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Thomas

Thomas was a Christian apostle, whose closeness to Jesus Christ earned him the nickname of 'the Twin' or 'Didymus' (in Greek). According to the Bible, Thomas was a carpenter like Jesus. He was the disciple who doubted the resurrection and demanded to feel Jesus' wounds before being convinced.

According to tradition, Thomas left Judea and went to India, where he spread the Christian message and founded a number of churches. There are several churches in the south Indian state of Kerala which still bear his name, and which according to local tradition were started by him. Some of these churches are now in communion with the Antiochian Orthodox Church[?], which is part of Eastern Orthodoxy. See also Indian Orthodox Church.

No convincing written records of Thomas' voyage to India exist; many documents were destroyed when the Portuguese reached western India in 1498 and fought against the local branch of christianity they considered heretical. Modern scholars doubt that Thomas did reach India; however no other reports about Thomas' whereabouts have survived and the voyage would have been possible since a robust spice and slave trade existed between Arabia and India at the time.

Thomas is revered as a saint in both the Roman Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and is remembered each year on St Thomas Sunday, which is always one week after Easter.

The Gospel of Thomas, an apocryphal work, was named, like many apocryphal gospels after a saint - in this case Judas Didymus Thomas; however there are two distinct documents which bear that name. The Church has not recognized the Biblical validity of this work.



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