Sunday, December 21, 2008

India's Tryst with Christianity- St. Thomas Basilica, Chennai, India


Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!!
India is a secular country. You will find people of all religions cohabiting peacefully side by side here in India. The general mass of people - the vast majority of people in India live side by side peacefully irrespective of their religions.

I, personally, like churches for two reasons-- anybody can enter without being pestered by the "Pandas" or the Touts of Gods as I will call them who will insist on your taking their help for a "Darshan" (View) of the God/ Goddess inside the temple and a conducted tour (Parikrama) AND the utter cleanliness.

Anyway without raising any hackles of anybody by comparing religions in India, which is not my main purpose I post here some photos of St Thomas Basilica at Chennai, India.

St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, came to India in AD 52, died as a Martyr in AD72 and was buried at Mylapore, San Thome, Chennai, India. [I am sure San Thome name of the locality came from his name only). The Basilica is built over the Tomb of St. Thomas. This is one of the Only Three Basilicas that have been built in the World over a Tomb of an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

This is also the shrinewhere the next mos famous Missionary to India, St Francis Xavier (whose body is venerated in Goa) spent four months in the year 1545 and used to pray before the Statue known as "Our Lady of Mylapore". Even Marco Polo is said to have visited this Shrine in the 13th century.

When the Apostles dispersed to preach in different parts of the world, St.Thomas left for Parthia and India. His stay and preaching in North and South India is mentioned in two well known thirteenth Century Books: The Acts of Thomas (Acta Thomae) an The Teaching of the Apostles (Didascalia Apostolorum).

The Syrian Christians of Kerala, India strongly maintain the tradition, handed down from generation to generation in their Churches and Families, that their forefathers were converts were converts of this Apostle. According to this tradition, the apostle landed in Kodungallur (Cranganore) in Kerala around the middle of the first century of the Christian era (probably AD52) and founded Christian Communities in several places like Kodungallur (Cranganore), Niranam, Kollam (Quilon), Palayur etc.



The stained glass window which you will probably find in every church was constructed in 1896!!







You can download this mini book on the Basilica here. [Please click the link given to get the pdf file] or the pamphlet giving brief information here.







3 comments:

Kalyan said...

That was informative indeed.

Thanks for giving your valuable comments on my blog. I really appreciate that. Would correct the posts now. And yes, keep throwing such comments time to time. It would help me improve.

modern exile said...

keeping with the spirit of christmas ..i see... good reading.. the church is beautiful.. i could not b at chennai but st. joseph was a revelation of sort..
in short had a fabulous christmas.. hope u too had a good one...
keep the spirit alive

ShantanuDas said...

@ Kalyan
you are welcome.. I will indeed keep visiting.

@ Modern Exile
so you are back.. I hope you have posted something on your blog-- I will check. Thanks.. well I enjoyed in my own way... I went on a Tamilnadu Tour, driving down some 2000 kms round trip to some places.. got some photos... (digital is a sin== you tend to get more quantity than quality.. i got some 600!! and so now need time to pick and edit).. will be posting them here soon...
:-)

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