Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The tomb of St.Thomas.

The church that houses St.Thomas's tomb a large, white plastered , much pinnacled affair. A bit like St.Patrick's on steroids. Rebuilt in 1893 by a Portugese architect who seems to have based his design on a wedding cake.

A large, indecorous, sign points the way. " Entry to St.Thomas at back of church ". The tomb itself a disappointment. Down a flight of unlit steps into a gloomy crypt. We're guided by the lights in our i-Phones . A pair of ' In ' and ' Out ' doors. The setting unsympathetic. I don't know what we'd expected but it certainly wasn't this. The low ceilings, air conditioners and wooden slated walls more reminiscent of a Greyhound bus station circa 1970. Even ' the font ' is lost for something positive to say settling for a half hearted '' It must be practical in the heat " .

Next door a small museum holding the tip of the spear that killed the apostle , a sliver of his bone and more surprisingly   a life sized and rather tipsy looking  Father Christmas. A young priest tells us that the apostles body is no longer here having been stolen by pirates and shipped off to Italy in the 12th century. Only a few, much venerated, shards remain.

Outside, the church dog has sensibly opted for a long, deep, sleep in the only shaded spot in the car park. He has a look of peculiar contentment on his face as befits a dog who guards an apostle .


  1. A most memorable pilgrimage. Clearly lots of opportunity to live in the moment. And I love the rather plump smiling dog. I am completely envious!

  2. A well nourished half smiling sleeping dog... from all of us take care Susanne, Foxiie, Daisy and Kiri (the mini watch-dog)

  3. Thank you for taking us to visit the Tomb of St.Thomas. It was a fascinating trip, one I could never hope to make myself, so thanks for letting me live it through your eyes.
    I'm not so sure that the tip of that spear could have killed anyone, it looks quite decorative.
    I'm sure there must be some "story" behind the tipsy looking Santa Claus....there just has to be, if not why is he there?

  4. At least he's remembered there, never mind the setting. Does he have another tomb in Italy?

    1. According to the young priest most of him is in Ortona on the Adriatic but Syriac christians have somehow got his pelvis. Amazing what one learns !

  5. It could be that Santa's reindeer appropriated St. Thomas and whisked him off to the North Pole, leaving Santa behind to languish forlornly in the glass box. What a strange place, Angus!

  6. I loved seeing it! I can't imagine what possesses someone to steal a body!

  7. i think you have discovered a whole new type of travelogue . . .
    wonderful dogs at famous and revered spots around the globe. it's the dog that made it all worthwhile in the end.

  8. Even Thomas the Doubter would have trouble figuring all these details out!


  9. Father Christmas? Good God!

    When you said you were visiting the Tomb of St. Thomas, I guess I just assumed that the mortal remains, or what was left of them, would still be inside. Must read between the lines these days, even with tombs.

  10. The things one learns in Blogland! Would you believe he has always been my favourite Saint (the reason, obvious)? Must look more into this!
    In the meantime, keep going Folks! The Winter season is long, even for us on the Pacific NW coast, and this is a great relief from boredom!

  11. What a story! I love the photo of the snoozing dog, guarding what remains in the tomb.