Chruch of St. Thomas and Archaeology

Vishal Agarwal vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 27 02:34:43 UTC 1999

Dear Mr. Langston,

An extensive account of the history of St. Thomas Christians and the state
of Archaeological findings of a German Team in the Church of St. Thomas etc.
is contained in the book

"The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple" by Ishwar Sharan;
Published by 'Voice of India', Delhi

A brief (yet highly biased--unnecessarily downplaying the academic content
of the book) is available at

The book can be purchased for $3.00 (unbelievable!) by
1. sending an email to sales at
2. Faxing a request to Mr. A. Ghosh (the American distributor) at
1-713-778-0960 or
3. By writing to A. Ghosh (Publisher); P. O. Box 631048; Houston, TX 77263

I read an older edition of the book (the new edition is more than twice the
size) but to summarize
1. The author quotes some Saivite Tamil saints dating back to 9th Cent. to
suggest the possibility that the site was oiinally occuppied by a temple
hallowed by the Nayanars
2. He summarizes the findings of a German Archaeology team - they found that
the Church etc. do not predate the arrival of Portuguese in the region and
that embedded in the walls are icons of an erstwhile Jaina temple
3. The author documents the history of St. Thomas Christians and states that
they derive their name from Thomas of Canaai-  leader of a group of
Nestorian Christians who fled persuecution in Persia (not sure about this)
around 350 C.E.

The latest edition (I just browsed through it at a bookshop) reproduces the
detailed correspondence between him and the Church, other individuals (like
a monk of the Ramakrishna Mission at Chennai) debating the issue.

I might also mention that I put the question about St. Thomas having visited
India to a friend and a former colleague of mine (he has a graduate degree
each in Church History and Theology and is currently pursuing a PhD. in
Church History at a Seminary at Kentucky). He was emphatic that St. Thomas
never visited India and pointed out that 6 places outside India are reputed
to be his sepulchres!!

Best regards,


----Original Message Follows----
From: robert langston <langstonrob at JUNO.COM>
Subject: Re: Nambudiris
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 00:49:34 EDT

Dear Dr. Ganesan and Indologists,

Next door to the rectory, out behind the Church of St. Thomas in Chennai,
is a display of artifacts, primitive tools, grave markers, etc. claimed
to come from the settlement of St. Thomas himself. Does anyone know if
there has been any serious attempt to identify these artifacts and
determine their origin? are they fakes?

Robert Langston

 >Vishal asks:
 >>Are the claims of the St Thomas Christians false?
 >Yes. There is no ancient corroborating material
 >from the Christendom to say that Thomas landed
 >on the West coast or he was martyred in St. Thomas mount;
 >Largely Portugese era stories.

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