My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Our Holy Orthodox Church commemorates the Holy and
Glorious Apostle THOMAS.
Apolytikion Hymn(Dismissal Hymn). Third Tone
O HOLY Apostle Thomas, intercede with the Merciful God that He
grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.
Kontakion Hymn. Fourth Tone
CHRIST’S Apostle, who was filled with God’s Divine grace, he who
was His genuine and faithful servant in all truth, all-lauded Thomas
exclaimed aloud in deep repentance: Thou art both my God and
Thomas, the Holy Apostle, surnamed Didymos (which means "twin"), was born in the Galilean city of Paneada, the child of poor parents. In his youth, he cherished the law of Moses greatly and diligently studied the Sacred Scripture of the Jews. Never interested in the games other children played, he led a godly life, occupying himself constantly with physical labor or the activity of the soul. By trade, he was a fisherman, and his life was a struggle for subsistence; yet he was accustomed to poverty and hardship. When our Lord Jesus Christ, during His sojourn on earth with men, passed through the cities and villages, teaching the people and healing all manner of diseases, Thomas, on hearing His preaching and seeing His miracles, cleaved unto Him with all his heart. Delighting in the sweet words of Jesus Christ and the sight of His All-Holy face, Thomas followed Hi and was accounted worthy by the Lord of a place in the Choir of the Twelve Apostles, with whom he followed Christ until the very time of His Saving Passion. When the holy Lazaros reposed (he who was to remain dead for four days in the tomb), it was Thomas who, a good faithful servant of his Master, said in the midst of His Disciples, "Let us also go, that we might die with him" (John 11:16).
After the Resurrection of the Lord, Saint Thomas, by his disbelief when the other Apostles told him that the Savior was Risen, STRENGTHEN THE Faith in the Church of Christ; for when the other Disciples of Christ said, "We have seen the Lord," he would not believe them unless he himself beheld Christ and touched His wounds. Eight days after the Resurrection, when all of the Disciples, including Thomas, had gathered together, the Lord appeared to them and said to Thomas, "BRING THY FINGER HERE, AND BEHOLD MY HANDS, AND BRING THY HAND, AND PUT IT INTO MY SIDE. AND CEASE BEING UNBELIEVING, BUT BELIEVING." And when he saw Christ and touched His Life-Giving side, Thomas cried out, "MY LORD AND MY GOD" (John 20:24-29).
The incident involving Thomas CONVINCES EVERONE OF THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD IN THE MOST GRAPHIC MANNER, BECAUSE CHRIST APPEARED TO HIS DISCIPLES NOT AS A PHANTOM, AND NOT IN SOME OTHER BODY, BUT IN THE VERY ONE IN WHICH HE HAD SUFFERED FOR OUR SALVATION.
After the Ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven and the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles cast lots amongst themselves TO DETERMINE WHERE EACH OF THEM SHOULD GO TO PREACH THE Logos/Word of God. To Thomas fell the lot TO GO TO INDIAN, to the Brahmans and the other divers and obscure peoples of those parts, to enlighten lands benighted by paganism, and to teach the True Faith to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanias, and Bactrians.
Saint Thomas was dismayed to be sent to such savage peoples; but the Lord appeared to him in a vision, strengthening him and commanding him to be valiant and not to be afraid; and He promised to abide with him Himself. And soon He showed him a way to enter those lands.
While the holy Apostle Thomas was enlightening the lands of India with the preaching of the Gospel, the Honored Dormition (Koimisis) of the Mother of God (Theotokos) took place, and all the holy Apostles were caught up from various lands on the clouds of heaven and were TRANSPORTED TO GETHSEMANE, TO THE BIER OF THE All-Blessed Virgin. Then the holy Apostle Thomas was also caught up from India, ye he did not manage to arrive in time for the actual day of the burial of the body of the All-Pure Theotokos which was GLORIFIED BY GOD. This was PERMITTED BY THE WILL OF GOD, THAT THE FAITHFUL MIGHT BE ASSURED THAT THE MOTHER OF GOD WAS BODILY TRANSLATED (METASTASIS) INTO THE HEAVENS. For just as they were more greatly assured of the Resurrection of Christ, THROUGH THE DISBELIEF OF THOMAS, SO DID THEY LEARN OF THE TRANSLATION (METASTASIS) OF THE ALL-PURE VIRGIN MARY. FROM THE VANTAGE POINT, HE BEHELD THE TRANSLATION (METASTASIS) OF HER BODY INTO THE HEAVENS, AND CRIED OUT TO HER, "WHITHER GOEST THOU, O ALL-HOLY ONE?" AND, REMOVING HER CINCTURE, SHE GAVE IT TO THOMAS, SAYING, "RECEIVE THIS, MY FRIEND." AND THEN SHE WAS GONE. Thereupon, he descended to find the other Disciples keeping watch over the Sepulchre of the Theotokos. He sat down beside them, saddened that he had not been there when she reposed, as the other Apostles had been; and he said, "WE ARE ALL DISCIPLES OF THE MASTER; WE ALL PREACH THE SAME THING; WE ARE ALL SERVANTS OF ONE LORD, JESUS CHRIST. HOW, THEN, IS IT THAT YOU WERE ACCOUNTED WORTHY TO BEHOLD THE REPOSE OF His Mother, and I was not? Am I not an Apostle? Cant it be that God is not pleased with my preaching? I beseech you, my fellow Disciples; open the tomb, that I also may look upon her remains, and embrace them, and bid her farewell!" The others than did as Thomas requested and opened the tomb; but THEY DISCOVERED THAT HR REMAINS HAD VANISHED, FOR SHE HAD BEEN BODILY TRANSPORTED TO PARADISE. Her body was imbued WITH INCORRUPTION AND IMMORTALITY EVEN BEFORE THE Second Coming of Christ when, AT THE General Resurrection, the RIGHTEOUS WILL RECEIVE IMPERISHABLE BODIES.
The Holy Apostle Thomas was martyred in India. He was delivered into the hands of five soldiers, ordering them to go wit him to a mountain and there to run him through with their spears. Asking permission, Saint Thomas, of the soldiers to pray, entreated the Lord, praying, "O LORD MY GOD, THOU HOPE AND REDEMPTION OF THE FAITHFUL: LEAD ME TO THEE THIS DAY, THAT MY SOUL, MAY NOT BE HINDERED IN ITS ASCENT. BEHOLD, I HAVE COMPLETED THE WORK WHICH THOU HAST ASSIGNED TO ME, AND HAVE CARRIED OUT THY COMMANDS. AS THY SLAVE DIDST THOU SELL ME; THEREFORE, RENDER UNTO ME MY FREEDOM THIS DAY." Thereupon, the Holy Apostle blessed the faithful. And he ordained Siphor to the Priesthood and Wazan to the Diaconate, commanding them to see to the increase of the faithful and the growth of the Church of Christ. Turning to the soldiers, he said, "Carry out now the king’s order." The soldiers then RAN THROUGH WITH FIVE SPEARS: AND THUS THE BLESSED THOMAS ENDED HIS EARTHLY SOJOURN NEAR THE CITY OF MYLAPORE.
The faithful wept bitterly and wrapped his sacred remains (relics) in the costly cloth which Tertiana had purchased to serve AS A SHROUD, and they buried him in ground set aside for royalty. After they had performed the burial, they sat down by the Apostle’s grave and wept. And at the place where the holy body of the Apostle had been buried, many miracles worked through his supplications, to the Glory of Chris our God, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it behooves us to render honor and worship forever. Amen. (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God