Friday, June 17, 2005

India

India

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14658b.htm

We owe an enormous debt to a man history has dubbed as the “doubting Thomas.” [/i][/url] According to Marco Polo, Saint known by his Syriac name of Didymus or twin drew the lot for India and decided that he would not go to India. Following this decision and taking his leave from the twelve, Saint Thomas had been ambushed and sold into slavery. His master, the Rajah of Bokhara, a region encompassing the modern states of Afghanistan, Baluchistan, the Punjab, and Sind, wanted a carpenter and commissioned his new servant to build for his master a new palace. Saint Thomas used the money to give alms to the poor. The incensed Rajah threw Saint Thomas into prison by which he escaped. The miraculous escape evoked a conversion from the Rajah.

Legend has it that Saint Thomas made his escape to Malabar on the coast of India where Christians in communion with the Holy Father in Rome practice a rite of Christianity in the Syriac tongue. In the 1500’s, these Malabar Christians embraced their Portuguese brethren until the sea faring Portuguese tried to enslave them. Malabar Christians still exist today in India yet not many Christians inhabit the modern lands of Thomas’ former master. Less than three percent of Pakistan’s inhabitants are Christians. Similar statistics can be found in Central Asia.

2 comments:

Deepak Thomas said...

The South Indian state of Kerala (Malabar is a region of Kerala) has a sizeable christian population, roughly 6 million, making up around 20% of the state's population. India as a country has about 25 million christians, making up 2.3% of the population. Kerala christians who claim descendancy from converts of St. Thomas are called Syrian Christians. A large portion of Kerala christians are later converts, called Roman Catholics or Latin Catholics (with similar Protestant denominations). Another factoid is that St. Thomas is believed to be buried in Madras (Chennai) in the neighboring state of Tamilnadu. While a tomb exists, the facts remain unverifiable due to the length of time involved.

cherub said...

I have worked with a lot of nurses who were originally from Kerala, India while worling as a contract worker in Muscat, Oman. Most of them are Protestant Christians. The Indians from Goa were of Portuguese last names and mostly Catholic. I believe we all share the gift of the Holy Spirit that Christ has given us. A similar story of St Thomas' martyrdom was told to me from the same Christian Indian nurses I had worked with. It is edifying to be a part of a greater community of Christians though culturally distinct, do share the love for Jesus Christ, of God; while yet He provides for His own, He also suffers with its own. That is our faith.