Tag Archives: st. thomas mount

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?


 

St. Thomas Mount closed to public – HinduPost Staff


“The Catholic Church owns the largest portion of Bharat’s non-agricultural land. … The Catholic Church acts like a state within a state in the Union of Bharat yet gives its feudal allegiance to the Pope in Rome!” – HinduPost Staff


Big Mount

A tweet series on popular St. Thomas Mount in Chennai caught social media’s attention recently. This mount is a beautiful hill located close to Chennai international airport. Many Christians in Bharat believe the myth that Thomas the Apostle stayed and was “martyred” on this hill, although researchers and scholars have found no evidence to back this claim. The St. Thomas Garrison Church is located at the bottom of this hill. A shrine dedicated to Mary was built in 1523 on top of the mount, by invading Portuguese colonials. A flight of 160 steps leads up to the summit of the mount.

The tweet series mentioned that of late the shrine management has started restricting people who wish to come to the hill for activities other than praying; boards have been put up banning activities like walking, jogging, exercising etc on the hill.

St Doink Tweets

As mentioned in the tweet series, this board restricting entry has been put at the foot of the hill which clearly says morning and evening exercises are “banned” on the hill :

Catholic Church Sign Board

Mr. G. Christuraj, who is the parish priest and rector at St. Thomas Mount National Shrine about this issue. We asked him if such boards have indeed been put aimed at banning the usual activities of residents / visitors other than praying, and if the entire hill is owned by the shrine management.

He confirmed that boards have been put up at both gates at the bottom of the hill to prevent morning / evening walking and exercises. The reason he gave is that people were misusing the “privilege” granted by the Church management and disturbing the prayer activities. He said that people can still access the hill for walking, jogging, exercises on the following conditions:

1. They should be “appropriately dressed”.

2. They should avoid coming during Church prayer times (morning, noon and evening).

3. They cannot come right to the top where the shrine is located unless they wish to pray.

Mr. Christuraj claimed that the entire hill is owned by the Archdiocese of Madras—Mylapore, which comes under the Roman Catholic Church of India. It was originally “owned” by Portuguese missionaries who transferred control to the Church. He also added that locals themselves have expressed concern that some were using the hill as a “lovers park”, and hence the management had decided to take this step. He also confirmed that the Army’s OTA (Officers Training Academy) too uses the hill at times (around once a month) but that is done with permission of the Church management.

But the signage boards clearly mention “banned” and hence, going by the above conversation with Mr. Christuraj, the text on the signage boards needs to be corrected—as walking is not “banned” but “restricted”. Mr. Christuraj’s claim the entire hill is owned by the Catholic Church also needs to be probed.

Catholic Church: Largest non-agricultural land owner in Bharat

It is surprising that large pieces of land are still under the exclusive control of various churches in Bharat, which were allotted to them as grants by British and other invaders. Unfortunately, these parts of land were not nationalized after independence. In various states, land reforms were effected which aimed at distributing the land evenly but it seems that land owned by churches was not touched. There are very few details available on the internet and there is hardly any transparency in information regarding minute details of land owned by various Christian organizations and churches. As per this article written in 2014, Catholic Church owns the largest portion of Bharat’s non-agricultural land. Note, this does not include the land holdings of the Protestant Churches and other Christian sects.

According to the census of 2011, official records state Christian population as approximately 27.8 million, constituting 2.3 percent of total Bharat’s population. So organizations that control just 2.3% of population own the largest portion of land after government in this country. How much more skewed can the allocation of this most valuable resource be?

In the past, Catholic groups have expressed concerns and asked for a white paper on land dealings by the Church bishops and related powerful people, as this news report suggests. The Catholic Church in Bharat acts like a state within a state in the Union of Bharat yet gives its feudal allegiance to the Pope in Rome. Contrast this to the way many large Hindu temples are controlled by the Government, donations offered by devotees siphoned off, and temple lands sold / leased for a pittance or encroached by political-criminal mafias.

While the Church and its organizations exercise absolute control over land allotted to it by old colonial masters, pastors attempting conversions to Christianity have dared to enter holy Hindu lands like sacred Tirumala hills.

The Church in Bharat should seriously consider giving up a large chunk of its humongous land holdings, much of it in prime urban areas, which was bequeathed to it by European colonials who captured the same from natives. This land should be redistributed to benefit local communities. Or the Government has to take steps to nationalize this land bank currently under Church control, and use the same in a transparent manner for the nation’s development. – HinduPost, 16 September 2016

Portuguese church on St. Thomas Mount