Thomas the Apostle (Biblical Hebrew: תומאס הקדוש; Coptic: ⲑⲱⲙⲁⲥ; Classical Syriac: ܬܐܘܡܐ ܫܠܝܚܐ Thoma Shliha; also called Didymus which means “the twin”) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, according to the New Testament.
He is informally referred to as “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted Jesus’ resurrection when first told (in the Gospel of John account only), followed later by his confession of faith, “My Lord and my God,” on seeing Jesus’ wounded body.
Traditionally, he is said to have traveled outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, traveling as far as Tamilakam, which are the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in present-day India. According to tradition, Thomas reached Muziris, (modern-day North Paravur and Kodungalloor in the state of Kerala, India) in AD 50 and baptized several people, founding what today are known as Saint Thomas Christians or Mar Thoma Nazranis. After his death, the reputed relics of Saint Thomas the Apostle were enshrined as far as Mesopotamia in the 3rd century, and later moved to various places. In 1258, some of the relics were brought to Abruzzo in Ortona, Italy, where they have been held in the Church of Saint Thomas the Apostle. He is often regarded as the Patron Saint of India, and the name Thoma remains quite popular among Saint Thomas Christians of India.
Image: “St. Thomas by Georges de La Tour” (1583-1652)