The Legacy and Life of Saint Thomas the Apostle:
Both Believer and Doubter

Life of St. Thomas the Apostle

The doubter. The believer. Patron Saint of the Blind. Patron Saint Of Craftsmen, Patron Saint of Theologians. Patron Saint of Geometrician.

Perhaps because so little is actually known about the Apostle St. Thomas that so many diverse groups can look to him for guidance.

The Bible portrays St. Thomas - at varying points in Jesus's ministry - as both a doubter and a believer. He's been labeled a "doubter" for his inability to understand Christ's resurrection from the dead following his crucifixion. His request that he see the wounds on Jesus's hand left by the nails before he would actually believe that he was speaking to the risen Christ, has provided us with the phrase "Doubting Thomas."

However, he could be equally labeled as a believer - and a fiercely loyal one at that. The incident occurred when Jesus told his disciple that he intended to visit the home of Martha and Mary in Jerusalem again, where his dear friend Lazarus had recently died.

His disciples reminded Christ that the last time he went to the city Jesus was nearly stoned - an act that had it been achieved would have resulted in certain death. Only Thomas the disciple, unhesitatingly and unflinchingly vowed to accompany him. He said in John 11:16: "Let us also go, that we may die with him. "A "twin" reputation

With this dual reputation, it's curious to note that Thomas in Syrian means twin. At times in the New Testament you may also notice that he is referred to as Didymus - this means twin in the Greek language.

If nothing else, Saint Thomas had a mind of his own. Following Christ's ascension into heaven, the apostles divided the world for missionary purposes. Thomas was assigned to travel to India to spread Christianity. He objected to this group decision. He said he wasn'tt healthy enough to travel. But he couldn't possibly be successful there, he told the others, contending that a Hebrew couldn't possibly teach the Indians. It's even said that Christ appeared to him in a vision encouraging him to travel to India. Thomas remained unmoved by this revelation as well.

A merchant eventually sold Thomas into slavery in India. It was then, when he was freed from bondage that this saint began to form Christian parishes and building churches. It's not surprising that to this day, St. Thomas is especially venerated as The Apostle in India. According to legend, Thomas built a total of seven churches in India, as well as being martyred during a prayer session with a spear around the year 72 C.E.

Today, modern Christians celebrate feast day of Saint Thomas the Apostle on July 3. He upheld as an example of both doubter and a staunch and loyal believer in Christ. What better way to remember a remarkable saint and very human followering of Christ.

After all, each of us has both of these characteristics residing deep within ourselves - both moments of doubt and those of great spiritual strength - that we are so drawn to this historical Christian figure.

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