St. Thomas Basilica,


St. Thomas Basilica is located on a hillock the St Thomas Mount, in the city of Chennai.

St.Thomas, an Apostle of Christ, reached Western coast of India between 52 and 72 A.D. How he traveled from Europe and which route he took is still left to mystery. However, a very interesting story /myth is popular about this. After the crucifixion Jesus resurrected on the third day and appeared before his disciples. At this moment St.Thomas was not available on the spot. When his brother disciples told him about the resurrection of Jesus he refused to believe and told them that he will not believe unless and until he see himself and touch the nailed hands of the Lord. As demanded Jesus appeared before him and asked him to touch His nailed palm and uttered these words “blessed are those who hath not seen and still believe”.

After this incident Jesus asked his disciples to spread his teachings and messages far and wide. During this time an emissary of a king from South India visited Rome in search of an architect . During his search he sought the help of someone to find a good architect who pointed at St.Thomas who was also a well known architect. At first St. Thomas did not agree to go with him . At this moment Jesus appeared and told him “ this man is my slave . I am giving him to you“. So St.Thomas had no other go and he accepted to go with the kings emissary.

After reaching in South he traveled along the west coast and built many churches drawing huge sums from the public exchequer. When asked about the construction of the palace, he told the kind that it is coming up beautifully. The king was suspicious about this and decided to punish the saint . That day he had a dream in which he saw himself walking in a strange place along with his men. On seeing a beautiful palace the king asked his men whose is this palace and they replied that it is his own for he had ordered to built one. From this incident the kind realized that the saint is not an ordinary man and respected him.

St.Thomas traveled to Mylapore in Chennai. He chose a hilly area named little mount and found a small cave where he stayed and preached. During those upper caste Hindus/Brahmins were prominent in the society. The scheduled caste Hindus were not allowed to enter into temples and were treated very badly. It was at this time the saint reached in India and started spreading the message of Christ which brought great relief to the poor. He built a church in Santhome and continued to preach. Preaching a new religion in a country where majority of the population are Hindus created problems. This made the upper class Hindus in the area restless and one fanatic Hindu chased the saint and killed him near his cave in little mount. You can see his palm print even now in the cave.

A church was built by the Portuguese who came to India in 16th century. But this church was demolished in 1893 and a new church was built in 1896. A flight of about 160 steps leads you to this church. Inside the church you can see paintings of Madonna by St.Luke. The most mysterious relic is the bleeding cross. The cross started sweating blood in 1558. Even now you can see the stains of blood on the cross even after scrubbing the stains it reappears.

There is a spring near the church and the water is believed to have some curative powers. The little mount was named after the saint and is known as St.Thomas Mount. This place is very near to Chennai International Airport. Every year a festival is held at little Mount after Easter.


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