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Chennai, India: Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Thomas the Apostle


About Saint Thomas and Chennai:

Certainly the first Christian to visit India, Saint Thomas arrived here around 52 AD. We all know him by the nickname “Doubting Thomas” but upon putting his hands into the resurrected body of Jesus, he became an ardent follower and evangelizer.

The city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, was founded by British colonialists in the 17th Century. After the end of colonial rule, the name was changed back to Chennai.

About the Basilica of St. Thomas in Chennai:

Thomas was martyred here on a hill at the outskirts of the city which is now known as “Saint Thomas Mount.” His body was buried on the spot over which the present Basilica stands.  Santhome Basilica has a 183 foot tall spire constructed in 1894.  The Basilica was renovated in December 2004 and has a statue of The Blessed Virgin Mary, brought from Portugal.Stained glass windows showcase the story of St. Thomas and the wooden plaques depict the story of the last days of Christ.  The main altar has the inspiring statute of Jesus Christ.

Tomb of Saint Thomas the Apostle in IndiaThe highlight, of course is the tomb of Saint Thomas the Apostle.

This is augmented by an informative museum with several important artifacts: the spear or the lance head that was used to kill St. Thomas, his fingerprint, an Episcopal chair, two postage stamps, inscriptions of his deeds on stones, the remains of his bones and wall paintings portraying St. Thomas’s life and death.


Traveling to Chennai:

Chennai is a fairly large city and is served by many airlines. There are flights connecting from the U.S. and Great Britain through major European cities.

Several airlines in the Middle East and Asia offer non-stop flights as well. From Australia there are several one-stop flights via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.

Address: 38, San Thome High Road, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600004

GPS coordinates: 13° 1′ 52.7916” N, 80° 16′ 38.1144” E

Tel: +91 44 2498 5455

The official website of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Thomas in Chennai, India is not online at this time.

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