As a disciple of Jesus, Thomas faced his share of challenges and doubts. He was also very loyal and committed, willing to stand by Jesus even when it put his own life at risk (John 11:16). Following the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in 33 AD, Thomas traveled to the city of Kerala in western India and began sharing the story of Jesus. He shared his experiences and people came to believe in Jesus. Within 20 years, there were many groups of people who were believers and were known as “the church.”
After spending time sharing about Jesus in Kerala, he then traveled across the peninsula on foot to Chennai and began preaching on the beaches there. As is historically true, followers of Jesus have had enemies, and Thomas was no different. He fled from the beach to the mountains around Chennai, but his enemies found him and killed him on what is today referred to as St. Thomas Mount. Those who he had led to Christ brought his body back to the beach where he used to preach and buried him there. Years later a church was built over his remains.
Christianity was brought to India nearly 250 years before it was established as the state religion in any other country. Today, St. Thomas’ Basilica still stands in Chennai and is one of only three churches in the world that is built over the remains of an apostle of Christ.
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