Tag Archives: christian mythology

How Christians created their persecution mythology – Candida Moss


“There is an overpowering myth that Christianity was built on violent persecution by the Roman emperors. But that is very bad history—and sets a dangerous precedent for hyperbolic accusations of a ‘war on Christians’ today.” – Dr. Candida Moss


The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer by Jean-Léon Gérôme


For Christians, the crucifixion is the event that changed everything. Prior to the death of Jesus and the emergence of Christianity most ancient people interpreted oppression, persecution, and violence as a sign that their deity was either irate or impotent. The crucifixion forced Jesus’s followers to rethink this paradigm. The death of their leader was reshaped as triumph and the experience of persecution became a sign of elevated moral status, a badge of honor. The genius of the Jesus movement was its ability to disassociate earthly pain from divine punishment. As a result Christians identified themselves as innocent victims; they associated their sufferings with those of Jesus and aligned the source of those sufferings with the forces that killed Jesus. From the very beginning, victimhood was hardwired into the Christian psyche.

The enduring impact of this idea is evident in the rhetoric of modern-day Christians. In the weeks that followed the recent papal resignation, Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, who was accused of participating in the cover-up of sexual abuse by priests, described himself in terms appropriate to a martyr: as a scapegoat who suffered like Jesus. Because of the nature of the crimes for which he is suspected, Mahony’s claims that he is being persecuted have been universally dismissed, but other similarly hyperbolic instances of American Christians crying “persecution” slip into the public square.


Paedophile Priest


The belief that Christians are continuously persecuted has a basis in Scripture. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus instructs his followers to take up their cross and follow him and predicts that his followers will be persecuted for his name. Then again, in the very same passage he predicts that some of those standing before him will not taste death before the arrival of his kingdom in glory. Why do we accept the prophecy of persecution when the statement about the disciples living until the last judgement clearly failed? The reason why Jesus’s statements about persecution have had such a pronounced impact on the formation of Christian identity is that this prophecy is believed to have been proven in the experiences of the Early Church. The Church has suffered since the beginning, the argument goes, and we are persecuted now as we have always been.

But what if Christians were not always persecuted? What if there never was an “Age of the Martyrs”? When we look at the evidence, it becomes clear that the stereotype of cruel Roman emperors persecuting innocent Christians is a myth. From the Roman side, there is scant evidence for the persecution of Christians. It is not even clear that the Romans knew about the existence of Christians until the early second century. Even then they didn’t see Christianity as a religion. They describe it, rather, as a foolish superstition that could potentially harm local economies.  Christians undoubtedly died as a result of legislation passed during the reign of the emperor Decius (ca. AD 250), but not because he was targeting them. Intriguingly, not a word of our Roman evidence for his legislation refers to Christians.


Emperor Diocletian (244–311 CE)


With the exception of the Great Persecution of Diocletian (AD 303-305), when Christians were indeed actively persecuted, it is difficult to find any examples of Roman emperors behaving as Christians typically portrayed them. Apart from this comparatively brief period, and an even briefer one during the reign of Valerian in 257-58, Roman emperors never targeted Christians for attack. At the beginning of the second century, the emperor Trajan actually stipulated that Christians were not to be sought out. Roman emperors simply don’t appear to have been that interested in Christians. For most of the first three centuries of their existence Christians flourished: they held lofty political positions, and were so comfortable under the Romans that they even constructed a prominent church across the road from the imperial palace in Nicomedia.

The overwhelming majority of Christians idealized martyrdom and suffering like Jesus, but very few of them died violently—and even fewer died as the result of the kind of persecution described in Sunday school. Romans had good reason to be concerned about Christians. Scandalous rumors of Christians participating in incestuous orgies and practicing cannibalism were widely circulated. More important, Christians sounded a lot like revolutionaries. In courtrooms they stated that they were unable to respect anyone but Christ, their new emperor. Roman officials had no problem executing political subversives—this was a world in which Jon Stewart would be executed for his institution-challenging satire. Ancient empires were accustomed to reshaping the religious identities of those they bested in war. The Romans magnanimously allowed conquered groups to maintain their own religious traditions and implement their own law at their own discretion. But this generosity ended when it became socially disruptive or politically subversive. Christians threatened the stability of the empire, and when we look at their interactions with Roman authorities, we might even find ourselves sympathizing with the Romans.

Given that the Roman evidence for persecution is so thin, the origin of our misunderstandings about the Early Church must, and does, lie with the early Christians themselves. There are literally thousands of stories of Christians martyrs being brutally tortured and killed, but the overwhelming majority of these were written long after the events they claim to describe. Who is responsible for these misunderstandings about history? And why did they alter the historical record? One of the reasons is the explosion of the cult of the saints, the passion for collecting and displaying holy relics, in the fifth century and beyond. Everyone wanted a piece of the action and innumerable stories about martyrs were fabricated to support local churches and to attract pilgrims to particular towns.


Crucifixion of St. Peter by Michelangelo


Even the earliest, most ostensibly trustworthy, martyrdom stories have been edited and reworked. The authors of these accounts borrowed from ancient mythology, changed the details of events to make the martyrs appear more like Jesus, and made the Roman antagonists increasingly venomous. Peeling back the layers of editorial work is like watching textual plastic surgery; even small changes radically alter our understanding of the subject. Legend maintains that the Apostle Peter asked to be crucified upside down out of humility, but comes from a sixth century rewriting. Fascinatingly, the earliest version of the story gives a very different and almost mysterious explanation. Other ancient authors were less artful. Lazy biographers of the saints sometimes pasted together the story of a martyr’s death from the writings of his colleagues and we can pull these apart without difficulty. We need not accuse the priest-scribes who created these accounts of any malicious deception, as these kinds of literary practices were fairly common at the time, but nor, certainly, can we conclude that they’re giving us the historical facts. Even if Christians choose to venerate individual martyrs—regardless of whether the stories are true or not—we should not leap to the conclusion that ancient Christians as a collective whole were constantly persecuted. We simply lack the necessary evidence to support such a claim. Faith in martyrs is one thing; historical claims about persecution are quite another.


Eusebius of Caesarea


Claims about violent persecution may not be historically accurate, but in the hands of ancient Christian writers they did valuable work shoring up the authority of the Church. The fourth-century historian Eusebius was able to use the stories of the martyrs to combat heresy and to establish the succession of bishops in the early Church. When the origins of the episcopacy in France were clouded, Eusebius invented an anecdote in which Gallic martyrs wrote to the bishop of Rome recommending a particular candidate. When he wanted to demonstrate the errors of a particular heresy, he would cleverly tell a story in which a martyr denounced the schismatic group’s leader. This fascinating invention of the history of persecution set a precedent. Later generations of medieval copyists would do the same—inserting doctrinal formulae into the mouths of expiring martyrs. Eusebius began a long-lived tradition of equating dissent and disagreement with persecution. He argued that the Church is fundamentally under attack and that, just as Roman officials attacked her in the past, now heretics attack her in the present. The essential idea is polarization: us against them, good against evil. Once Constantine allowed Christianity to become a state-sponsored religion in the fourth century, some Christians went on the offensive. They sought out Pagan temples to destroy, with high hopes of dying and becoming martyrs. The memory of authentic persecution under Diocletian did not make Christians forgiving and generous toward the now disenfranchised Pagans. The rhetoric of persecution perpetuated by early Christian writers, rather, created a polarized view of the world that only heaped violence on top of violence.

This idea of constant attack and Christian victim-hood is grounded in the myths of the Early Church, but it endures to this day. It is evident in the rhetoric of modern American media pundits, politicians, and religious leaders who proclaim that there is a war on Christianity in modern America. The problem with identifying oneself and one’s group as a persecuted minority is that it necessarily identifies others as persecutors. It is certainly the case that Christians—and members of other religious groups—around the world endure horrifying violence and oppression today. But it is rarely those voices or calls for action on their behalf that reach our ears. On the contrary, these experiences are drowned out by louder, local complaints.

Instances of oppression, violence, and persecution do not need a history of persecution or a commitment to victim-hood to support them. The mistreatment of Christians in modern India, for example, is not wrong because it is part of a history of persecution. It is just wrong. Nor is it somehow more outrageous than violence against Muslims or Hindus there.[1]

Most importantly, the myth of persecution can actually generate violence. At the beginning of the First Crusade, Pope Urban II promised Christian soldiers the rewards of martyrdom if they died in the conflict. The historical factors are complicated, and medieval European Christians did see themselves as under attack, but their actions cannot be dismissed as “self-defence.” This is a cautionary example for us. There is always the possibility that we have no sense of our own position in a conflict. Even though we cast ourselves as martyrs, we might be crusaders.

The example of Jesus that hangs at the centre of Christianity encouraged his followers to embrace suffering and to stand firm in times of persecution. But even if Christians are called to embrace suffering and victimization, we can do without a story of persecution that is inaccurate, unproductive, and polarizing. Nor should we build our interpretation of the present on errors about the past. – The Daily Beast, 31 March 2013


Michaelangelo's Crucifix


Dr. Candida Moss is an author and Professor of Theology at the University of Birmingham, UK. See Egypt never enslaved the Israelites, Moses never freed them.

Note

1. Christians in India are not and have never been persecuted. It is an absurd statement for the learned author to make. Christians are a very privileged minority community in India with social and political influence far exceeding their numbers. Isolated attacks on missionaries by exasperated Hindu individuals in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, provoked by the offensive conduct of the missionaries themselves, cannot be extrapolated into a “mistreatment of Christians in modern India”. In fact from the 4th century to the 16th century, Christian migrants from West Asia and Persia, and Portuguese colonists and missionaries from Europe, were the perpetrators of the most heinous crimes against Hindus in India including the destruction of temples in order to build St. Thomas churches, forced conversions to Christianity and the establishment of the notorious and cruel Inquisition in Goa brought by Francis Xavier. – IS


San Thome Cathedral: This diorama of St. Thomas and his Hindu assassin was built after the publication of Ishwar Sharan's book in 1995. Its objective is to malign the Hindu community with the accusation of the murder of a Christian apostle and saint, and to further the propagation of the St. Thomas legend which has made India's bishops very wealthy and supports their political claim on India.


St. Thomas: India’s own infamous Christian persecution myth – Ishwar Sharan

Bardesanes wrote the Acts of  Thomas, the source of the St. Thomas in India legend, as a moral fable to instil sexual discipline in his Edessene Christian congregation—the Church has always had a problem with sexual deviancy. He set the story in India as being the place of all kinds of exotic religions that he had heard about from travelling Brahmins and Buddhist monks. In his tale he has Judas Thomas—twin brother of Jesus no less—cheat a Persian king of large sums of money by promising to build him a palace. After he is caught, imprisoned, and released, Thomas runs away and has a number of exciting adventures including a fight to the death with Satan. He meets another Persian king, who, initially showing him great kindness and generosity, loses patience with his wicked deeds and has him executed for abducting women and practising black magic. This king, Mazdai by name—indicating a devotee of the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda—has Thomas buried in a royal tomb on a mountain in a desert country that is never named. Later in the 4th century, when West Asian Christian migrants brought the tale from Edessa to the Malabar Coast, Thomas is identified with India rather than Persia and even made the missionary of Nambudiri brahmins in order to give the new Christian community caste status. In Kerala the tale of Thomas grows and evolves with new additions made by new Christian refugees from Persia. It no longer reflects Bardesanes’ moral fable but rather a concocted mythology of Indian Christian identity. These Syrian Christians—as they are still called—were great travellers and merchants, and Marco Polo hears the tale from them, probably in Constantinople—as scholars now doubt that he ever went to China. The story of Thomas’s death—by accident according to Marco—and internment is included in his famous adventure book Il Milione published in Europe in the 13th century. Marco places Thomas’s tomb on the Coromandel’s Gulf of Mannar Coast in an unnamed Tamil village rather than on a Persian mountaintop as in the Acts of Thomas. From this popular piece of travel fiction there is no going back, and the tomb of St. Thomas is later identified with the great Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple in Mylapore by the Portuguese in the 16th century. They invade Mylapore, a prosperous port with a good harbour, have the Kapaleeswara Temple destroyed—it seems to have taken them fifty years to do this evil deed by encroachment and vandalism, and because they are resisted by the native Hindu population until it is overwhelmed by superior Portuguese force—and build a fake St. Thomas tomb out of materials brought from Goa. Soon after the empty tomb is established a new St. Thomas Church is built over it by Dominican monks, where no church has ever stood before—then back-dated 1500 years to the 1st century!  The pious fable of  a Christian apostle’s persecution and death at the hands of a Hindu raja and his jealous brahmin priest is now established in South India and the world. The Christian community can claim—by the grace of Portuguese pirates—to be the followers of the “original” Christian religion brought by Thomas to the Tamil people. They can and do solicit recognition and money for it from the world Christian community. More important, the Hindu community that has generously hosted the Christian community in India since the 4th century, can be maligned and spiritually discredited as the vicious assassins of a Christian apostle and saint. The fact that no scholar of Christian history, starting with the Early Church Fathers Clement and Origen, and the first official Christian historian Eusebius, to the learned historians of the last two hundred years including Pope Benedict XVI, subscribe to the details of this fable and support it as true, does not matter to the Indian Christian community in the least. They have got their dearly loved persecution tale with its blood and gore, and they are not going to let go of it even for the Pope in Rome.


Gulf of Mannar


St Thomas (BJP-INC) Header


C.I. Issac: Christian historian disputes St. Thomas in India claim, calls for ban on conversions – G. Sreedathan

“Although a St. Thomas Christian himself, Dr. Issac disputed the claim that St. Thomas landed in Kerala and converted Namboodiri Brahmins. ‘They are targeting higher jatis. They realized that without converting Brahmins they can’t bust the very foundation of Hinduism.'” – G. Sreedathan


C.I. Issac


The lone Christian member in the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) under the Human Resources Development ministry and noted historian, C.I. Issac, has put up a passionate defence of the Sangh Parivar’s ghar wapsi (home coming) programme and called for a ban on conversions.

A retired history professor and author of over 10 books, including Evolution of Christian Church in India, Issac is now vice-president of Kerala-based right-wing think-tank Bharateeya Vichara Kendram. “Ghar wapsi is not religious conversion. It is a measure of opening doors for those who left earlier from poorva dharma due to historical reasons. Article 25 of the Constitution is not a provision for a one-way traffic or of a non-return valve. In no way with this Article, the founding fathers of our Constitution thought of any sort of conversion. Their intention was the healthy coexistence of all cultures and religious groups. Conversion by brainwashing, coercion, allurement, incentives, etc. is cruel in cultural terms,” said Issac.

According to him, ghar wapsi is a legitimate right of the Hindus. This movement began not only after May 26, 2014.  “Its origin in Kerala goes back to British period that is 1921. It started systematically as the shuddhi movement in the 19th century CE by Arya Samaj leader, Swami Dayananda Saraswati.”

Calling for capital punishment for indulging in conversions, he said, “The conversion is a criminal offence against humanity. The death of a religion means the total vanishing or death of a culture, civilization and knowledge system which generated by a religion through generations…. We lost the Greeks, Mayans, Persians, Romans, etc, like classical societies legacies. We missed Bamiyan statues of Afghanistan. Nobody can retrieve the lost knowledge. They have a substantial, objective, and observationally demonstrated information framework, obtained through generations. We, as an enlightened society, are bound to secure all societies and their commitments appropriately,” he added.


Anil Couto


When his attention was drawn to Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto’s statement in an interview to Business Standard that he has a problem with the word ghar wapsi and not conversion, he said, “Behind this answer a fraudulent design is hidden. Ghar wapsi means return to poorva dharma. In it there is nothing as wrong. On the other hand, if it is conversion they can level charges against the Hindu society in international forms that Hindus are forcibly converting Christians to Hinduism, Hindus are fundamentalists, etc. Now they can’t raise such allegations. Above all in Hinduism there is no provision of conversion to Hinduism. Prima-facie, one may feel it is an innocent and genuine demand. But in fact it is cunning and putting Hindus in doldrums.”

Claiming himself to be a practicing Christian, he said, “The Church has good relations with me. When I was nominated to ICHR, the bishop arranged a meeting to congratulate me. I believe in Christ but I don’t believe Christ as the only way.”

On Delhi church attacks, he said, “Martyrs and saints are fuels for the gigantic engines of the Church (like jihadis for Islam) without which it cannot sustain. The nature and character of the Delhi church attack is doubtful. All the churches subjected attacks were suffered with minor damages. After the Delhi election they never pressed for the arrest of the persons behind attack or further investigations. It can be considered as a self-goal strategy.”


St. Thomas


Although a St Thomas Christian himself, Issac disputed the claim that St Thomas landed in Kerala and converted Namboodiri Brahmins. “They are targeting higher jatis. They realized that without converting Brahmins they can’t bust the very foundation of Hinduism. In this line they deputed Robert de Nobili, an Italian padre, to Madurai in 17th century CE and he studied Sanskrit and wrote Jesus Veda, and lived in sanyasin attire in order to convert high-class Hindus, and miserably failed. Madras Bishop Arulappa bribed Ganesh Iyer and converted him as John Iyer and deputed him for manipulations and attempted to high-jack ancient Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar.” – Business Standard, 11 July 2015

» G. Sreedathan Sr Assistant Editor at Business Standard, New Delhi Area.



How St. Thomas-Quetzalcoatl myth was manufactured, justified and continued in the New World – K.V. Ramakrishna Rao


The Church and the clergy of different levels—from pope to ordinary pastor—have been involved in spiritual fraud, financial crimes, land scams, rape of nuns and pedophilia, even murder. In India itself it has become the order of the day. Therefore, it is better for the “holy” men of Christ to keep their houses clean and stop falsifying Indian history. – K.V. Ramakrishna Rao


Aztec God Quetzalcoatl : The Mormons believe Quetzalcoatl was Jesus and the Jesuit missionaries made him out to be the apostle St. Thomas.


K.V. Ramakrishna RaoIntroduction

As I had participated in conferences related to archaeology, I was reading many books, research papers and related materials during last two months (July-August 2019). At that time, I came across the paper, “Uses of the Past: Archaeology in the Services of the State” written by Don D. Fowler.[1] He was explaining how the Christian myths were manipulated and exploited for religious propaganda and political authority in the Central and South American nations. However, the linking of St. Thomas in that context is most intriguing. When the related literature was studied, it exposed that the Christians wanted to exploit the Quetzalcoatl myth, though historical and archaeological evidences were not there. Some 35 years back, there was a similar situation where the Chennai (Madras) Christians were desperately engaged in a similar exercise. In 1987, I had contacts with Christians[2] and as well as Saivite experts,[3] because of the controversial book written by one M. Deivanayagam.[4]  When I was discussing this with Nal. Murugesa Mudaliar, he told many details about the Kapaleeswarar Temple and gave some books also.  Actually, the original Kapaleeswarar Temple was on the seashore at the spot where the Santhome Church now stands. Thus, the paper of Don D. Fowler provoked me to read further about the Quetzalcoatl myth. Above all, I find that Thomas Charles Nagy[5] and Henry Jenne[6] have also indulged in propagating such myths under the guise of researchers and history. Incidentally, Ishwar Sharan’s revised edition of the book[7] on the same subject was also published in July 2019. It is not known if all these incidents have been accidental or “God’s plan” to happen together and getting my attraction towards them. Why all these things have been happening?

Colonial historians want native history, historiography and historians as their slaves

As nations started getting independence from the European colonial forces, they knew that the liberated nations would start writing their own histories. Thus, the colonial historians devised historiography with which they tried to perpetuate, propagate and protect their colonial past, so that the liberated native nations would again be confined to dictated research methodology, incarcerated historiography and enslaved history continued. Ironically, religion also played a crucial role with engaged historians, outsourced archaeologists and contracted experts. Thus, it is found that new myths were created, relics manufactured and histories tampered, just like what was happening in the medieval period. As the liberated nations or countries should be continued to be exploited, subjugated and demoralized, they wanted the native religion, culture, tradition, heritage, civilization and all other connected factors disparaged, denigrated and forgotten soon. During their conquest they destroyed the evidences of the past, as happened in the New World or such vandalism continued slowly by them in other countries. The smugglers would be stealing all the ancient historical evidences. Thus, the newly floated myths would be continuously appearing in the print and electronic media, as if that is very important to the native people. The St. Thomas myth appearing in different nations, countries and continents during the last 70-100 years have been attractive, fascinating and amazing. Interestingly, it was planted at places separated by thousands of kms distance and operated effectively.

Mary, Jesus and Thomas appear, disappear and get venerated differently in all the continents without any resemblance

That the Thomas myth was found in the New World has been intriguing, surprising and amazing also.[8] It was found in South America and South India. As the Catholics had been experts in creating myths, according to legend on December 12, 1531, the Virgin Mary appeared in the form of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In fact, they themselves had been wary in manufacturing many virgins.[9] Though, the “idolatry” is denied and theology discussed, they have not bothered about the fake relics manufactured and pictures and idols added with the multiplication of “Our Lady” in various sizes, shapes and facades.[10] So also, Jesus Christ and his “didymus” have been. As they claim,

“Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as the Virgin of Guadalupe, is a Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with a Marian apparition and a venerated image enshrined within the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.”

The issue was discussed in 19th century realizing the reality. Thus, one Catholic priest cautioned.[11]

“We do not pretend that the arguments given are incontrovertible. But it cannot be denied that they give to this opinion such a degree of probability that, until stronger arguments are produced against it, it cannot justly be underrated.”

The head or the tail, we always win type position is followed in their interpretation.

How the St. Thomas myth was planted in Mexico

David Brading[12] detailed as to how the Thomas myth was planted in Mexico. Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, an exiled Dominican priest, declared that St. Thomas the Apostle, known to the Indians, i.e., American Indians not Indian Indians, as Quetzalcoatl, had preached the gospel in Anáhuac and had brought with him a cape on which the Virgin Mary had miraculously imprinted her image of Guadalupe. This is a reversal of the legend that Mary dropped her girdle to Doubting Thomas. St. Thomas had introduced the Christian religion into Mexico, since, as Mier exclaimed, “What was the religion of the Mexicans but Christianity confused by time and the equivocal nature of the hieroglyphs?” Milanese nobleman Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci, who had discovered any number of codexes and manuscripts dealing with the civilisation of ancient Mexico banished the devil from any historical role and found evidence of the presence of St. Thomas in the form of Quetzalcoatl. His work had immediate effect, as can be observed by the unpublished history of his Mexican disciple, Mariano Veytia, who equally espoused the identification of Quetzalcoatl as St. Thomas. They are discussed below.


Quetzalcoatl by Jesuit Juan de Tovar


The syncretism of Tonantzin-Guadalupe and St. Thomas-Quetzalcoatl[13]

Initially, they floated a story that Jesus was Quetzalcoatl and then changed and started equating him with Doubting Thomas. Thus, it was believed that St. Thomas who, before the arrival of the Spaniards in America, had already begun to evangelize the New World. This myth was used to serve as a link between the old pre-Hispanic beliefs and the convictions of the colonial Christian world.[14] The myth of Quetzalcoatl is one of the best known and diffused in pre-Hispanic societies of Mesoamerica.  The word Quetzalcoatl means in Nahuatl “the feathered serpent” and the creator of indigenous values, having donated agriculture and corn.  Serpent and peacock were also added. In Mylapore, the peacock myth exploited, exposed the Catholic trick and hoax, had failed miserably. According to the idea of ​​St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl validated not only biblical accounts, but also justified divine action. It was hard to understand that God had forgotten crowds of people in different parts of the earth and search for the origin of myths at different places. “The answer was then Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas,” curtly commented Rubén Torres Martínez.

Catholic nationalism vs pre-Hispanic nationalism

Rubén Torres Martínez gives these details: The myth of St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl would be controversial because of the speech of Brother Servando Teresa of Mier Noriega y Guerra (1794) who took over the study of Jose Ignacio Borunda, Clave general of interpretation of the Mexican hierarchies (1792?). Borunda relied on a hermeneutic exercise to ensure that St. Thomas was actually Quetzalcoatl, and that the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe was drawn on the layer of the apostle. However, the myth of Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas remained and spread rapidly in various sectors of the population. The Virgin of Guadalupe will quickly find its place in the Mexican social imagination.  It will be, in its own right, one of the founding elements of the new Mexican identity. But the myth of Quetzalcoatl will not have the same importance, at least during the 19th century. By the beginning of  the 20th century the debate on the myth of Quetzalcoatl / St. Thomas were taken over by the revolutionary Mexican state. During the colonial era, it was the myth of the Virgin of Guadalupe that had ensured a certain Catholic nationalism.  With the myth of St. Thomas / Quetzalcoatl, there was an attempt to form both Catholic and pre-Hispanic nationalism. However, the image of St. Thomas has disappeared, but that of Quetzalcoatl has managed to stay.  Today, the Catholics claim that the myth of Quetzalcoatl has become part of both Catholic and Mexican nationalism.

Quetzalcoatl-Jesus myth to Quetzalcoatl-Thomas myth

The Catholic priests taking special interest in Quetzalcoatl, tried to equate him with Jesus, but because of an “unsettling chaos of Christianity”, they debated whether Quetzalcoatl was the devil or a Christian evangelizer, perhaps even the Apostle Thomas. According to biblical narratives, Thomas was twin of Jesus and hence known as “Didymus”. To support “Didymus”, they picked out the duo or twin found in the myth of Popol Vuh. According to legend, the father, Hun Hunahpu, and his sons, particularly his namesake Hunahpu, are related to maize and may be designated as maize gods. In the Popol Vuh the twins’ association with maize is described. Importantly, David H. Kelley presents[15] additional evidence from the Popol Vuh that Hun Hunahpu and the maize god are one and the same. Many stories were there about the twins. For example, in the Popol Vuh, the hero twins’ bones were ground like maize, thrown into a river, turned into fish, and eventually resurrected. These were treated as punishments, generally as a part of persecution, so that anybody could become martyr and so on to fit into the Christian martyrology.


St. Thomas in Brazil


St. Thomas: Chosen apostle for the New World

The assertions made about the apostolate of Doubting Thomas have been significant to note in the context of myth-making. Sarah Enright[16] gives these details,

“St. Thomas, who went east to ‘the Indies’, seemed to be the only Apostle that could have reached the New World. When priests looked through Mesoamerican mythology for a figure that resembled a prophet, Quetzalcoatl stood out as the most likely candidate.”

Lafaye[17] gave a detailed history of how St. Thomas was chosen through a process of elimination as the most likely candidate for having been the Apostle of the Americas…. Among the missionaries, the Jesuits, who arrived to the New World in 1572, in particular supported the Quetzalcoatl-St. Thomas version of the story. They tried many ways to protect the indigenous peoples from being enslaved, and developing the Quetzalcoatl-St. Thomas myth was convenient for this objective. Had he been chosen for the New World, as per the “divine plan”, his myth need not have been transferred to Chennai (Madras).

Jesuits spread the Thomas myth, wherever they went

The Apostle of the Americas gained popularity in the mid 1600s, when priests were searching for more proof to support the story about the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also known as Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, to Juan Diego in 1532. In 1662, there was an initiative to ask the Pope to recognize the growing cult of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and while a majority of priests focused on gathering details about the miracle of Juan Diego’s vision of the Virgin Mary, some apparently believed that the appearance of an apostle in the Americas would further validate the story. Thus, the Vatican intervention and support were found in promoting such myths. Again, the Jesuits were especially interested in the apostle. How then, other groups of Jesuits were engaged in manufacturing evidences to plant the Thomas myth is not known. Whether they did not have co-ordination or co-opt, collaborate and collude to produce such myths, wherever, they went.


Fr. Anthony Vieira SJ


Doubting Thomas in Brazil

They wrote often about traces of St. Thomas in the New World, which include a set of footprints he left in a rock in Brazil. The Jesuits discovered the presence of Thomas in Mexico and as well in Brazil separated by a distance of 6920 kms. In the case of Quetzalcoatl myth, his presence at Mexico was dealt with by equating him to Jesus first and then to Thomas. In Brazil, he was identified with footsteps found at Etaoca. The appearance of St. Thomas was important because it showed that Christianity had a history in the New World prior to the conquest, which meant that the Americas had always been spiritually equal to Spain. Lafaye says,[18]

“… the creoles preferred Saint Thomas, who redeemed their American patria from the stigma of having lain in darkness for sixteen centuries, isolated from revelation.”

About the footprints, Robert Southey[19] gives the details,

“We came to a place called Etaoca, that is to say, the stone-house; as strong a thing I never saw, for it was a great huge rock, and it hath an entrance like a great door within it as any hall in England. The Indians say, that St. Thomas did preach to their forefathers there. Hard by standeth a stone as big as four great cannons, and it standeth upon the ground upon four stones, little bigger than a man’s finger, like sticks. The Indians say that it was a miracle which the Saint shewed them, and that that stone had been wood. Likewise, by sea-side there are great rocks, upon them I saw great stone of prints of the footing of bare foot; all which prints were one bigness. They say that Saint called flashes of the sea and they heard him.”

Now, in 2014 / 2017, Nagy[20] mentions it. Thus, the myth has been perpetuated from 19th to 20th centuries without any concern about archaeological dating, verification of evidences and the historicity attached to them.  However, historians like Francisco Javier Clavijero[21] refuted these myths, as they had no evidences. In any case, such myths have no history, but are hagiographical notes, recordings and writing of Christians. One quotes the narrative and the other quotes the first as authority. Then comes, the third to quote the second as authority. Thus, the quoted quote is carried on and finalized as established fact. This has been the methodology of the Christians to write histories for the apostles.

Myth-making activities went on with the blessings of the Vatican

Incidentally, the whole Christian research has been based on Codex Vaticanus documents preserved at Vatican. Both the early priests and the conquistadores believed that the indigenous religions were heretical. While Juan de Zumárraga, the Apostolic Inquisitor of Mexico in 1535, ordered the destruction of all of the pictorial manuscripts in Texcoco, Cortez and his troops defaced all of the religious monuments, idols, and images that they encountered on their way to Tenochtitlan.[22] In the same way, there have been the documents about the Thomas myth manufacturers. However, when the Portuguese demolished the Kapaleeswarar Temple on the seashore, there were no records about the quantum of destruction of temples and manuscripts. When Acharya Paul met the Pope[23] along with the Madras Catholic delegation in 1977, and made his claims about the early Christian origins in Tamil Nadu, evidently, the Pope had already verified and thus did not show any interest. Here the point is that such activities had the blessings of the Vatican, though other non-Christian researchers could not have access to the Vatican documents and the transactions of the Madras Archbishop Arulappa. As Arulappa went to court, some documents came out in public and thus, people came to know about the fraud of creating myth, manufacture of fake palm leaves, copper plates and other documents.[24] The illegal excavations carried out at the Parangi Malai (St. Thomas Mount) were also revealed through the book of Arulappa. The contrast has been, while the natives were asked to reproduce the destroyed ones in Brazil, here in Madras, forged documents were ordered to be produced.

Jesus-Quetzalcoatl Myth

There have been researchers who held that Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl are the same individual.[25] Probably, as they wanted to insist on their “Jesus in America” theory, such works continued. The supporters of the myth pointed out that,[26]

“Among those mentioned in post–Spanish conquest manuscripts were that Quetzalcoatl was the Creator, that he was born of a virgin, that he was a god of the air and earth (in his manifestation as the Feathered Serpent), that he was white and bearded, that he came from heaven and was associated with the planet Venus, that he raised the dead, and that he promised to return.”

However, they realized the weakness of myth and manipulation of records during more than 1000 years leading to many mismatches. The physical evidences available for Quetzalcoatl have been specific and historical, whereas, for Jesus, they are unhistorical. However, because of discrepancies, the hypotheses and theories were changed and thus, instead of Jesus, Doubting Thomas was brought in.  Yet, the Jesuits were playing tricks in India also.

South Indian myths expose the Christian manipulations and forgeries

Indian myth started with Vasco de Gama in 1503, because of his mistaking of “Mari”, the Hindu goddess, with “Mary”. In the Mylapore or Cranganore myth, there was no Mary or Guadalupe. In 1599, Claudius Buchanan came to verify the “evidences” for the Thomas myth, but he found that all were fake. After his visit to Diamper, the books not favourable to Christianity were reportedly burnt.  However, Buchanan recorded that he deposited some copper plates, though fake, with the Cambridge University (see below for details). Later, they tried to exploit Mari / Bhagwati Amman, the Indian goddess and even tried to equate her with Mary, but utterly failed as the Indian Christian theologians and Church historians did not bother about any historical and archaeological evidences.[27] Ironically, whatever evidences they did produce to support their floated myth turned out to be fake and forgeries dated to medieval and even 17th-19th centuries. But their shocking attitude has been to use and quote such forgeries. Incidentally, in India, they could not produce any twin to satisfy the Didymus story! The European Christologists, historians and experts started proving that Jesus was a myth, that Christ, a legendary character copied and derived from eastern gods, and JesusChrist was a creation later involving and accommodating many myths. It is intriguing to note why they were / have been engaged in equating the Quetzalcoatl myth with that of Jesus and then Thomas. Had they been satisfied with the Acts of Thomas and the tomb located in Mesopotamia, then their myths could have been developed and tallied to some extent. The Acts of Thomas says the following:[28]

  1. And when he had thus prayed he said unto the soldiers; Come hither and accomplish the commandments of him that sent you. And the four came and pierced him with their spears, and he fell down and died.
  1. And all the brethren wept; and they brought beautiful robes and much and fair linen, and buried him in a royal sepulchre wherein the former (first) kings were laid.
  1. And he went and opened the sepulchre, but found not the apostle there, for one of the brethren had stolen him away and taken him unto Mesopotamia.

And thus, the Mesopotamian legends would help them to fix the Thomas myth and settle it once for all. Of course, they have Thomas tombs at Edessa, Ortona and Patmos venerated by the respective believers.


St. Thomas Cathedral at Ortona.

St. Thomas's Skeleton


The relics of Thomas were in Italy only

In the pursuit of truth and the Doubting Thomas in the art of early modern Italy, Erin Benay[29] gives many interesting details. Thomas’s relics were later transported to the Isle of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Although the details of this transfer are mysterious, it is clear that in 1258 the Prince of Taranto raided Chios and had the relics brought to the small port of Ortona, Italy. Thereafter most of St. Thomas’s body has remained in the Ortona Cathedral, although there are notable exceptions: Thomas’s jawbone is preserved in the Scuola dei Mureri at San Samuele, Venice, where the guild of builders commissioned Cima da Conegliano’s Incredulity of St. Thomas to adorn their chapel altar. In addition, Cardinal Tisserant arranged for Thomas’s arm bone to be brought to Cranganore (Kodungallur) in 1952; Although Ortona was a major port until its destruction by the Venetians in the 15th century, the interior of the 12th century cathedral is largely ruined today due to bombings during World War II. Emilia Polidoro and Paula Pasquini,[30] contributors to the volume cited above, both suggest that Marco Polo and his contemporaries’ accounts of Thomas’s tomb in India are fictitious and instead favor the Latin version of the Acts of Thomas which describes the transfer to Edessa. Pasquini notes the account of Guglielmo di Tiro who reports that Thomas’s relics were in Edessa as late as 1142, but it is unclear why this traveler’s observations would have any more validity than Marco and his fellow explorers.


Skull of St. Thomas , Patmos, Greece


Suppression of facts, excessive negationism, and bias

Even after the Arulappa vs Acharya Paul case, the Church writers have been unrelenting and still engaged in bringing out unblushing stories on doubting and doubtful Thomas. The thesis of Thomas Charles Nagy has been the recent glaring example. Vedaprakash[31] has been the first researcher to bring out the facts of Christian manipulations in a book in 1989 in Tamil. This was necessitated when they printed such myths in the state text books. Then, Ishwar Sharan brought out his book in 1991 in English drawing the attention of many. Nagy mentions S. Muthiah, Sita Ram Goel and Ishwar Sharan but, does not mention Arulappa, Ganesh Iyer, Vedaprakash, etc. Though, he has friends in Chennai, and interacted with many Catholic bishops, pastors and historians, he could not access them or their documents. Therefore, the suppression of facts, excessive negationism, and bias could be noted in their attitude and writings. As far as Henry Jenne is concerned, he wrote like a traveller but without compromising with the myth of Thomas in both countries.


Claudius Buchanan

Tharisappalli Copper Plates (849 CE): Alleged oldest documents to attest the presence of Christians in India.


The copper plates and what Claudius Buchanan noted

To explain and expose the position of doubting and doubtful Thomas and his researchers in India, the following example is cited just for illustrative purposes. As the Kerala Christians make much fuss about the copper plates, what Claudius Buchanan recorded about them are noted here. They are as follows:[32]

“But there are other ancient documents in Malabar, not less interesting than the Syrian Manuscripts. The old Portuguese historians relate, that soon after the arrival of their countrymen in India, about 300 years ago, the Syrian Bishop of Angamalee (the place where I now am) deposited in the Fort of Cochin, for safe custody, certain tablets of brass, on which were engraved rights of nobility, and other privileges granted by a Prince of a former age ; and that while these Tablets were under the charge of the Portuguese, they had been unaccountably lost, and were never after heard of. Adrian Moens, a Governor of Cochin, in 1770 who published some account of the Jews of Malabar, informs us that he used every means in his power, for many years, to obtain a sight of the famed Christian Plates; and was at length satisfied that they were irrecoverably lost, or rather, he adds, that they never existed. The Learned in general, and the Antiquarian in particular, will be glad to hear that these ancient Tablets have been recovered within this last month by the exertions of Lieutenant Colonel Macauley, the British Resident in Travancore, and are now officially deposited with that Officer.”

Copper plates script engraved later and none could read it in India

Buchanan continued,[33]

“The Christian Tablets are six in number. They are composed of a mixed metal. The engraving on the largest plate is thirteen inches long, by about four broad. They are closely written, four of them on both sides of the plate, making in all eleven pages. On the plate reputed to be the oldest, there is writing perspicuously engraved in nail-headed or triangular-headed letters, resembling the Persepolitan or Babylonish. On the same plate there is writing in another character, which is supposed to have no affinity with any existing character in Hindoostan. The grant on this plate appears to be witnessed by four Jews of rank, whose names are distinctly engraved in an old Hebrew character, resembling the alphabet called the Palmyrene: and to each name is prefixed the title of ‘Alagen’, or Chief, as the Jews translated it.

“It may be doubted, whether there exist in the world many documents of so great length, which are of equal antiquity, and in such faultless preservation, as the Christian Tablets of Malabar.

“The Jews of Cochin indeed contest the palm of antiquity: for they also produce two Tablets, containing privileges granted at a remote period; of which they presented to me a Hebrew translation. As no person can be found in this country who is able to translate the Christian Tablets, I have directed an engraver at Cochin to execute a copper-plate facsimile of the whole, for the purpose of transmitting copies to the learned Societies in Asia and Europe. The Christian and Jewish plates together make fourteen pages. A copy was sent in the first instance to the Pundits of the Sanskrit College at Trichiar, by direction of the Rajah of Cochin; but they could not read the character.

“From this place I proceed to Cande-nad, to visit the Bishop once more before I return to Bengal.”

Analysis of Buchanan’s notings of the copper plates

A careful reading of Buchanan proves the following facts:

  1. Even during 16th century, manufacturers of copper plate inscriptions were available.
  2. They could manufacture the required copper plates even if they could not read the script they inscribed. In other words, they engrave as pictures and not as script or other details.
  3. Who suddenly produced the copper plates for Buchanan is intriguing?
  4. Buchanan made copies and circulated them for getting translation.
  5. He also sent copies to London.
  6. Original copper plates were not available.
  7. Therefore, the Portuguese must have manufactured the copper plates.

About the claimed relics throughout the world

About Thomas everything has been doubtful and doubting only, as none knew or knows specifically anything about him.

  1. His birth and death are not known.
  2. How he died: Not known.
  3. Whether he was killed or died: Not known.
  4. If killed by sword, lance, spear, staff or any such thing: Not known.
  5. Where died: Not known.
  6. How many bodies and skeletons: Not known.

As he was having many bodies, skeletons and tombs, he must not have been a human being, just a myth. As there has not been any specific day or date for the death of Thomas, Christians celebrate him on various designated days:

  1. First Sunday after Easter,
  2. October 6,
  3. June 30,
  4. July 3,
  5. December 21,

and so on, as none knew him or his whereabouts. Archeologists could easily date the relics and find out the truth. Here, in Chennai (Madras), from the writings of the Europeans, it has been proved that all relics, paintings and sculptures belong to the medieval period and thereafter. As the Portuguese demolished the original Kapaleeswarar Temple at the seashore in 1523, the dates tally. To add a tail piece, before concluding, the following is quoted,[34]

“The relics enclosed in some of them comprised a portion of the milk of the Virgin Mary, parts of the skulls of St. Bartholomew and St. Thomas the Apostle. … A shirt of St. Thomas the Martyr, a white girdle given by St. John the Evangelist to St. Mary, and a small part of the skull of St. Thomas the Apostle, and a candle end of the Virgin Mary.”

Forced propaganda carried on

As I have been attending hundreds of conferences being a life member, executive member of IHC, SIHC, APHC, TNHC, AIOC and “scientific and secular history” is always claimed, it is a wonder as to how this type of mythistory, biased historiography and historiographical methodology could go on in spite of exposures of fakes, forgery and frauds. Ironically, no historian, archaeology or connected expert questions such myth-making, fake relic manufacturing and subversive forcing of such stuff on the students and public. All this proves that something is wrong somewhere and the involved do not bother for anything, as they want to do only propaganda at any cost. As the propaganda should continue for years, they think that such myths, myth-making, fake manufactures and bogus archaeology get legitimised by force and thrust. Only there would be few to expose the truth, but they can be suppressed and people forget soon. Before another finds out and cries, already there would be more relics, more fake evidences and books.


Martyrdom of St. Thomas by Peter Paul Rubens


Conclusion

Actually, Indians do not care about the belief system of others, as they respect all considered as “divine”. Nowadays, as non-Hindus and such categories have started criticizing and attacking Hindu belief systems, Hindus started analyzing the non-Hindu belief systems. Ironically, the non-Hindus have only been joining with atheists and anti-Hindus, and started attacking Hindu belief systems. Thus, in the context, the following observations are made as a conclusion:

    1. Historically, whether Jesus existed or not is not an issue for Indians or Hindus.  In fact, only European and non-Indian historians, archaeologists and researchers have proved that such a personality never existed.
    2. Jesus, Christ and Jesus Christ have been three different concepts and thus they are mythical. It is not a problem for Indians.
    3. Therefore, whether such a mythical character had 12 apostles or many more is also left for them to decide as to whether it is myth or otherwise.
    4. The Acts of Thomas claims that Thomas was killed by the soldiers of Ghondoporus and buried in Mesopotamia and therefore his burial of the body at another place or places is ruled out.
    5. A human being, if he at all existed, could have only one body and skeleton and therefore, discovering many tombs, skeletons, and more than one skull proves that many forgeries, fakes and duplicates have been created or the skeletons and bones belong to other unknown persons.
    6. Thus, the many narratives and stories show that one myth is created based on another myth and so on. Thus, the myth-making has led to lies, forgeries, and frauds and that is what has been happening till today.
    7. The writers involved have not been bothered about history, historicity, historical evidences, or cross-checking the evidences claimed.
    8. As far as Chennai (Madras) is concerned, the case of R. Arulappa vs Acharya Paul alias Ganesh Iyer has exposed the Church, the archbishop and others involved directly in the manufacture of evidences for a Thomas myth, and all have been caught red-handed.
    9. The involved persons have become desperate and controversial, indulging in divisive communal politics to hide their ugly practices.
    10. Above all, the Church and the clergy of different levels — from pope to ordinary pastor  have been involved in spiritual fraud, financial crimes, land scams, pedophilia and rape of nuns, even murder. In India itself it has become the order of the day. Therefore, it is better for the “holy” men of Christ to keep their houses clean and stop falsifying Indian history.

1. Fowler, Don D., “Uses of the Past: Archaeology in the Service of the State”, American Antiquity, CUP, Cambridge, April 1987.

2. Hrudhayam, Ignatius; Francis, T. Dayananda; Kulandai, Swami; Carvalho, Selvaraj; et al in connection with inculturation as well as the St. Thomas myth in Mylapore.

3. Mudaliar, N. Murugesan & Mudaliar, Arunai Vadivelu. The former taught me Saiva Siddhanta and later wrote the rebuttal against the Deivanayagam book. See news item.

4. Deivanayagam, N., He wrote and published Viviliyam, Thirukkural, Saiva Siddhantham inviting challenge from the Saivite scholars. Arunai Vadivelu Mudaliar wrote the rebuttal book.

5. Nagy, Thomas Charles, Catholic Shrines in Chennai, India: The politics of renewal and apostolic legacy, Routledge, New York, 2017. Read thesis online.

6. Jenne, Henry,  Entre Trilhos e Estrelas, Chiado Books, 2017 and the English version is published as Between Rails and Stars, United Verlag, 2019.

7. Sharan, Ishwar, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, Voice of India, New Delhi, 2019. Earlier editions in 1991, 1995, 2010. Read fourth revised edition online.

8. The New World is the name used for North and South America including the islands of the West Indies and Bermuda, Falkland Islands, Greenland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and Oceania.

9. Rendino, Stéphanie, Our Lady of Ocotlán and our Lady of Guadalupe: Investigation into the origins of parallel virgins, University of Montreal, Canada, 2008.

10. Cruz, Joan Carroll, Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Portraits and Statues, Tan Books, USA, 1993.

11. Defouri, J. H., “Was the Apostle St. Thomas in Mexico?”, Catholic World, December 1881. Read article online.

12. Brading, David A., “Myth and Images in Mexican History: Foundations and Legitimacy,” Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Mexico City, 2011.

13. Murray, Tim & Evans, Christopher (Ed), Histories of Archaeology: A Reader in the History of Archaeology, OUP, New York, 2008.

14. Martínez, Rubén Torres, St. Thomas and Quetzalcoatl. An attempt to construct an identity from the rewriting of the myth. See also Gardener, Brant, The Christianization of Quetzalcoatl. Read article online.

15. Kelley, David H., “Astronomical Identities of Mesoamerican Gods”, Archaeoastronomy (supplement of Journal for the History of Astronomy), 1980.

16. Enright, Sara, “Quetzalcoatl: A Mestizo Myth,” Undergraduate Research Journal, 2006.

17. Lafaye, Jacques, Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness 1531-1813, UCP, Chicago, 1976,

18. Lafaye, Jacques & Keen, Benjamin (Tr), Quetzalcoatl and Guadalupe: The Formation of Mexican National Consciousness 1531-1813, UCP, Chicago, 1976.

19. Southey, Robert, History of Brazil, London, 1822.

20. Nagy, Thomas Charles, Catholic Shrines in Chennai, India: The politics of renewal and apostolic legacy, Routledge, New York, 2017. Read thesis online.

21. Clavijero, Francisco Javier, Historia Antigua de México, 1780.

22. Carrasco, Davíd, Quetzalcoatl and the Irony of Empire: Myths and Prophesies in the Aztec Tradition, UCP, Chicago, 1982. There are very few resources available that document Quetzalcoatl’s role in pre-conquest Mesoamerican civilization. By the time the Spaniards took an interest in the original culture and belief systems of the societies they conquered, they had already killed most of the indigenous priests and burned all but sixteen of their sacred books. Instead, the Spanish scholars relied on oral histories, on reproduced manuscripts, and on the analysis of the remaining picture codices—so there was a lot of room for misinterpretation, ethnocentric misunderstandings, and manipulation of the text.

23. Paul VI, Known as Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, Pope Paul VI died on August 6, 1978.

24. These details came out in local Tamil and English newspapers with photographs.

25. Taylor, John, “Mediation and Atonement,” Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 1882 (for a view that Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl are the same individual). H. Roberts came to a similar conclusion in his “New Witnesses for God,” Deseret News, Salt Lake City, 1909–11. See also the booklet by Mark E. Peterson, “Christ in America,” Deseret News, Sal Lake City, 1972.

26. Wirth, Diane E., “Quetzalcoatl, the Maya maize god, and Jesus Christ,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 1992–2007.

27. Bayly, Susan, Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society 1700-1900, CUP, Cambridge, 1989.

28. James, Montague Rhodes, The Apocryphal New Testament (including the Acts of Thomas), Oxford, 1924. Read Acts of Thomas online.

29. Benay, Erin. The pursuit of truth and the Doubting Thomas in the art of early modern Italy, Rutgers University, New Jersey, 2009.

30. Polidoro, Emilia & Pasquini, Polidoro, L’apostolo Tommaso è ad Ortona, Ortona, 2006. As quoted by Erin Benay.

31. Vedaprakash, Indiyavil Saint Thomas Kattukkathai (The Myth of Saint Thomas in India), Institute for the Study of Western Religions, Madras, 1989. Read book online (in Tamil).

32. Buchanan, Claudius, Two Discourses preached before the University of Cambridge, on the commencement of Sunday July 1, 1810 and a sermon before the Society of Missions to Africa and the East; at their tenth anniversary. June 12, 1810. To which added Christian Researches in Asia,  Cadell, T. & Davies, W., London and Deighton, J., Cambridge, 1811.

33. In a footnote, Buchanan recorded, “Most of the Manuscripts which I collected among the Syrian Christians, I have presented to the University of Cambridge; and (they are now deposited in the Public Library of that University, together with the copper-plate facsimiles of the Christian and Jewish Tablets.” Thus it is evident that there were no originals of the said copper plates and the available / claimed copper plates have no historical value.

34. Tighe, Robert Richard & Davis, James Edward, Annals of Windsor being A History of the castle and town; with some account of Eton and places adjacent, Longmans and Brown, London, 1858.

K.V. Ramakrishna Rao is a retired tax commissioner, author and historical researcher.  He blogs at https://kvramakrishnarao.wordpress.com/.


Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, eating a missionary.


 

Archaeology: Politics of the past in Tamil Nadu and Kerala – B.S. Harishankar


“If the cooperation between politicians and historians is too close, it might be harmful since the relationship between history and politics can develop into a fatal friendship offering the reward of public attention and moral esteem whilst destroying the radical independence of historical research and its disposition to rethink history.” – Dr. Martin Sabrow


KCHR


Martin Sabrow, Professor of History at the University of Potsdam, Germany,  warned  in 2009  that, if the cooperation between politicians and historians is too close, it might be harmful since the relationship between history and politics can develop into a fatal friendship offering the reward of public attention and moral esteem whilst destroying the radical independence of historical research and its disposition to rethink history.

Sabrow’s views have relevance currently, when there is  an orchestrated campaign to establish a  hoax  identity of  the past to raise divisive political and religious claims in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The ongoing manoeuvres to associate the disputed  Pattanam site in Kerala with Kodumanal, Keezhadi, Porunthal and other unearthed spots in Tamilnadu, has already  sparked  controversies. But few are aware of  the fact that,  the very integrity of Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) which unearthed Pattanam, was seriously questioned by the Kerala state government and historians  much before the current  excavations.

Following serious complaints on KCHR about “procedural and financial irregularities” and its “approach to the writing of history”, the former Congress government led by Chief Minister A.K. Antony decided to dissolve it on September 22, 2001. Vindicating the government decision, Prof. M.G.S. Narayanan, former chairman of the ICHR, charged that the formation of the KCHR was “a Marxist party conspiracy to hijack history for its destructive, sectarian purpose of party propaganda” and welcomed the government’s move to dissolve it (Frontline, Oct. 13 – 26, 2001).

Left lobbies protested against the Congress government decision to  dismiss the KCHR. On September 25, 2001, the Safdar  Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) a Left cultural forum, called  upon the Kerala Government to immediately reinstate the KCHR. It was signed by Left historians such as  R.S. Sharma, Irfan Habib, K.M. Shrimali, D.N. Jha,  and  Sumit Sarkar.


P. J. Cherian


Upholding the state government’s decision, the Kerala High Court dismissed a writ petition challenging the dissolution of KCHR. Justice G. Sivarajan held that the petition filed by P.J. Cherian, director of KCHR and its three members was without merits (The Times of India, Dec. 20, 2001).

But following immense pressure jointly launched by Church and Left lobbies, the Congress high command directed Chief Minister A.K. Antony who was  ultimately forced to reinstate the KCHR.

The leading patrons of Pattanam which was claimed as the ancient trading port of  Muziris, were Euro-American scholars. Istvan Perczel from Hungary, one of the patrons of Pattanam, and also a  scholar in Early Christianity and Byzantine history, solicited that it provides much potential for research as the site where Apostle Thomas landed in India and established Indian Christianity (Muziris Heritage Project: Pattanam Excavations, KCHR,  2008). He also delivered a lecture at KCHR, on history of Kerala Christianity, along with  Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregorios, and theologian Ninan Koshy (The Hindu, Feb. 12, 2008).

The Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology and the Pontifical Academy of Archaeology, both at Vatican, functions for the purpose of promoting and directing excavations in the catacombs of Rome and on other sites of Christian antiquarian interest, and for safeguarding the objects found during such excavations. Consequently, the Liturgical Research Centre of the Syro-Malabar Church invited the KCHR, for its national seminars in 2005 at Kochi, and in 2011 at Kalyan in Mumbai, to present papers corroborating Pattanam and Christianity. The United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia based in New York supported Pattanam excavator P.J. Cherian in his historical studies (The New Indian Express, Feb. 17, 2011). Eleven students from the University of Georgia visited Pattanam to learn the historical, theological and sociological aspects of the ancient trading port of Muziris and Christianity in the state (The Hindu, Dec. 25, 2011). It was a global campaign that an ancient biblical site has been finally unearthed in India.


Pattanam dig and St Thomas


Orthodox churches also  took a genuine interest in Pattanam. Keynote address by Fr. Dr. K.M. George at the public meeting of Malankara Orthodox Church at the reception for Bishop Catholicos Marthoma Paulose II, on March 13, 2011, in  Tyagaraja Stadium, New Delhi, lauded Pattanam for  finally establishing the two millennium old history of apostle Thomas in India.


Prof. K. Rajan


Following escalating controversies on KCHR and Pattanam, archaeologists from major Indian institutes and universities kept away from the project. But despite serious charges of fake documentation, financial irregularities and transforming myth into history, it was Dr. K. Rajan of Pondicherry University who is one of the foremost patrons of Pattanam. He  associates Pattanam with various sites in Tamil Nadu, thus not only collaborating to establish a biblical myth as history, but also constructing a larger communal space for the Church to raise political claims in South India. Rajan observed that the cultural transformation from the Iron Age to the Early Historic Period discernible at Pattanam was unique to Peninsular India (The Hindu, May 12, 2009).

The Pattanam team acknowledges Rajan’s guidance in May 2012 for assistance to the Kongu Region, including Kodumanal, Kangayam, Arachalur and Arasampalayam. Seminars on Indian Ocean trade of Pattanam conducted by KCHR and British Museum  in August 2013 was hosted by Department of History, University of Pondicherry and chaired by Rajan. British Museum which collaborates with Pattanam is associated with biblical scholars such as Michael Jursa and Irvin Finkel. Pattanam Museum in Ernakulam was inaugurated by Finkel. Oxford which also collaborates with Pattanam,  has a long history in biblical archaeology with scholars such as  Dame Kathleen Kenyon, Roger Moorey, Andrew Sherratt, and Levantine Archaeology Laboratory as well as Ashmolean Museum.

Mario Seiglie, a missionary and columnist,  wrote that archaeology makes a believer, and abundance of archaeological evidence in support of the Bible can strengthen faith, and in some cases it has greatly contributed in giving birth to belief, where none existed before. This observation has much relevance in Pattanam and its linked sites in Tamil Nadu, in the Apostle Thomas context..

K. Rajan and P.J. Cherian jointly propagates presentations linking the Tamil Nadu-Kerala region in the backdrop of excavations at Kodumanal, Thandikudi, Porunthal and Pattanam  (Pattanam Fifth Season: Field Report, 2011, KCHR). Currently, Rajan is member of the KCHR administration. There are serious allegations that field reports on sites such as Kodumanal, Thandikudi and Porunthal are prepared for promoting Pattanam which has much political and religious connotations.

In this context, we are reminded of what the Bavarian Minister for Education and Cultural affairs, Hans Schemm, declared  in 1933, to lecturers at the University of Munich that, it is no longer their task to find out if something is true, but if it accords with the beliefs of the National Socialist government. In the present context it is the beliefs of the Left government in Kerala and church denominations in India that matters.

It is not that Prof. Rajan is ignorant of serious financial corruption and academic forgery accused on Pattanam. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) identified the unbridled foreign funds received by KCHR and cancelled its license along with Kerala Muslim Educational Association and Kerala United Theological Seminary under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (The New Indian Express, Dec. 8, 2016).

Earlier the accountant general detected the irregularities in the KCHR audit report of 2010-11 (The New Indian Express, July 22, 2012). Later in 2016, the KCHR was accused in creation of fake government documents, illegal appointments and financial irregularities worth crores. It is also alleged that the KCHR obtained the licence for the Pattanam excavation after submitting fake documents to the Archaeological Survey of India.

Following serious charges on Pattanam excavations, and unscientific approaches adopted by the KCHR, a  probe was conducted on the basis of complaints to the Union Minister of State for Culture, Mahesh Sharma.  Based on the complaints, a meeting of the central advisory panel of the ASI asked the KCHR to temporarily stop the excavations (Business Standard, Jan. 5, 2016).


Iravatham Mahadevan


Even, late Iravatham Mahadevan, who earlier applauded Pattanam as potentially important (The Hindu, Mar. 14, 2011), later declined to make any comments or observation on the site following widespread controversies.

The Pattanam site has been questioned not by activists, but by eminent south asian archaeologists and historians such as Profs. Dilip Chakrabarti, A. Sundara, Vasant Shinde, M.G.S. Narayanan, R. Nagaswamy and T. Satyamurti. When Rajan ignores serious allegations on Pattanam  by  eminent  scholarship,  it also raises serious doubts on sites in Tamil Nadu with which he constantly associates Pattanam. Already the Keezhadi site  has generated enough controversies.

The recent controversy on Pattanam erupted after R. Sivanantham, deputy director, Tamil Nadu State Department of Archaeology, officially facilitated a lecture on Pattanam by P.J. Cherian on Oct. 30, 2018. The programme was chaired by T. Udhayachandran, Commissioner, Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu.

Archaeological Survey of India’s probe into alleged unscientific approaches adopted by the KCHR at Pattanam, was taken up by Amarnath Ramakrishna, the then superintendent archaeologist of the ASI, Bengaluru centre (Business Standard, Jan. 5, 2016). His findings are kept in the dark, but later Amarnath Ramakrishna also took up the Keezhadi excavation. The CPI(M) which launched Pattanam has openly supported Amarnath Ramakrishna who supervised Keezhadi (The Hindu, Oct. 6, 2018), which  shows  how  the Left  functions in manufacturing cultural data for church lobbies.

 ASI director general Rakesh Tewari said Amarnath Ramakrishna should publish a report on the Keezhadi excavation. Then only the ASI shall give him the license for the third year because he has got more than 4,000 artefacts (“More excavation only after report,” Frontline, Jan. 2, 2017).

Dating of all these interlinked sites including Pattanam, have been done at the same institution at USA. The carbon dating conducted on Keezhadi, has been done by Beta Analytic Inc., Florida, USA (The Hindu, Sept. 30, 2017). The carbon dating at Pattanam was also conducted at Beta Analytic Inc., despite the fact that India has premier dating laboratories. Accelerator mass spectrometry dating of the paddy from Palani site excavated by Prof. Rajan was also  done by Beta Analysis Inc. which assigned the paddy to 490 BCE (“Palani excavation triggers fresh debate,” The Hindu, Aug. 29, 2011). It has also much relevance since research by Cornell University archaeologists, Stuart Manning and colleagues shows that commonly accepted radiocarbon dating standards can miss the mark, thus calling historical timelines into question.

The 21st annual Tamil convention of Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) was also held in Florida. The theme of the three day convention was “Preserve the Tamil race by protecting the language”. Florida is a major stronghold of FeTNA and the carbon dating of  both Keezhadi and Pattanam in Florida raises serious suspicion.


Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj


FeTNA in April, 2018, invited Amarnath Ramakrishna to deliver a lecture on the Keezhadi excavations. The ASI denied him permission to participate as guest of honor at this event, possibly because FeTNA publicly supported the cause of ethnic Sri Lankan Tamils in the Sri Lankan civil war. Time and again, the Sri Lanka Guardian has warned that the Catholic Church is heavily involved with the LTTE from the 1970s (“Catholic Church, an ally of Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka”, Guardian, April 4, 2009). The FeTNA has been a major campaigner and fund-raiser for the Tamil Chair at the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. George L. Hart, known for his Dravidian politics, was hired for the chair. FeTNA also honoured Jagath Gasper, Catholic propagandist for Christianizing Tamil culture.

Thillai Kumaran, the  former  president of FeTNA, represented it in the vicious 2006 California textbook campaign launched by FOIL, FOSA and many members of the CAG against Hindu groups who were advocating for an equitable treatment of Hinduism vis-a-vis other leading global religions in sixth grade textbooks. FeTNA’s testimony at the California Curriculum Commission made the dubious claim that the early Tamil texts clearly distinguish between Tamils and Aryans. The  co-founders of FOIL are two  Indian Leftists, Biju Mathew and Vijay Prashad.

Harvard scholar Michael Witzel has admitted that he and his associates were in contact with FeTNA in the California textbook campaign. Thillai Kumaran, representing FeTNA, in their letter dated  Feb. 19, 2006, wrote  to Glee Johnson of California State Board of Education, thanking Witzel for the efforts in proposing edits in pursuance of the Colorado evangelical church agenda. Witzel’s supporters in the California textbook battle include two evangelical groups: Dalit Freedom Network and Dalit Solidarity Forum in the USA. DFN president Joseph D’Souza also patronizes the All India Christian Council.

The Left–church syndicate at Pattanam and its current association with Tamil Nadu archaeological sites has to be understood in a global context. The fervor shown for propaganda and for dating them in one institution in America has also  generated questions regarding politics of the past in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. – Bharatkalyan, 9 December 2018

Dr. B. S. Harishankar is an author and senior archaeological researcher.


Syrian-style gold cross


Read more at:


 

Syrian Orthodox bishop doubts St. Thomas visited South India – Times News Network

“St. Thomas did not visit Kerala and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity.” – Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Jacobite Syrian Church


Geevarghese Mor Coorilos


The following remarkable news item appeared in The Times of India, Kochi edition, on 13 April 2018:

After the land scam, another controversy has erupted in the Syro-Malabar Church. This time around, the ruckus is over the historical validity of the claim that St. Thomas the apostle had visited Kerala.

Three days ago, Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Niranam diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Church said St. Thomas hadn’t visited the state and did not convert upper caste Hindus to Christianity.


Paul Thelekatt


Syro-Malabar Church official spokesperson and senior priest belonging to Enakulam-Angamali diocese Fr. Paul Thelekatt too agreed with the Niranam bishop: “There is no valid evidence to prove the visit of St. Thomas to Kerala. It is believed that he visited Kerala in the first century and converted Brahmins to Christianity. But the migration of Brahmins to Kerala began only in the 7th century,[1] indicating that such claims were false. The fact is that a group of people followed Christianity for several centuries in Kerala.”

Syrian Christians in Kerala believe that St. Thomas had visited Kerala and converted the upper caste Namboodiris to Christianity. They believe St. Thomas had also built eight churches (also known as 7.5 churches) in various parts of Kerala. The Syrian Christians are also known as St. Thomas Christians. “Even the Pope has made it clear that St. Thomas had not visited Kerala. But a certain section among Kerala Christians have been nursing a certain caste bias claiming to be descendants of upper caste Hindus who were converted to Christianity,” said Fr. Thelakkat. In fact, Syrian Christians in Changanacherry, Pala and Kanjirappally claim that they belong to upper caste Hindu families converted by St. Thomas. Most of the families in these areas reportedly claim they hail from “Athi Puratana Katholika Kudumbam”.

However, Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) doesn’t seemed to be amused over the controversy.

“There is no need to discuss the issue now. Those who raised the issue should solve it,” said KCBC official spokesperson Fr. Varghese Vallikkatt. – The Times of India, 3 April 2018


St. Thomas makes the Sandhyavandanam water offering of the Namboothiri Brahmins stand in the air.


1. There is a record of Namboodiri Brahmins in Kerala in the middle of the fourth century CE, when the practice of the Vedic Shrauta traditions were revived. The sixth or seventh century dates for their appearance is a politically-coloured Marxist conjecture. But it is true that there is no record of Namboodiris in Kerala in the first three and a half centuries CE (as there is none for Christians).


 

Marxists and Christians search for St. Thomas at Pattanam – Sandhya Jain


“Kerala’s attempt to create spurious evidence of the arrival of Apostle Thomas in India merits wider dissemination. It must be seen as part of a concerted attempt to entrench the Cross in India.” – Sandhya Jain


Pattanam: Constructs, Contexts and Interventions by B.S. Harishankar


Rescuing the antiquity of Indian civilisation from the biblical mythology of Max Mueller, rubbishing the well-orchestrated history-as-dogma of the Aryan invasion and proving the existence of river Saraswati, excavating and resurrecting the still unknown past, and restoring the once handsome architectural marvels that have fallen victim to time or iconoclasts, Indian archaeologists have their task cut out for them. Their work is critical in correcting the lacunas, misinterpretations and falsifications of history in various parts of the country, especially at the hands of scholars with a pronounced bias against our native traditions.

Unless repudiated, invented history enters the popular mind as “fact”. The Aryan fable still persists because Marxists have been able to prevent all historical and scientific findings, disproving the movement of people into India at the time of the alleged “invasion”, from entering school textbooks where the foundations of knowledge are laid. This is why noted archaeologist B.S. Harishankar’s debunking of the Kerala Council for Historical Research’s (KCHR) attempts to create spurious evidence of the arrival of Apostle Thomas in India, unequivocally denied by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2006, merits wider dissemination.

The excavations to identify Pattanam, in Ernakulum district, with ancient Muziris of the Cheras, began soon after the Syro-Malabar Church scrambled to rescue the legend that claimed India as the first mission of the church, long before it went to Europe. As a result, in November 2006, the Vatican Secretariat accepted the story as history, to project Christianity as an indigenous faith of great longevity. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) embraced the project with alacrity; the brochure, Muziris Heritage Project: Pattanam Excavations 2008, lists Prof. Romila Thapar as one of the patrons.


B.S. Harishankar


In Pattanam: Constructs, Contexts and Interventions (2017), Harishankar denounces the presence of European and American scholars in the dig, while excluding the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Indian universities. Eminent historians Prof. Dilip K. Chakbrabarti and Prof. M.G.S. Narayanan, and archaeologists Prof. R. Nagaswamy, Prof. A. Sundara, and Prof. T.  Sathyamurthy, denounced the attempts to link Pattanam with Muziris, when Kodungallur where the river meets the sea, is far more logical. Neither archaeological evidences nor historical records support Apostle Thomas arrived in India; he possibly visited Fars (Persia) and the Afghanistan region.

Harishankar has referenced the Pattanam excavations with all researched and published material available. The KCHR, headed by Prof. K.N. Panikkar of JNU, is alleged to have manipulated archaeological evidence and manufactured new evidence to “prove” that Pattanam had historical ties with Jerusalem and other regions in West Asia from 1000 BC. He discusses the evidence that debunks the theory that there was ever a port city at Pattanam along the west coast, which the KCHR historians claim was an international trade route dating back to 800 BC.

Interestingly, the claim that Apostle Thomas established the first settlement at Pattanam was independently debunked by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Trombay, and the National Institute of Oceanography, Kochi. The BARC scientists, who successfully traced the course of the Saraswati through radio isotope studies, examined Kerala’s mud banks during the monsoons and concluded that marine and palaeo-hydrological studies rule out the possibilities of a port city, wharf or township at Pattanam. In fact, the area excavated by the KCHR does not qualify for excavations as the cultural stratigraphy has been badly damaged by monsoons, floods, erosion, and construction activities. Moreover, as Harishankar maintains, the ASI is the only body competent to authorise excavations.

Pattanam is not an archaeological mound, as claimed by KCHR. Western India, Harishankar argues, has several archaeological sites with ramparts or mud embankments to prevent floods. No such evidence has been found at Pattanam. On the contrary, the site at Pattanam in lower Periyar has coastal alluvium with sand and clay, and lacks laterite formation or thick soil. Hence, it was not chosen as an Iron Age settlement.

Moreover, urbanism in early historic India involves certain precursors such as immense size, internal planning, public architecture, settlement hierarchies, enclosing walls, script, craft specialisation, long-distance trade, subsistence strategies and population growth. None of these exist at Pattanam, yet KCHR’s chosen scholars claimed as an urban site and port city. When the absence of these parameters were pointed out, the KCHR historians toned down their claims and alleged that the structural remains unearthed were carried away by locals, which is simply ridiculous.

Curiously, KCHR forwarded the plant remains found at Pattanam to the Spices Board, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, though it has no competence to examine them. And despite premier institutions available in India, the carbon dating was done abroad. But what is more pertinent, KCHR’s modern historians with no experience in field archaeology should not have excavated Pattanam with foreign funds and a crew of Biblical scholars.

KCHR appointed Dr. P.J. Cherian, with no academic background in archaeology, as director of the Pattanam excavations. Cherian’s PhD dissertation is on “The Communist Movement in Travancore: From the Origins to the Uprisings in 1946” (University of Calicut, 1993). However, The University of Rome Tor Vergata granted a three-year research fellowship to P.J. Cherian, Director, KCHR, and Pattanam excavations.

To assist Cherian, some distinguished biblical historians and Latin scholars were attached to the project. They include Istvan Perczel (Hungarian scholar of Byzantine history and early Christianity); Roberta Tomber (specialist in Roman and Indian Ocean pottery); Federico de Romanis (expert on Roman and Portuguese pepper trade); and Irving R. Finkel (British philologist and Assyriologist, expert in the script, languages and cultures of the Middle East). None is equipped to handle excavations; it’s a Max Mueller style of biblical mumbo jumbo.

In an exhibition at the National Museum in 2014, KCHR claimed Pattanam is the third Indian site to unearth terra sigillata pottery after Arikamedu and Alagankulam in Tamil Nadu, though it has been found at Uraiyur, Kanchipuram, Vasavasamudram, Kodumanal, Karur and Sulur in Tamil Nadu and several sites in Gujarat and western India. It claimed that rouletted pottery from Pattanam was reported for the first time on the west coast, when it was found in 124 sites across the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Cherian is the executive president of the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage. His claim that his excavation unearthed evidence of a 2,000-year-old port city at a place where Saint Thomas allegedly landed rests more on faith than on history or archaeology. It must be seen as part of a concerted attempt to entrench the Cross in Asia, particularly India. – The Pioneer, 3 April 2018.

› Sandhya Jain is a political analyst and columnist with The Pioneer, New Delhi.


Dr. Nagaswamy refutes the St. Thomas myth from 11:30 mins …


 

The communal agenda of Marxist and Christian historians in India – G.P. Srinivasan


“The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) aimed to establish under manufactured and deceptive archaeological evidence that Pattanam was ancient Muziris of the Cheras where, supposedly, Thomas the Apostle had landed.” – G.P. Srinivasan


P. J. Cherian


Historical records and archaeological evidence are conveniently denied, but strategically manipulated and suppressed by Communist historians in India. They vigorously preach Aryan invasion theory despite clinching archaeological, archaeozoological and palaeoanthropological evidence. They vehemently deny palaeohydrological and palaeoclimatic evidence on Sarasvati river. But the Left historians have always joined hands with Church lobbies in India for transforming myth into history. The recent evidence of this Communist–Church federation is at Pattanam, a site in Ernakulum district of Kerala.


Prof M. G. S. Narayanan and Dr B. S. Hari Shankar : Book release on March 17, 2017 at Kozhikkode


The book titled Pattanam: Constructs, Contexts and Interventions by Dr. B.S. Harishankar was released on March 17, 2017 at Kozhikode in Kerala by Professor M.G.S. Narayanan, former ICHR chairman. According to Professor M.G.S. Narayanan eminent historian, Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) is a Marxist research council. Professor Narayanan made this observation when he was inaugurating the release of this book published by Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram. Dr. M.G.S. Narayanan charged that the KCHR was organised by the CPM, consisting of historians who followed the dictates and agenda of the party. They kept away the Archaeological Survey of India and Indian universities while initiating the Pattanam excavations under the Muziris Heritage Project. The KCHR aimed to establish under manufactured and deceptive archaeological evidence that Pattanam was ancient Muziris (Muchiri) of the Cheras. The project was also launched for protecting the personal gains of CPM leaders Dr.. T.M. Thomas Issac, current finance minister in CPM government in Kerala and M.A. Baby, polit bureau member.

There was no transparent archaeological research at Pattanam under KCHR. Earlier, stone beads were identified at Pattanam following heavy rains. It was widely propagated that the site was a port city and an ancient township of the Cheras before launching the excavations. When questions were raised at KCHR regarding claims of a township and port city, they took a retreat from their early contentions and made incredible statements that the structural remains unearthed were carried away by local residents.

The KCHR also provides an incredible presentation of a wharf to vindicate their claims of a port city according to M.G.S. Narayanan. Ambiguous and distorted evidence of pottery has been put forward by KCHR. Pattanam was highlighted by KCHR in its National Museum exhibition in 2014 as the third site to unearth terra sigillata pottery in India after Arikamedu and Alagankulam in Tamil Nadu. KCHR has suppressed the fact that terra sigillata has been recovered from Uraiyur, Kanchipuram, Vasavasamudram, Kodumanal, Karur and Sulur in Tamil Nadu and  numerous sites in western India, especially Gujarat. Similarly, KCHR contended that rouletted pottery from Pattanam was reported for the first time on west coast. This is another false statement. This pottery has been reported from 124 sites across Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.


Fraudulent Pattanam archaeological dig, supposed landing place of St Thomas


Professor Narayanan said that KCHR also intends to propagate that St. Thomas landed in Kerala coast in first century AD to propagate Christianity. There are no archaeological evidence or historical records to substantiate that Apostle Thomas arrived in India. There are some records to vindicate that he arrived in the Afghanistan region. The Pattanam excavations under KCHR is the biggest archaeological duplicity and treachery in the history of Indian historical research in this century. Narayanan said the current book has comprehensively documented and discussed Pattanam excavations using all researched and published material available  which the  KCHR cannot push aside or ignore.

Pattanam excavations were not an accidental episode or a project initiated in understanding the historical past of India’s west coast. Pope Benedict XVI, refused to accept St Thomas myth as history. But following pressure by Syro Malabar Church, Vatican secretariat send letter to Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil in Kerala on November 25, 2006 accepting St. Thomas myth as history and initiating activities for establishing it as truth. Pattanam excavations by KCHR comprising Left historians panel started at this time.

The Marxist historians led by Professor K.N. Panikkar from JNU who is now chairman of KCHR, manipulated archaeological evidence, manufactured new evidence and spread huge lies to establish that Pattanam had historical relations with Jerusalem, Israel and other countries in West Asia from 1000 BC. The director of Pattanam excavations is Dr. P.J. Cherian, a  Left and Church historian who did his Ph.D in 1993 from University of Calicut on the topic, The Communist Movement in Travancore: From the Origins to the Uprisings in 1946.  For Pattanam excavations, Cherian is supported by University of Rome. The University of Rome Tor Vergata has conferred a three-year research fellowship on P.J. Cherian, Director, Kerala Council for Historical Research and Pattanam excavations as reported by The Hindu on February 16, 2011. Cherian took an interest in archaeology due to directions given by United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA) with headquarters in New York as reported by Express News Service on February 17, 2011. The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East published on March 5, 2011 Cherian’s statement that recent excavations in Kerala have found evidence of a port city that existed more than 2,000 years ago at a place where Saint Thomas is believed to have landed. P.J. Cherian is executive president of the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage. Cherian has presented papers linking St. Thomas and Pattanam at the seminars organized by Liturgical Research Centre of Syro Malabar Church in November 2005 at Kochi and July 2011 at Kalyan in Mumbai. Irving R. Finkel, scholar in biblical studies, inaugurated Khor Rori KCHR Children’s Museum at Pattanam. Few people know the fact that  Khor Rori, a place said to be located in Oman said to be associated vaguely to biblical episodes.

The KCHR has huge financial and academic support of a Euro-American lobby outside India. The KCHR has kept away ASI and Indian universities from Pattanam excavations. Recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the license of over twenty NGOs in Kerala under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010 with effect from November 1, 2010 which included KCHR. It is also alleged that the KCHR director Dr. P.J. Cherian was involved in creation of fake government documents, illegal appointments and financial irregularities worth crores.


ASI Ayodhya Excavation


The Left and pseudo-secular historians in India who now work hard at Pattanam for proving the archaeological evidence of Apostle Thomas have simultaneously denied the existence of a Hindu temple at Ayodhya. Veteran archaeologists such as Professor B.B. Lal, late Dr. P. Gupta, Y.D. Sharma and K.M. Srivastava presented convincing archaeological evidence of a temple beneath the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. The team found that the objects were dateable to the period ranging from the 10th through the 12th century AD. Besides Vaishnavite images and that of Shiva–Parvati, the unearthed objects at Ayodhya also included a number of amakalas, i.e., the cogged-wheel type architectural element which crown the bhumi shikharas or spires of subsidiary shrines, as well as the top of the spire or the main shikharas. There were other evidences such as cornices, pillar capitals, mouldings, door jambs with floral patterns precisely showing clinching evidence regarding the existence of a 10th-12th century AD  temple complex at the site of Ayodhya.

B.B. Lal has noted that the ruins of Ayodhya have a circuit of 4 to 5 kms and rise at places to a height of 10 metres above the ground level. He observed that the Northern Black Polished Ware  (NBPW) at the earliest level and continues with several structural phases up to the third century AD. The Left historians such as Professors R. S. Sharma, Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, D. N. Jha and K. N. Panikkar from  Jamia Millia, Delhi, JNU and Aligarh universities denied this archaeological evidence at Ayodhya for their pseudo secular interests. Their research methodology, manufacture of archaeological evidence and communal agenda have all been exposed from Pattanam excavations.

› G.P. Srinivasan does historical research and reporting from Srirangam.


 

Geeta Padmanabhan votes for St. Thomas – Ishwar Sharan


“The Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese offers generous rewards to any newspaper columnist promoting its (in)famous San Thome Cathedral and the fable of St. Thomas that goes with it. And there are in India any number of journalistic ‘presstitutes’ (courtesy Gen. Singh) who are eager to collect the Catholic moolah and record the falsified history of St. Thomas as dictated by the parish priest and his greedy bishop. A fine example of this ‘presstitution’ which appeared in The Hindu, Chennai’s notoriously Hinduphobic newspaper, is posted below.” – IS


The HinduGeeta Padmanabhan


St. Thomas and the city – Geeta Padmanabhan

San Thome Basilica, Santhome

In a city with many churches known for their antiquity, history, religious significance and architectural grandeur, this one stands tall. Its imposing neo-Gothic design is enhanced by a series of spires, with the tallest rising to 155 ft.

The colossal central area, stunning stained-glass murals and life-size portraits inside, and the slender towers and pinnacles outside, make it a huge tourist attraction.

But, the cathedral’s significance goes beyond architectural beauty. The basilica is one of the three places associated with St. Thomas in Chennai. Legend has it that he landed in India in 52 CE and established churches on the West Coast before heading to the Coromandel coast and Madras. After his martyrdom in 72 CE, his disciples buried him in Santhome, and the church came up on the spot.

Wrote Marco Polo: “It is in this province, which is styled the Greater India, at the gulf between Ceylon and the mainland, that the body of Messer St. Thomas lies, at a certain town having no great population.” The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century, were shown the tomb by Armenian merchants, excavated it in 1523, found a few relics and rebuilt the shrine.

By 1893, the church, again in disrepair, was demolished to give way for the present one. In 1956, the church was declared a minor basilica. In 2002, in a further renovation, a new passage to the tomb from outside and a museum of St. Thomas memorabilia were added. The spear that killed the saint, stones that have deeds of St. Thomas etched on them, and two postage stamps are part of the collection.

The cathedral became a centre of conversation when the tsunami that devastated areas all around left the newly-renovated church untouched. Folklore has it that St. Thomas had mounted a log of wood at the top of the steps leading to the Cathedral saying the sea would not pass that point. People believe this “miraculous post” kept the sea away that fateful day.

Little Mount

The story of St. Thomas’ association with Chennai begins in a tiny cave in Little Mount (Chinnamalai) at Saidapet. The apostle is believed to have lived and preached here. The cave’s mouth is about 5 feet in height and one-and-a-half feet in width. Another opening supposedly leads to a tunnel through which the apostle is believed to have escaped his assailants. The clear palm print near the tunnel’s entrance and the footprint at the foot of the hillock are believed to be those of St. Thomas. The freshwater spring nearby is supposed to have appeared miraculously to quench the thirst of his followers.

A portrait of St. Thomas, a Portuguese inscription, a tiny church built by the Portuguese in 1551 and a masonry cross at the top of the hill add to the place’s importance. A new circular modern church dedicated to our Lady of Health, has been built to commemorate the 19th Century of St. Thomas’ martyrdom.

St. Thomas Mount

A flight of 160 steps, built by the Armenian merchant Coja Petrus Uscan, leads to the top of St. Thomas Mount. Here you get to see what is believed to be a piece of St. Thomas’ bone and the “bleeding” cross, that legend says was carved by St. Thomas himself. It is while he was praying before it that he is said to have been martyred, and it was stained with his blood. This cross was discovered in the 16th century by workers digging to lay the foundation for the church. People believe it sweated blood on December 18 every year from 1551 to 1704 AD.

Also, look for the picture of Our Lady or the Scapular of St. Thomas, said to have been painted by St. Luke the Evangelist and brought here by St. Thomas. – The Hindu, 4 October 2016

Geeta Padmanabhan is a freelance journalist and a retired English teacher. Happiness to her is exchanging ideas with young people—(telling them the truth about Mylapore’s sordid Portuguese history is to be avoided though! – IS). Geeta lives in Chennai, India.- The Hindu, 4 October 2016


Gulf of Mannar


Ishwar Sharan replies

The reason we have taken issue with Geeta Padmanabhan’s article in The Hindu is because The Hindu’s editor refuses to allow any dissenting view or counter comment to the article. We know of half a dozen readers who have commented on Geeta’s article but have had their comments deleted.

This prejudiced editorial position of The Hindu vis-a-vis the St Thomas myth is not new. We have had three editions of our study of the St Thomas myth rejected by The Hindu’s editors, in 1991 when it was first published, then again in 1995 and 2010 when these later expanded editions were sent to the paper for review.

This deeply discriminatory attitude of The Hindu is equally true of other mainstream newspapers, namely The New Indian Express and The Times of India. All of them publish St. Thomas stories and all of them refuse outright to consider the actual historical evidence against St. Thomas’s mission and murder in India, or the evidence for the destruction of the original Kapaleeswara Temple on the Mylapore beach and the building of the first San Thome Church on its foundations by the Portuguese.

The whole fable is exploded by the fact that the complete skeleton of St. Thomas has been in the possession of the Ortona Cathedral Basilica (Basilica-Concattedrale di San Tommaso Apostolo) in Italy since the 12th century. Therefore the Portuguese could not have found any bones or spear heads or pots of blood-soaked earth in the royal tomb—allegedly of a Chola prince—they opened in the 16th century!

Geeta Padmanabhan undermines her own concocted story for St Thomas in Mylapore when she quotes Marco Polo. He wrote: “It is in this province, which is styled the Greater India, at the gulf between Ceylon and the mainland, that the body of Messer St. Thomas lies, at a certain town having no great population.”

Obviously this is a reference to the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka, not the Mylapore beach area that is now called Santhome.

All told Marco never visited India. He is only repeating the fanciful tales of Syrian Christian merchants that he met in Constantinople.

Why are educated and cultured South Indian intellectuals so reluctant to tell the truth of history and the fact that the Portuguese imposed the St. Thomas tale on Mylapore by force and fraud, that they totally destroyed Mylapore as far as their ships’ cannon could reach—about 2 kms inland—and then “restored” the town with their St. Thomas churches built over ruined temple foundations? Why?


 

A Feast of St. Thomas – Ishwar Sharan


“The Roman Catholic Church in India owes Hindus an abject apology for the blood libel she has perpetuated for centuries, falsely charging Hindus with the murder of St. Thomas even as she falsely charges Jews with the murder of Jesus.” – Ishwar Sharan


St. Thomas by Georges de LaTour (1625-30)


IS-SDSThe Deccan Chronicle in Chennai carried on 2 July 2012 a “mystic mantra” column called “Feast of Thomas” by Fr. Francis Gonsalves, the former president of the Jesuit-run Vidyajyoti Theological College in New Delhi. The feast for St Thomas is celebrated on July 3rd every year in India. Fr. Francis knows better than this writer that the story of St. Thomas in India is untrue. He also knows that prestigious Jesuit schools in Europe would never refer to the Thomas in India story without first qualifying it as an unverified Gnostic moral fable. But Fr. Francis whose ancestors were Christian converts in Goa—by force or fraud we do not know—is an Indian Jesuit under a communal compulsion to deceive his congregation and support their fanciful apostolic aspirations for India.  And there is also the politics of which his religious order is more than famous—or should we say infamous. Fr. Francis had a candidate for the Indian presidency in the person of a deracinated tribal convert called Purno Sangma. Therefore Fr Francis must continue to perpetrate the St. Thomas in India lie as he believes that Thomas has already claimed India for Christ and that claim could have been actualized in the person of Purno Sangma. So Fr Francis wrote:

Fr Francis Gonsalves, SJI’m often asked by the people here in India and abroad, “When did Christianity come to India?” “Indian Christianity is about 2,000 years old,” I reply, adding, “Ever since St. Thomas, one of Jesus’ beloved disciples, came to India.”[1] Thus, we have the so-called “St. Thomas Christians”[2]—mainly from Kerala—whose ancestors received Jesus’ “Gospel” soon after his resurrection. On July 3, Christians will celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas.

The Gospel of John records three utterances of St. Thomas that give glimpses of his character. First, when Jesus desires to go to Bethany, bordering Jerusalem, the disciples try to prevent him from going since he was almost stoned there for claiming kinship with God. Thomas, however, sticks by Jesus, and says, “Let’s also go that we may die with him” (John 11:16). This shows Thomas’ courage and his commitment to Jesus.

Second, when Jesus announces his imminent death and assures his disciples that he’ll prepare a place for them, he adds, “You know the way to the place where I’m going.” Thomas answers candidly, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5). This prompts Jesus to reply, “I am the way.”

Thomas’ third utterance gives not only him, but also gifts us the appellation “doubting Thomas”. Being no pushover, Thomas asks for “proof” before he believes the unprecedented news of Jesus rising from the dead. But, on meeting the Risen Christ, he exclaims: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). These words are etched in gold over the tomb of St. Thomas at the San Thome Cathedral, Chennai: a magnificent 16th-century Gothic church visited by innumerable pilgrims.

Having lived in Chennai, I cherish unforgettable moments at monuments built in memory of Apostle Thomas. I remember that morning of Sunday, December 26, 2004, when I was presiding over morning worship at San Thome Cathedral and the mighty ocean came crashing down upon Marina beach, leaving us distraught at the destruction wrought by the tsunami.

Two other churches in Chennai commemorate the Apostle: one built in 1523 atop “Saint Thomas Mount” near the airport, and, another big, circular one constructed in 1972 on “Little Mount”. The former contains the “Bleeding Cross”, believed to have been sculpted on stone by St. Thomas, while the latter rests beside the cave where the Apostle prayed.

Saints are not the exclusive property of one religion. St. Thomas teaches us all three things: (a) to be courageous and committed to a cause; (b) to be candid and to clarify things when in doubt; and (c) to be critical of things outside human experience; yet, also to believe in God who forever remains “The Beyond” while inspiring us to exclaim, “My Lord, my God!” in the everyday ordinariness of life.Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 2 June 2012

There is no historical evidence to support the legend that St. Thomas, called Judas Thomas in the Acts of Thomas, ever came to India. And when we say there is no historical evidence in Western literature, we say emphatically that there is no evidence for St. Thomas or Indian Christianity in ancient Tamil literature either. Even up to the tenth century and Raja Raja Chola’s time, Tamil literature has no record of Christians or Christianity being present in the land.

The story of Thomas’s Indian sojourn exists only in the Acts of Thomas. This long religious romance was probably written by the Syrian Gnostic poet Bardesanes about 210 CE at Edessa, Syria. Bardesanes was familiar with India and had met and discussed Indian philosophy with Buddhist monks travelling west to Alexandria and Rome. It was therefore quite natural for him to place his moral fable in India, a land from which all kinds of religious ideas emanated.[3]

Bardesanes story is centred on the moral imperative that all Christians must lead a chaste and celibate life. In the story he has Judas Thomas, who is presented as a look-alike twin brother of Jesus, persuade a newly married royal couple not to consummate their marriage. This angers the Parthian king of the desert land where Thomas is present and he has to flee for his life to another part of the country. Here he comes into contact with another Parthian king called Gundaphorus—possibly a first century king of  Gandhara i.e. West Pakistan—and promises to build him a palace. Thomas cheats the king of his money but succeeds in converting him to Christianity. He then leaves Gundaphorus and concerns himself with a talking donkey and a dragon who claims to be Satan. Thomas slays the dragon, but because of his interest in converting the women and girls of the area to Christianity and alienating them from family life, is called before a third Parthian king called Mazdai—Mazdai being a Zoroastrian name after the Zoroastrian deity Ahura Mazda—and ordered to leave the country. When Thomas ignores the king’s warning and converts the queen and her son, the king in exasperation at the apostle’s evil deeds orders him executed. He is then speared to death by soldiers on a royal acropolis and the body shortly afterward taken away to Edessa.

In all records Thomas is executed on the Parthian royal acropolis and soon after buried at Edessa where a cult grows up around his tomb—until Marco Polo in his famous travel book puts his tomb on the seashore in an unnamed little town in South India. Marco, who never came to India, was repeating the stories told to him by Muslim and Syrian Christian merchants he met in Constantinople.

This is how St. Thomas got to South India. The Portuguese who knew Marco’s popular book Il Milione decided quite arbitrarily that Mylapore was the unnamed little town Marco was referring to [4]—and Mylapore also had a good harbour and a great heathen temple that could be turned into a Christian apostle’s tomb. As they say, the rest is history—and a falsified history at that!

Though Bardesanes represents Judas Thomas as a second Christ, he does not represent him as a good man. What we gather from the story in the Acts, and what Fr. Francis and his Church neglect to tell the faithful, is that

  • Jesus was a slave trader who sold Thomas to Abbanes for thirty pieces of silver;
  • Thomas was an antisocial character who lied to his royal employer and stole money from him;
  • Thomas ill-treated women and enslaved them;
  • Thomas practised black magic and was executed for disobeying the king’s order to stop the practise and leave the country;
  • Thomas was Jesus’s twin brother, implying that the four canonical Gospels are unreliable sources which have concealed a crucial fact, viz. that Jesus was not God’s Only Begotten Son. In fact, Jesus and Thomas were God’s twin-born sons. In other words, accepting the Thomas legend as history is equivalent to exploding the doctrinal foundation of Christianity.

Enough said about Judas Didymus Thomas.

About San Thome Cathedral which houses his fake tomb—the real tomb for St. Thomas is at Ortona, Italy—it has been established by reputed Jesuit and Indian archaeologists that the church stands on the ruins of the original Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. So do the churches at Little Mount and Big Mount stand on ruined Murugan and Shiva temples respectively. The “Bleeding Cross” Fr. Francis refers to and which is kept in the Portuguese church on Big Mount, has these words carved around the edge of it in Pahlavi script: “My lord Christ, have mercy upon Afras, son of Chaharbukht the Syrian, who cut this.” The cross is dated by experts to the eighth or ninth century.

Apostle Thomas was a Jew and the Roman cross would have been a most abhorrent symbol to him. Certainly he did not bring a cross—or a Bible for that matter; there was no Bible in the first century—to India. Christians did not use the Roman cross as a religious symbol until the third century or later. They used a fish sign with the Greek word ΙΧΘΥC (ikhthus meaning “fish”)—an acronym for JESUS—inscribed in its body to identify themselves and their cult. Curiously Indian Christianity has never referenced or employed a fish symbol in its religious culture. This is because there were no Christians in India before the fourth century. The cross and Bible were brought later by Syrian Christian refugees after the fourth century.

We wish to assure Fr. Francis and the Christian congregations that he has deceived, that Hindus are not going to demand the return of temple property the Church has forcefully taken from them over the centuries. But we do feel an apology for past crimes is in order and that some restraint is observed when perpetuating the communally-charged St. Thomas tale among the faithful—especially as Thomas’s persecution and death are falsely attributed to a Hindu king and his Brahmin priests. Arun Shourie has stated that the apology should include the following items:

  • An honest accounting of the calumnies which the Church has heaped on India and Hinduism; informing Indian Christians and non-Christians about the findings of Bible scholarship [including the St Thomas legend];
  • informing them about the impact of scientific progress on Church doctrine;
  • acceptance that reality is multi-layered and that there are many ways of perceiving it;
  • bringing the zeal for conversion in line with the recent declarations that salvation is possible through other religions as well.

Besides this apology, we feel the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore may donate a piece of the vast estate Bishop’s House stands on for a memorial to the courageous Hindus who resisted the Portuguese when they with the help of Franciscan, Dominican and Jesuit priests were destroying the Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple by the sea.

The Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, who may be an honest man unlike his predecessors, also must stop perpetuating the claim that Tiruvalluvar was a disciple of Thomas and a Christian convert. Tiruvalluvar lived a hundred years before Christ and anybody who has read the Tirukurral can see that this claim is a malicious falsehood.

The St. Thomas legend is now part of Indian history and Indian history must be told according to the known facts, not according to the fabricated anti-national theories of Indian Jesuits and Marxist historians. Even Pope Benedict has denied that St. Thomas came to South India—never mind that his editors changed his statement the next day to include South India because Kerala’s bishops had threatened secession or worse if the Church did not support their dearly held tale of origins.

Dr Koenraad Elst, educated in Europe’s most prestigious Catholic university at Leuven, Belgium, writes in his foreword to The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple: “It is clear enough that many Christians including the Pope have long given up the belief in Thomas’s Indian exploits, or—like the Church Fathers—never believed in them in the first place. In contrast with European Christians today, Indian Christians live in a 17th century bubble, as if they are too puerile to stand in the daylight of solid historical fact. They remain in a twilight of legend and lies, at the command of ambitious “medieval” bishops who mislead them with the St. Thomas in India fable for purely selfish reasons.”

What a sad observation on Indian Christians who have access to the best education and health care in the country. And what a shrewd observation on Indian bishops who are probably the most wealthy, corrupt, and politically astute caste living in India today.

› Francis Gonsalves teaches systematic theology  at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune.

› Ishwar Sharan is the author of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, Voice of India, New Delhi.


1. India’s political leaders are fond of telling their constituents and the nation that Christianity arrived in India before it arrived in Europe. This historical conceit is not true. Apostle Paul says in Romans 15:24 & 15:28 that he plans to visit Spain (which already had a Christian community). In Acts 19:21 he travels from Ephesus to Greece—Macedonia and Achaia—en route to Jerusalem, and then on to Rome. This took place in the 40s CE—some historians say he was writing after 44 CE. So even if it was true that Apostle Thomas landed in Kerala in 52 CE—the spurious date is of 19th century origin—Christianity would still have arrived in Europe a decade earlier.

2. Thomas of Cana, also known as Knai Thoma, led the first group of 72 Syrian Christian families to India in 345 CE. There is no record of Christian communities in India prior to this date. Thomas of Cana and his companion Bishop Joseph of Edessa also brought with them the tradition of St. Thomas the Apostle of the East. Later, Christian communities in Kerala would identify Knai Thoma with Mar Thoma—Thomas of Cana with Thomas the Apostle—and claim St. Thomas had arrived in Kerala in AD 52 and established the first Christian church at Musiris—the ancient port near present day Kodungallur—the main trading center of the day.

The Rev Dr G. Milne Rae of the Madras Christian College, in The Syrian Church in India, did not allow that St Thomas came further east than Afghanistan (Gandhara). He told the Syrian Christians that they reasoned fallaciously about their identity and wove a fictitious story of their origin. Their claim that they were called “St Thomas” Christians from the 1st century was also false.

Syrian Christians were called Nasranis (from Nazarean) or Nestorians (by Europeans) up to the 14th century. Bishop Giovanni dei Marignolli the Franciscan papal legate in Quilon invented the appellation “St Thomas Christians” in 1348 to distinguish his Syrian Christian converts from the low-caste Hindu converts in his congregation.

3. The oriental ubiquity of St. Thomas’s apostolate is explained by the fact that the geographical term “India” included, apart from the subcontinent of this name, the lands washed by the Indian Ocean as far as the China Sea in the east and the Arabian peninsula, Ethiopia, and the African coast in the west.

Ancient writers used the designation “India” for all countries south and east of the Roman Empire’s frontiers. India included Ethiopia, Arabia Felix, Edessa in Syria (in the Latin version of the Syriac Diatessaron), Arachosia and Gandhara (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and many countries up to the China Sea.

In the Acts of Thomas, the original key text to identify St Thomas with India (which all other India references follow), historians agree that the term India refers to Parthia (Persia) and Gandhara (Pakistan). The city of Andrapolis named in the Acts, where Judas Thomas and Abbanes landed in India, has been identified as Sandaruck (one of the ancient Alexandrias) in Balochistan.

4. Marco Polo had written,  “It is in this province, which is styled the Greater India, at the gulf between Ceylon and the mainland, that the body of Messer St. Thomas lies, at a certain town having no great population.”

So Marco’s reference is to a town on the Gulf of Mannar and not to Mylapore at all!


Thomas & Hindu Assassin


St Thomas Tomb, San Tommaso Basilica, Ortona, Italy


The fake tomb of St Thomas in San Thome Cathedral, Mylapore, created by the Portuguese


  • See more photos HERE

 


The News Minute’s pro-belief pronouncements on St. Thomas – Ishwar Sharan


The News MinuteMadhumita Gopalan


“The St. Thomas in India story is a Christian myth and it should be identified and presented to the Indian public as a myth—indeed a Catholic myth as most Protestants reject it—by the so-called secular Indian media.” – Ishwar Sharan


Luz Church or Our Lady of Light Church


Chennai’s colonial-era churches: Tranquil sanctuaries in a bustling metropolis – Madhumita Gopalan

Chennai is most commonly thought of as a gateway to Tamil Nadu, the land of thousands of magnificent temples. What’s less known is that the city has had a long association with Christianity since as far back as the 1st century AD, and is peppered with beautiful churches built by the colonial powers between the 16th and 20th centuries.

The Church of Our Lady of Light, locally called the Luz Church, is probably the oldest church in Chennai. In the early 16th century, Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer, discovered a maritime route to India. Right after that, it is said that 8 Portuguese priests came to India to preach Christianity. On their way to the eastern shores of south India, they were hit by bad weather and got lost at sea. Legend has it that a bright light mysteriously appeared out of nowhere and guided them to safety. This church was built in the year 1516 at the place that the light led them to.


St. Thomas & San Thome Cathedral


There are two more iconic churches in Chennai originally built by the Portuguese, and both have a deep connection with St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. It is said that he was unable to believe the news of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, and needed proof to be convinced of it—this was the origin of the phrase ‘doubting Thomas’. St. Thomas is believed to have travelled to south India in the middle of the 1st century AD, to spread the gospel. Many historians credit him with bringing Christianity to India. He is said to have arrived on the Malabar Coast and eventually made his way to the eastern coast. In 72 AD, he was killed at St Thomas Mount and buried in the Mylapore area of Chennai. This version of history is however debated by many.


Our Lady of Expectation Church


Many centuries later, the Portuguese built one church with its altar at the spot where the apostle was martyred, and another over his grave near Mylapore. The church at St. Thomas Mount is said to date back to 1523, and commands stunning views of the city. The church built on St. Thomas’ grave was rebuilt by the British in 1893 as the Santhome Basilica. The magnificent white Gothic style church stands close to the Marina Beach, and pilgrims from all over the world come to pray at the apostle’s tomb.  (Article abridged)The News Minute, Saturday, July 23, 2016


Ishwar Sharan’s Comment

When we informed the author, Madhumita Gopalan, and the editor of The News Minute that there was no historical evidence for St. Thomas in India, a sentence was added to the third paragraph of the photo essay above which reads, “This version of history is however debated by many.”

Two lines above the added sentence, is another sentence which reads, “Many historians credit him with bringing Christianity to India.”

So the objective of the photo essay remains. The fable of St. Thomas in India as presented by Madhumita Gopalan in The News Minute is Indian history.

But if truth be told, it isn’t Indian history at all. This writer has shown in his carefully researched book, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, that forty plus leading historians and scholars, many of them Christian divines, have doubted and denied Thomas’s travels to India and a few have even doubted his existence.

The point is that the St. Thomas in India story is a myth and it should be identified and presented to the public as a myth—indeed a Catholic myth as most Protestants reject it—by the so-called secular Indian media.

But the mainstream Indian media has shown itself to be a small-minded and pusillanimous institution, neither well-informed or ethical, so appeasing a minority Indian community by presenting its favorite religious fairy tale as true Indian history is quite in form for them.

But it is not quite in form for the Hindu community that stands accused of killing St. Thomas out of jealousy. The accusation is vicious and false, a blood libel on the Hindu nation, and if the media continues to make it it will have to be taken to a court for review.

Four of the five Portuguese churches in Madras are built on temples ruins. Had the author of the article above visited the San Thome Cathedral museum, she would have found in it carved stone pillars and other artefacts that may have been part of the original Kapaleeswara Temple that the cathedral church replaces.


Temple pillars in San Thome Cathedral MuseumBones in the San Thome Bishop's Museum


Christians, like Muslims, are quite proud of the fact that they have destroyed the heathen temples of Hindus in Hindustan.

In 1996 this writer asked the Vatican archives for information or confirmation that St. Thomas had visited India. The Vatican’s reply was that it was a matter for historians to decide. And indeed a leading Catholic theologian and scholar did decide the issue in 2006 when Pope Benedict XVI stated that St. Thomas did not take Christianity to South India.

This being the case, the discussion should end with Pope Benedict’s statement. But it does not end because the media is still squeezing money—and Hindu blood—from the fable.

We are letting a leading historian and Indologist who studied under Jesuits have the last word here on St. Thomas in India.

Dr. Koenraad Elst writes:

According to Christian leaders in India, the apostle Thomas came to India in 52 AD, founded the Syrian Christian Church, and was killed by the fanatical Brahmins in 72 AD. Near the site of his martyrdom, the St. Thomas Church was built. In fact this apostle never came to India. The Christian community in South India was founded by a merchant called Knai Thoma or Thomas of Cana in 345 AD—a name which readily explains the Thomas legend. He led four hundred refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities.

In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal “secularists” who attack the Hindus for “relying on myth” in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics.

In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that the damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as “the seed of the faith”), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates St. Thomas’s martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism. It is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples—Jain and Shaiva—whose existence was insupportable to the Christian missionaries.

No one knows how many Hindu priests and worshipers were killed when the Christian soldiers came to remove the curse of Paganism from the Mylapore beach. Hinduism does not practice martyr-mongering, but if at all we have to speak of martyrs in this context, the title goes to these Jina- and Shiva-worshipers and not to the apostle Thomas.

A new 2019 print edition of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple is available from publisher Voice of India in New Delhi. The book with its extensive references and bibliography is also available online in pdf format.