Listen to:
The Life of the Holy Apostle Thomas
From "The Great Collection" by St. Dimitry of Rostov - Chrysostom Press
Feast Day: October 6th (19th ns)
Apolytikion/Dismissal Hymn/Troparion ++ Kontakion

Some verses from the 1st Sunday after Pascha:

As the disciples were in doubt, the Saviour came on the eighth day to where they were gathered and granted them peace, and cried to Thomas: Come, O Apostle, and feel the palms in which they fastened the nails. O good unbelief of Thomas, which hath lead the hearts of the faithful to knowledge! Hence, he cried out with fear: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee.

Jesus came to the disciples while the doors were shut, and granted them peace and fearlessness. Then He saith unto Thomas: Why believest thou not that I have arisen from the dead? Bring hither thy hand and place it in my side, and see; because thou hast disbelieved, all have learned of My Passion and Resurrection, and they shall all cry out with thee: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee.

O strange wonder, that grass should touch fire and be safe! For Thomas cast his hand into the fiery side of Jesus Christ our God, and was not burned by touching Him. For with fervour he changed the obstinacy of his soul into fervent faith, and he cried out from the depths of his soul: Thou art my Master and God, Who didst arise from the dead. Glory be to Thee.

O strange wonder! John leaned on the bosom of the Word, and Thomas was counted worthy to feel His side. The first, in a dread manner, drew therefrom a depth of theology, even God's œconomy; and this one was counted worthy to initiate us; for he openly presented the proofs of His arising, as he cried out: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee.

Who preserved the disciple's hand unconsumed when he drew nigh unto the fiery side of the Lord? Who gave it daring and strength to feel the bone that was flaming? Surely, it was that which was touched. For if that side had not bestowed might unto that earthen right hand, how could it have touched those wounds which caused both things above and below to quake? This grace was given to Thomas, that he might touch and cry out to Christ: Thou art my Lord and my God.


On the 6th of October, the Holy Church Commemorates the Holy Apostle Thomas

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 Scriptures 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 Him 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 Lazarus reposed (he who was to remain dead for four days in the tomb), it was Thomas who, as a good and faithful servant of his Master, said in the midst of His disciples, “Let us also go, that we might die with Him [Jn 11:16].”

After the resurrection of the Lord, Saint Thomas, by his disbelief when the other apostles told him that the Savior was risen, strengthened the Faith of 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-bearing side, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God [Jn 20:24-29]!”

This incident involving Thomas convinces everyone 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 of God. To Thomas fell the lot to go to India, 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, Hyrcanians, and Bactrians.

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.

Gundafor, King of India, desiring to erect for himself as splendid a palace as possible, sent to Palestine, as his agent, the merchant Abban, to seek out a skilled architect who was experienced in construction and could build such palaces as those of the Roman emperors. When Abban was searching for such adept architects in Palestine, the Lord, Who knows the hearts of men, appeared to him in the marketplace, and said to him, “Wilt thou not purchase a captive of Mine, who is a builder by trade?” Abban replied, “Yea.” The Savior pointed Thomas out to him, and they agreed to a price of three pounds of silver. The Master then signed the bill of sale, writing: “I, Jesus, son of Joseph the carpenter, do sell My slave Thomas to Abban.” When Abban approached Thomas and showed him the bill of sale, he inquired if he were truly a slave. Thomas answered, “Yea. He is my Lord and, in His compassion, has paid a tremendous sum as ransom for me.” Thomas then followed him and served him. That evening, the Lord appeared to Thomas in a vision and, showing him the silver He had received, said, “Know thou the price of thy purchase. May My grace be ever with thee.” In time, Abban booked passage on a ship, and he and Thomas set out on their journey with a fair wind.

When they put in at the city of Andrapolis, they heard there the sound of trumpets and other musical instruments. The king of that city was giving his daughter in marriage, and sent heralds to announce throughout the city that all, rich and poor, slaves and travelers, gather together; and if anyone did not wish to come, he would be liable to the judgment of the king. Hearing this, Abban and Thomas, fearing, in that they were travelers, to anger the king by failing to obey him, went to the wedding festival in the royal palace. When everyone had sat down and begun to make merry, the apostle sat in the very last place and ate nothing; he took no part in the merry-making, but immersed himself in thought. All looked upon him as a strange and outlandish man. Those who reclined next to him said to him, “Why hast thou come hither, when thou neither eatest nor drinkest?” The apostle said in reply, “I have come hither not to eat and drink, but to fulfill the will of the king, for the heralds loudly proclaimed that if anyone should not appear at the wedding, he would be liable to the judgment of the king.”

There was at that time among those who were feasting a certain Jewess who was playing beautifully on the lute, strumming some melody of greeting to each of those reclining at the banquet. Catching sight of Thomas, who was not making merry, but only lifted his eyes up to heaven, she recognized him as a Jew and, playing before him, sang to him a song in the Hebrew tongue, “One is the God of the Jews, Who has made heaven and the earth.” The apostle, listening to her singing with pleasure, asked her to repeat the words several times. But the wine-master, seeing that the apostle was not taking part in the revelry, struck him in the face, saying, “Thou hast been summoned to a marriage. Be not sad, but happy, and join the company of those who drink!” Then the apostle said in Hebrew to the one who had struck him, “May the Lord reward thee for this even in this life! May I see the hand which struck me dragged about by a dog in the sight of many!” Not long afterward, the wine-master who had struck the apostle went out to the well, intending to bring the guests water with which to mix their wine. There a lion fell upon him unawares, brought him down and slew him; and having lapped up his blood, it went its way. Then dogs hastened to the scene and rent the body to pieces. And one black dog, seizing the right hand, dragged it into the banquet hall and dropped it in the sight of everyone. All who were present, seeing this, were horrified and asked whose hand it was. And the woman who played the lute exclaimed, “A strange and fearful mystery has taken place among us: either God or a messenger of God is with us among those reclining at this feast. For I saw how the wine-master struck a certain man, and I heard that man say, ‘May I see thy right hand dragged about by a dog in the sight of many!’ And this, as you can see, has taken place.” When they heard this, all were seized with fear.

After the banquet concluded, the king, hearing of what had happened, summoned the holy Apostle Thomas into his presence, and said, “Enter the palace and bless my daughter who has been given in marriage.” The apostle, entering the bedchamber, began to teach the newly-wedded couple chastity and the preservation of pure virginity; and, having prayed over them, he blessed them and withdrew. The newly-wedded pair beheld Jesus in a dream, Who appeared to them in the guise of the Apostle Thomas, and embraced them with love. The husband, thinking that it was Thomas appearing to them, said to Him, “Thou wast the first to leave us. How is it, then, that thou hast come hither again?” The Lord answered, “I am not Thomas, but his Brother. All who have renounced the world and follow Me, as he has done, will not only be My brethren in the life to come, but will also inherit My kingdom. Therefore, do not forget, O My children, what My brother has counseled you; and if, in accordance with his advice, you preserve your virginity inviolate, you will be accounted worthy of imperishable crowns in My heavenly bridal-chamber.” And thus speaking, the Lord vanished. But they, waking from sleep, related to one another what they had seen in their dream and, rising up, earnestly prayed to God the whole night. And the words spoken to them they treasured up in their hearts like the most precious of pearls.

In the morning, the king and the father-in-law entered the bedchamber where the newly-wedded couple had spent the night and found them sitting apart from each other. In perplexity they asked them the reason why they were not together. And they said to them in reply, “We are praying to God, that He grant us the strength, until death, to preserve in our wedlock the perfect chastity in which we now abide, that we may be therefore crowned with imperishable crowns in the heavenly bridal-chamber, as the Lord Who appeared to us promised.”

Then the king understood that the stranger who had been at the palace the night before had persuaded them to preserve their virginity. He grew exceedingly wroth and straightway dispatched his servants to lay hold of the apostle; but they could not find him, for he had already set sail for India with Abban.

When they arrived in India, they presented themselves to King Gundafor, and Abban said, “Behold, O sovereign, I have brought thee a skilled builder from Palestine, that he may build thee palaces such as are pleasing to your majesty. “ The king was delighted, and he conducted Thomas to the site of the construction, on which he had set his heart. It was a place of great beauty, replete with delightful springs and divers trees. The king then asked Thomas to draw up a plan, that he might approve it, as he wished the palace completed by the time of his return, for he would be absent for three years on a necessary expedition. The apostle took up a reed-pen and executed a brilliant sketch. According to his plan, the palace’s eastern elevation was provided with many windows, which flooded the whole structure with light; the western facade had many doors, to facilitate the passage of cool breezes; the ovens were situated in the north end, because of the heat they generated; and fountains of water were to be positioned to the south, so that the entire edifice would be cool in warm weather. So detailed was the plan, that the king praised the apostle outright, saying, “Verily, thou art a craftsman worthy of the name, and art fit to serve a king!” And he presented him with a large amount of gold for the construction and pleaded with the apostle to begin to lay the foundations without delay. Thomas, however, answered him, saying, “This is not the proper month to begin construction of a palace. Let us wait until October.” (By this, perhaps, he alluded to the time when he himself would receive his future recompense.) Thomas, therefore, was given vast quantities of gold, silver, wheat, wine, oil, and other provisions needed for the project. Then the king departed for another country. The apostle, however, went to the construction site and began to distribute all he had received to those in need-the poor and destitute; and he himself, laboring in the preaching of the Gospel, converted many to faith in Christ and baptized them.

At that time, the young man who, on Thomas’ advice, had with his wife promised to preserve their virginity, on hearing that the apostle was preaching Christ in India, journeyed there with her to find him. Instructed by the holy apostle in the Christian Faith, they received holy Baptism at his hands. The virgin received the name Pelagia in the font, and subsequently shed her blood for Christ; the youth was renamed Dionysios, and was later counted worthy of the rank of bishop. Returning to their native land with the apostle’s blessing, they spread abroad the glory of the name of God, converting the unbelieving to Christ and establishing churches in the cities.

When two years had passed, the king sent to the apostle to learn whether construction on the palace was reaching completion. The apostle replied to the king’s messengers that there remained but to finish the roof. The king was delighted, for he assumed that Thomas was really building him a palace on earth, and he sent him much more gold, commanding him to provide the palace with a magnificent roof as quickly as possible.

Receiving this additional gold, Thomas lifted up his eyes and hands to heaven, saying, “I thank Thee, O Lord Who lovest mankind, that Thou arrangest the salvation of men in divers ways!” And again he distributed the gold sent by the king to those who asked help of him, while he himself continued diligently to preach the Logos of God.

Some time had passed, and the king learned that Thomas had not even begun to put his command into effect, but that he had given all the gold away to the poor. Indeed, the builder was giving no thought to the construction, but, going about the cities and villages, he was preaching some new God and working miracles. Then was the king consumed with a great wrath, and he sent his servants to seize the apostle. When they brought the holy Thomas before the king, he asked him, “Hast thou then built the palace?” Thomas replied, “I have built it; and it is, moreover, a magnificent and beautiful one. “ The king continued, “Let us go and look upon they palace.” But the apostle replied, “During thy lifetime thou canst not see this palace; but when thou shouldest depart from this life, thou shalt see it and, dwelling in it with joy, thou shalt live there for eternity.” The king, thinking that he was making mock of him, was greatly offended and ordered him cast into prison with the merchant Abban who had brought him thither. There they were to languish in anticipation of execution; for the king intended to have them flayed alive and burned on a pyre.

While they were in prison, Abban reproached the apostle, saying, “Thou hast deceived both me and the king by calling thyself a skilled architect! And, behold, thou hast now squandered the king’s gold to no purpose, and hast ruined my life. Because of thee I am suffering and must die a terrible death, for the king is stern and will slay us both.” But the apostle, comforting him, said, “Fear not; the time has not yet come for us to die. We will live, and in freedom; and the king will hold us in honor for the palace I have built for him in the kingdom of the heavens.”

That very night, the king’s brother, Gad, fell ill and sent word for him, saying, “Because of thy grief I also fell into melancholy, and from this anguish I have taken ill; and now I am nigh unto death.” And not long afterward, the king’s brother did indeed die. The king, forgetting his former distress, fell into a new sorrow and inconsolably lamented the death of his brother. But the angel of the Lord, taking the soul of the dead man, bore it up to the mansions of heaven; and leading it about the habitations of that place, showed it the innumerable magnificent and brilliant palaces, among which was one so beautiful and splendid that it was impossible to describe its beauty. Then the angel asked the soul, “In which of all these palaces shouldest thou be pleased to dwell?” And the soul, gazing upon that most beautiful of palaces, said, “If it were permitted me to abide in but a corner of this palace, I should need nothing else.” But the angel said to it, “Thou mayest not dwell in this palace, for it belongs to thy brother, with whose gold the stranger Thomas, who is known to thee, built it.” Then said the soul, “I entreat thee, lord: let me go to my brother, and I will buy this palace from him, for he is yet unaware of its beauty; and having purchased it, I will return hither again.”

Then the angel returned the soul to the body, and the dead man returned to life. As though rising from sleep, he asked those about him of his brother, and besought them to bring the king to his side as quickly as possible. The king, hearing that his brother had returned to life, rejoiced exceedingly and hastened to him; and when he saw him alive, he was all the more glad. Then the man who was risen from the dead said to him, “I am certain, O king, that thou lovest me as thy brother; I know that thou didst weep over me inconsolably, and, if it had been possible for thee to free me from death, thou wouldest have given up half thy kingdom.” The king replied, “Yea, this is quite true.” “If thou lovest me so,” the king’s brother said to him, “I ask of thee a single gift. Do not refuse it to me. “ The king answered, “Everything I own in my kingdom will I give thee, my beloved brother,” said the king, and he confirmed his promise with an oath. Then the risen brother said, “Give me the palace which thou hast in the heavens, and in return take all my property.”

When he heard these words, the king was troubled and fell silent, as though he had lost the power of speech. Then he said, “From whence can I have acquired a palace in the heavens?” “Truly,” the king’s brother replied, “in the heavens there is such a palace, of which thou art unaware and the like of which thou hast never seen under the sun. It was built for thee by Thomas, whom thou holdest in prison. I have seen it and marvelled at its indescribable beauty, and asked to dwell in but a corner of it, but that was not permitted me; for the angel who was leading me said, ‘It is not possible for thee to dwell therein, for this palace belongs to thy brother and was built by Thomas who is known to thee.’ I asked the angel to let me return to thee, that I might purchase the palace of thee. And thus, if thou lovest me, give it to me and take in its stead all my property!”

Then the king rejoiced over his brother’s return to life and because of the palace built for him in the heavens. But he said to the resurrected man, “My beloved brother, I have promised not to refuse thee anything which is under my authority on earth; but I did not promise thee that palace which is in the heavens. But if thou dost wish, we have an architect who may erect just such a palace for thee also.”

And having said this, the king straightway dispatched servants to the prison to bring forth the holy Thomas and the merchant Abban who had brought him to India. When they appeared before the king, he went forward with haste to greet the apostle and fell at his feet, asking his forgiveness for his sin against him, which he had committed in ignorance. And the apostle, giving thanks unto God, began to teach both brethren faith in our Lord Jesus Christ; and they, moved of soul, received his words with love. Soon afterward, he baptized them and taught them to live as Christians, and by their great almsgiving the brethren erected for themselves eternal mansions in the heavens.

Having abode with them for a time and made them steadfast in the holy Faith, the apostle went to other neighboring cities and towns, laboring in the task of saving men’s souls. He entered one of the principal cities very humbly, his hair unwashed, his countenance pallid, his whole body emaci­ated. Indeed, he appeared almost incorporeal in his worn and tattered garment; but his words were succor to all, and his deeds wondrous. He perceived that the natives were sunk in the depths of ungodliness, and understood that they had been so accustomed to this for so many years that to move them there from would be no easy task. Force and strictness would avail nought, but a kind manner and soft words could succeed where pressure failed. Therefore, he did not show them censure or disdain, nor did he give utterance to puffed-up or immoderate words, but rather embellished his speech with humility, prudently adorning himself also with the other virtues, that he might enlighten them. Now when the inhabitants observed his marvellous works, and his wisdom and sensibility, they became inclined toward his preaching, and they inquired of him concerning his origin, his religion, and his purpose among them. The apostle answered, meekly and gently, that he was a disciple of Christ Who, because He is a God Who loves mankind, Himself became a Man, that He might give to those who believe on Him everlasting life, salvation of soul, and other ineffable and indescribable blessings. The saint further recounted the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord, and His ascension in the presence of His followers, adding, “I am one of the twelve servants of the Logos who witnessed all the miracles He performed. I am come to you out of love for you, and to preach unto you the infinite compassion and boundless mercy of God. “ He said many other things and worked many miracles; and the Lord worked through him, so that the seed of the Faith germinated in the hearts of the heathen.

While Thomas was enlightening the lands of India with the preaching of the Gospel, the honored dormition of the Mother of God took place, and all the 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, yet 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 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 of the all-pure Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, through the delay of Thomas. The apostle arrived only on the third day after the burial, having been suddenly caught up in a cloud and transported to a place in the air above the tomb of the Virgin. From that vantage point, he beheld the translation 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 sepulcher 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? Can 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 then did as Thomas requested and opened the tomb; but they discovered that her 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 Virgin also appeared to them after her repose, as did her Son. After the ascension of our Lord, whenever the apostles shared a meal together, it was their custom to leave a place at their table for their Master. Then they would cut a cube of bread and place it at the head of the table as Christ’s portion. And when they finished eating, they would elevate it, proclaiming, “Great is the name of the Holy Trinity! O Lord Jesus Christ, help us!” And each would partake of a small piece thereof. It happened that, after the dormition of the Theotokos, they also sat down to eat. But when they had come to the conclusion of their prayers, the Virgin appeared above them and said, “Rejoice, for I am with you all the days of your life!” And on seeing her, they cried aloud, “All-holy Theotokos, save us!” Thus were they all convinced that the Mother of God, like her Son, had risen on the third day and had been taken up bodily into the heavens. Ever since, a piece of bread has also been set aside in her name.

After this, Thomas went again to the lands of India and preached Christ there, converting many to the Faith by signs and wonders. Sojourning in Mylapore, he enlightened many there with the preaching of the Gospel and made them steadfast in the holy Faith by the following miracle.

There stood in a certain place a log of unusual size, which neither men nor elephants were able to move. Thomas affixed his belt to this log and therewith dragged it a distance of more than a mile, and had it used in the construction of a church of the Lord. Seeing this, the Christians were strengthened even more in the Faith and many non-believers embraced Christianity. The apostle also worked another miracle there, even greater than the first.

A certain pagan priest slew his own son and accused Saint Thomas of the crime, saying, “Thomas has slain my son!” Tumult then arose among the people, and a mob assembled; and, seizing the holy Thomas as a murderer, they demanded that the court sentence him to be tortured. When no one was found who could testify that Thomas had no part in the murder, the apostle of Christ entreated the judge and the people, “Give me leave, and, in the name of my God, I will ask the murdered man himself to say who killed him. “ Then they all accompanied him to the body of the priest’s son who had been slain. Lifting his eyes up to heaven, Thomas first prayed to God and then said to the corpse, “In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I command thee, young man, tell us who slew thee!” And, straightway, the dead man answered, “My own father slew me! “ Then all cried aloud, “Great is the God Whom Thomas proclaims!” The apostle was freed, and the priest thus fell into the pit which he had dug for Thomas. After this miracle, a great multitude of people converted to God and received Baptism at the hands of the holy one.

Later, the apostle traveled further, to the land of Kalamida, where King Mazdai reigned. Preaching Christ there, the holy one converted to the Faith a certain woman by the name of Sindikia, a niece of the beautiful and even-tempered Migdonia, the wife of Karizios, the royal favorite. Sindikia urged Migdonia to learn the truth and believe in the one God, the Creator of the whole universe, Whom Thomas was preaching. Then Migdonia said to Sindikia, “I myself should like to see this man who preaches the true God, and to hear from him his teaching.” Sindikia answered, “If thou desirest to see the apostle of God, array thyself in ragged garb, as though thou wert a simple and poor woman, that thou mayest escape recognition; and we will go together.”

Migdonia followed these instructions and set out with Sindikia. They found the apostle preaching Christ in the midst of a large crowd of poor, simple folk. Mingling with the crowd, they listened to the teaching of Thomas, who spoke much of Christ the Lord and taught them to believe in Him; moreover, he spoke also of death, the last judgment, Gehenna, and the kingdom of the heavens. As she listened to this, Migdonia’ s heart was moved and she came to believe in Christ; when she returned to her home, she pondered on the words of the apostle all the time and, speaking about Christ with Sindikia her niece, grew firm in her love for Him. Thenceforth, she began to shun unbelievers as enemies of God, and to avoid all association with them in conversations and at meals, and at the same time she began to abstain from worldly pleasures in general. She decided also to cease marital cohabitation with her husband, Karizios. This grieved him deeply, and when he could not persuade Migdonia to alter her decision, he besought King Mazdai to send his own consort, Queen Tertiana, to convince Migdonia not to disdain marital cohabitation (Queen Tertiana and Migdonia were related by blood). The queen went to Migdonia and asked her why she declined to submit to her husband. Migdonia replied, “Because he is a pagan and an enemy of God, and I am a handmaid of the one, true God, Jesus Christ. I do not wish to be defiled by a man who is impure and unbelieving.”

Tertiana desired to learn Who this Jesus Christ was Whom Migdonia called the true God. Then Migdonia set forth for her the preaching of the Apostle Thomas and taught her the knowledge of the true Faith. Tertiana, desiring to learn about Christ in greater depth and to study the Faith better, wished to see the apostle himself, and to hear his preaching. Taking counsel with Migdonia, she secretly sent for the apostle and, when he was admitted into their presence, they both besought him to guide them to the true path. And preaching Christ to them, he enlightened them with the light of the Faith, baptized them in the laver of regeneration, and taught them to keep the commandments of God and to foster all the virtues. Tertiana and Migdonia, cherishing in their hearts all that they had been told, both agreed to serve the Lord in purity and not to consort with their husbands, since they were unbelievers.

The apostle continued to work innumerable miracles and to heal all manner of illnesses by the power of God; and many, not only from among the poor, but even among the members of the king’s court, seeing the signs worked by the apostle and hearing his teaching, converted to Christ. One of the king’s own sons, by the name of Wazan, believed and was baptized by the. apostle; for the Lord Himself worked through His apostles.

Queen Tertiana, on returning from Migdonia, remained in prayer and fasting, and continued to avoid carnal cohabitation with her husband. The king, marvelling at such a change in his wife, said to his friend Karizios, “In desiring to return to thee thy wife, I have lost my own; and mine has come to act more strangely toward me than thine toward thee!”

Thereafter, the king and Karizios conducted a strict investigation as to the reason for the change they noticed in their wives, and they learned that a certain foreigner, a stranger by the name of Thomas, in teaching them the Christian Faith, had convinced them to terminate their conjugal relations with their husbands. They also learned that the king’s son Wazan and many members of the royal court, as well as prominent people and a countless multitude of the simple folk, had come to believe in Christ as a result of Thomas’ preaching. All of this made them exceeding wroth, and, having arrested Thomas, they cast him into prison.

Afterward, the apostle was brought before the king for trial. The king asked him, “Who art thou? A slave, or a freeman?” Thomas answered, “I am a slave of Him over Whom thou hast no authority.” Then the king said, “I see that thou art a wicked slave who hast escaped thy master and come to this land to corrupt people and confuse our wives. Tell me, who is thy master?” “My Master,” the apostle replied, “is the Lord of heaven and of earth, the God and Author of all creation. He has sent me to preach His holy name and to lead the people out of error.” Then the king said, “Cease thine insidious speech, O deceiver, and heed my commands. Is it not enough that thou hast deceived the whole country with thy divinations, so that they now believe in Christ? Or that thou hast, by thy craftiness, turned our wives away from us, that they no longer have relations with us? So turn them back to us again. For if thou dost not make our wives live with us again in their former love and relations, we will give thee over to a cruel death.” The apostle answered, “It doth not become the handmaids of Christ to have marital relations with iniquitous men, nor for the faithful to be defiled by the impious and unbelieving.”

Hearing this, the king commanded that red-hot plates of iron be brought and that the apostle’s bare feet be set upon them. But when this was done, water suddenly gushed forth from under the plates and cooled them. Then they cast the holy Thomas into a fiery furnace; but the following day he emerged from it alive and unharmed.

Thomas was then taken to prison. At midnight, the Christians entered the apostle’s cell, for it was opened to them through his prayers. He then exhorted them to remain steadfast in the Faith, and to be undaunted by the prospect of a temporal death, that they might attain unto life everlasting. And he counseled them and catechized the unbaptized. Then, departing from his dungeon, he went to a certain house, wherein all had been made ready for the performance of Baptism and the celebration of the divine Liturgy. There he baptized many in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. After the divine Liturgy, when everyone received holy Communion, he said to them, “This all-holy Body, which is become a sacrifice, and this most precious Blood, which has been shed on the Cross to redeem us from our sins and grant us salvation, may it also pardon your own sins so as to grant you health of soul, and may it become an earnest of the kingdom of the heavens and eternal blessedness.” Then a voice was heard from above, which said, “Verily I say unto you: fear not, but have faith!” Afterward, the apostle returned to his prison cell, locking himself in as before. He was followed by Tertiana, Migdonia, and a woman named Marcia, who wished to share his incarceration; but he said to them, “My daughters and fellow laborers of our Lord Jesus Christ, hearken to my final word. Tomorrow, I go to my Master, to receive the reward of my manifold labors. And I rejoice and am glad for this; for the time of my recompense has arrived. But all of you remain firm in the Faith; neither be doubting nor downcast when you see me die; for this death is not a true death, but rather a release and redemption of the body, which I joyfully accept, that I may enjoy life everlasting and the delights thereof, which will come also to you if you keep the Faith to the end.” And he then made supplication and shut the door of his cell by his prayers. But the women wept, for they knew that Mazdai would put him to death.

Karizios then advised the king, saying, “Compel him to worship and offer sacrifice to the god of the sun, that he may thereby anger his God Who keeps him unharmed amid tortures.” But when the apostle was led before the idol of the sun, the image straightway melted away like wax. The faithful danced for joy on beholding the might of the God of heaven, and a multitude of unbelievers turned to the Lord. But the pagan priests murmured against Thomas for destroying their idol. Meanwhile, the jailers informed the king that the prisoner was able to open the door of his cell and go about as he pleased, and that the king’s wife and son had been there to visit him. Straightway, the king betook himself to the prison and, finding the door secure, he was amazed. Going in to the holy Thomas, he inquired of him if he were someone’s slave or a freeman. The apostle answered, “I am a slave of my Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the true God and dwells in the heavens. He has sent me here, that I may save many among you.” But Mazdai said, “Weary am I of thy divinations. Therefore, I will put thee to the death thou deservest, that I may deliver my people from thy sorceries and crimes.” And the king, greatly angered, considered how he might destroy the apostle. Yet he was afraid of the people, and of his own servants, and of the many grandees, who had come to believe in Christ.

Taking Thomas, the king went forth from the city with his soldiers, and all thought that he went to see some miracle wrought by the apostle. But when they had gone nearly a mile, the king gave Thomas into the hands of five soldiers, ordering them to go with him to a mountain and there to run him through with their spears; he himself then went to the city of Axium. Wazan, the son of the king, and a certain man named Siphor, and others, hastened after the apostle, and, when they overtook him, wept over him. Then Thomas, asking permission 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 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 then to the soldiers, he said, “Carry out now the king’s order.” The soldiers then ran him 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 in the costly cloth which Tertiana had purchased to serve as a shroud; and they buried him in ground set aside for royalty. Siphor, Wazan and Tertiana lamented long over him and buried his holy body with honor. After they had performed the burial, they sat down by the apostle’s grave and wept. And, lot The saint appeared to them, ordering them to return to the city and confirm the brethren in the Faith. He also said, “Teriana and Migdonia, forget not what I have told you. Preserve your godly piety, and the Master Christ will help you.” Obeying this command from their teacher, the holy Apostle Thomas, both Siphor and Wazan governed the Church of Christ well, aided by his supplications.

Long did King Mazdai and Karizios torture their wives, Tertiana and Migdonia, yet found themselves unable to bend them to their will. Realizing that their wives would refuse to submit, even unto death, they found that they had no choice but to permit them to live in freedom, following their own will. Thus, released from the burden of the marital yoke, the women were able to lead a life of strict abstinence and prayer, serving the Lord day and night; and by their virtuous life they brought great benefit to the Church.

Some years later, one of the sons of King Mazdai became demonized, and no one was able to cure him, for the cruelest of demons inhabited him. The king was greatly grieved over the affliction of his son and bethought himself of opening the grave of the holy Thomas with the intention of removing one of the bones from his body and touching it to his son’s neck, that he might be delivered from the demon’s torment; for he had heard that Saint Thomas had, during his lifetime, driven from men a multitude of demons. When the king desired to do this, the holy Thomas appeared to him in a dream and said, “Thou didst not believe in me when I was alive; thinkest thou to find help from me when I am dead? Do not remain in thine unbelief; My Lord Jesus Christ will be gracious unto thee. Take soil from my grave and put it on thy son, and forthwith he will be healed, for I am not one to remember wrongs. “

This dream increased the king’s desire to open the grave of the apostle. Going to the site of the saint’s burial, Mazdai opened the grave, but did not find the relics there; for a certain Christian, having secretly removed the relics, had borne them away to Mesopotamia and there enshrined them in a fitting place. Taking up earth from that place, the king applied it to the neck of his son, saying, “O Lord Jesus Christ, through the prayers of Thine Apostle Thomas, heal Thou my son, and I will believe on Thee!” Then the demon straightway departed from the king’s son, and the boy recovered his health. So King Mazdai believed in Christ and with all his nobles accepted Baptism at the hands of the Priest Siphor.

Great joy filled the hearts of the faithful, for the idols were broken in pieces and their temples razed, and in their place churches of Christ were erected; the word of God spread, and the holy Faith was strengthened. The king, on receiving Baptism, repented of his former sins and asked the help and prayers of all. And the Priest Siphor said to all the faithful, “Pray for King Mazdai, that he may receive mercy from our Lord Jesus Christ and remission of his sins!” And all the Church prayed for the king. It was then that King Mazdai, with tears and extreme humility, begged his former wife, Tertiana, and even Migdonia, to pray to Christ the Master, that He forgive his past iniquities and all the evils he had inflicted upon His honorable and glorious apostle. And at the place where the holy body of the apostle had been buried, many miracles were worked through his supplications, to the glory of Christ our God, to Whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, it behooves us to render honor and worship forever. Amen.