Church there, making priests and bishops. Among others, St. Thomas converted two sisters, Tertiana and Mygdonia, wives of Indian princes. Both sisters were ill-treated for their faith by their husbands, who would not live with them after their baptism, and divorced them. Being freed from their marriages, they lived godly lives till their death. Prince Misdaeus, the husband of Tertiana, whose wife and son Iuzanes Thomas baptised, condemned the Apostle to death, and sent five soldiers who ran him through with their lances, and thus the holy Apostle Thomas gave his soul into the hands of his Christ. Before his death, he, with the other apostles, was miraculously borne to Jerusalem for the funeral of the most holy Mother of God. Arriving late, he grieved bitterly and, at his request, the tomb of the Most Pure was opened, but the body was not there; the Lord had taken His Mother to His heavenly home. Thus St. Thomas first, by his unbelief, confirmed the faith in the Resurrection of the Lord and then, by his late arrival, revealed to us the wondrous glorification of the Mother of God.

We have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens’ (2Cor-5:1) says the discerning Apostle Paul. All our labour on earth for God has this one aim: to strive with all our strength to attain to that eternal home not made with hands in the heavens.

An Indian king, Gundafor, decided to build himself a magnificent palace, the like of which had never been seen on earth. When his envoy, Havan, sought skilled workers capable of building such a palace for the king, they came, by God’s providence, to meet the Apostle Thomas, who told them that he was skilled in such work and that no-one could build the king what he wanted without his, Thomas’, help. Thomas therefore received a great sum of gold from the king to build this palace. As soon as he left the king’s presence, he gave all the gold away to the poor. After two years, the king sent servants to ask Thomas if the palace was ready, as it was being built at some distance from the capital. Thomas replied: ‘All is ready except for the roof’, and he asked for more money from the king and was given it.

Thomas again gave it all away to the poor and went around the kingdom doing his own work, which was the preaching of the Gospel. The king discovered that Thomas had not even begun to build the palace, so he seized him and threw him into prison. That night, the king’s brother died, and the king was grief-stricken. An angel took the dead man’s soul and carried it to Paradise, and showed him a wonderful palace such as the mind of man could not imagine. The soul of the dead man wanted to go into that palace, but the angel told him that he could not, as it was the palace that the Apostle Thomas had built for his brother with the alms he had given. Then the angel returned the man’s soul to his body.

When the man came to himself, he said to the king, his brother: ‘Swear that you will give me anything I ask of you.’ And the king swore that he would. His brother then said: ‘Give me the palace you have in heaven.’ The king was amazed, and doubted greatly that there could be any such palace in heaven, but, when his brother explained it all to him, he was convinced and immediately released Thomas from prison. When they heard from the Apostle’s lips the words of salvation and eternal life, the king and his brother were both baptised. The king gave himself to further almsgiving, that he might build himself a yet more wonderful palace in heaven.

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