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St Thomas the Apostle ?


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#1 Tom Neufeldt

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:09 AM

Hello,
I'm curious about literature describing this saint. I know that the gospel with his name attached to it is considered to be gnostic and therefore of no interest to me.

I would like to know what good, orthodox literature has to say about St Thomas, his life, and teaching.

I am told that the Orthodox actually refer to him as St Thomas the Believer. I know that he went to India, and served there.

Is there anything about his teachings or how he had to grapple with a need to know as opposed to the simple faith of the rest? This is my area of interest. How did he and everyone else come to grips with his desire for "proof?"

Thank you,
Tom Neufeldt

#2 Olga

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 04:33 AM

A way of looking at Thomas' "unbelief" is not as someone who demanded physical proof of the Resurrection, but an expression of genuine incredulity at the thought of someone rising from the dead. Thomas was a carpenter, a tradesman, used to dealing with tangible, concrete things. He was indeed a man of faith - after all, it was he who said Let us go there [to Bethany], so that we may die with Him, when returning to that place was very likely to put them all in danger again.

Here's a link to the hymnography for the first Sunday after Easter, known as Thomas' Sunday, and for the feast of the Apostle, celebrated on October 6. There is much food for thought there:

http://www.anastasis...k/ThomasSun.htm

http://www.anastasis...uk/6october.htm

#3 IoanC

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:10 AM

"On the eighth day after the Resurrection, the Lord appeared to the Apostle Thomas and showed him His wounds. "My Lord and my God," the Apostle cried out (John 20:28). "Thomas, being once weaker in faith than the other apostles," says St. John Chrysostom , "toiled through the grace of God more bravely, more zealously and tirelessly than them all, so that he went preaching over nearly all the earth, not fearing to proclaim the Word of God to savage nations."
Some icons depicting this event are inscribed "The Doubting Thomas." This is incorrect. In Greek, the inscription reads, "The Touching of Thomas." In Slavonic, it says, "The Belief of Thomas." When St Thomas touched the Life-giving side of the Lord, he no longer had any doubts. "

Full article here:
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostle_Thomas


From the Akathist Hymn which I cannot find in its entirety, but would definitely contain considerable information about St. Thomas, if nowhere else could be found:

""Troparion
(Tone 2)

You were a disciple of Christ
And a member of the divine college of Apostles. Having been weak in faith you doubted the Resurrection of Christ. But by feeling the wounds you believed in His all-pure passion: Pray now to Him, O all-praised Thomas to grant us peace and great mercy.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
Thomas, the faithful servant and disciple of Christ, Filled with divine grace, cried out from the depth of his love: You are my Lord and my God!"
"

#4 IoanC

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:31 PM

Forgive me, I did not see Olga's post initially. She posted the entire Akathist.

#5 Olga

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:31 PM

Forgive me, I did not see Olga's post initially. She posted the entire Akathist.


That is because Tom posted two very similar threads - I replied to one of them, and you replied to the other. The threads have now been merged. :)

I posted links to the services of Vespers and Matins, Ioan, not the akathist. But an akathist to the apostle would agree with what the other services say.

#6 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 09:49 PM

I tend to think that perhaps St. Thomas who was no doubt very despondent after Christ's crucifixion, upon hearing that He had risen, simply dared not give in to a possibly false hope. I can certainly imagine, when he heard the news, that rather than risking being crushed twice, once with seeing the death of his Lord, and then again finding "rumors" of Christ risen false. He dared not hope to find such joy, and simply said "unless I see Him myself, and verify that it is indeed Him, I dare not get my hopes up." But that might just be me.

Herman

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 22 December 2011 - 11:01 PM.


#7 IoanC

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 06:25 AM

I tend to think that perhaps St. Thomas who was no doubt very despondent after Christ's crucifixion, upon hearing that He had risen, simply dared not give in to a possibly false hope. I can certainly imagine, when he heard the news, that rather than risking being crushed twice, once with seeing the death of his Lord, and then again finding "rumors" of Christ risen false. He dared not hope to find such joy, and simply said "unless I see Him myself, and verify that it is indeed Him, I dare not get my hopes up." But that might just be me.

Herman


Thomas was (over) prudent and a bit cowardly, but The Church attributes this to his weakness in Faith -- that is Thomas was more of a beginner in Faith than the others, and thus was making the mistakes that many beginners naturally make. What The Church also teaches is that after Thomas saw Christ's wounds he became more zealous and brave than all the others were at that time, leaving them behind only for them to 'catch up' with Thomas at a later time. So, Thomas behaved like many believers do -- at first they are very doubtful, but as Christ strengthens them, they become Saints. The other apostles did not struggle so bad with lack of faith in the beginning, but neither did they have that powerful change of heart that Thomas did -- their process was a slower one, again, typical of many a believer. It is important to point out the weaknesses which are due to the illnesses of our souls, as well as the virtues that emerge, so that we can diagnose the illness properly and find the right cure.

#8 Kosta

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 07:47 AM

We can only put together pieces of the puzzle, as not much is recorded of St Thomas with certainty. We know he arrived late at the funeral of the Mother of God. This mimics how he was the last disciple to hear of the ressurection. In a vision after the opening of her tomb the Theotokos hands over her belt to Thomas as evidence that she was translated.

Historically, Eusebius of Caesaria relates how Pantaneus in 190 a.d.(head of the catechetical alexandrian school) went to India on a missionary journey where he found indian christians using a hebrew version of the gospel of St Matthew who converted them by a Mar Tholmai. It seems this name translates as bartholomew but some believe it was a misundertanding and Pantaneus probably heard the name Mar Thoma (thomas). Thomas most likely preached in the northern area ruled by a king with the title Gondophares IV Sases. When the roman seige of Jerusalem began in 66a.d. many (Cochin) jews migrated to the malabar coast. St Thomas probably then went to the south to preach to this jewish diaspora, where he made converts and was eventually martyred in Mylapore in 72 a.d. His relics were transfered to Edessa then to Chios and finally to Italy.

#9 Tom Neufeldt

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 09:24 PM

Thank you all, and God bless you this Nativity season.

I will continue to read and pray.

Tom

#10 H. Smith

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 02:59 AM

May I please ask if anyone may recommend literature on St Thomas' mission in India?

A problem I see is that there is the gnostic, apocryphal "Acts of Thomas", and there is a risk that those Acts can be a source of modern retellings of Thomas' story. I instead am interested in literature that tells an orthodox story of his time there.

 

I can start a new thread if you like.

 

This looks good:

 

This detailed a nalysis  concludes that substantial evidence supports the claim that Thomas was the first t o  establish Christian communities on the continent in the first century CE wit h the purpose  of evangelization.       

http://digitalcommon...srhonors_theses

 

The Apostle of India: Post VII - Travels Amongst the Saint Thomas Christians of India

http://archideaconal...tians_4987.html

 

 

 

This is old and not Orthodox:

India and the Apostle Thomas: An Inquiry, with a Critical Analysis, By Adolphus E. Medlycott

https://books.google..." india&f=false






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