Marco Polo’s epic journey to China was a big con – Team Folks

IS IconMarco Polo is the first writer in history to locate the tomb of St. Thomas on a seashore. By so doing he revolutionizes the legend. All documents prior to him locate the tomb in a mountain of royal sepulchers in Parthia following the Acts of Thomas. Marco Polo is also the first writer to locate the tomb in South India, in a certain unnamed little town which the Portuguese later identified with Mylapore. Marco Polo probably never left Constantinople and collected his stories of China and the Fabulous East from Muslim and Syrian Christian merchants who travelled west to Constantinople to trade. Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy and Marco Polo’s contemporary, called him a liar and maintained that his book was full of falsehoods and fabrications. New research in Oxford agrees that the stories recorded in Il Milione—so-called because it contained a million lies—were either invented or recorded from travellers he met in the Constantinople bazaar, and that he had not actually visited the places he writes about. – Ishwar Sharan

Marco Polo

Marco Polo’s fake travelogue – Team Folks

Marco Polo, one of history’s greatest explorers, may in fact have been a con man, it has been claimed. The Venetian merchant adventurer claimed to have embarked on his epic journey across Asia and the Middle East in 1271 AD, at the age of 17, accompanied by his father, Niccolo, and uncle, Matteo. Their travels took them from Europe through Bukhara to China, where the Mongol ruler, Kublai Khan, is said to have made Marco Polo his emissary to the modern-day Middle East. They returned to Venice 24 years later, having also journeyed to Persia and Japan. Marco Polo’s account of his travels ignited the imagination of Europeans. It became an instant best-seller and has remained a source of inspiration and wonder to travellers ever since.

But now, a team of archaeologists suggest that Marco Polo probably never went further east than the Black Sea. They suspect he picked up second-hand stories of China, Japan and the Mongol empire from Persian merchants whom he met on the shores of the Black Sea and passed them off as his own adventures in Il Milione or The Travels of Marco Polo, one of the first travel books ever to be written. Following research in Japan, Professor Daniele Petrella of the University of Naples told the Italian history magazine, Focus Storia, that there were many inconsistencies and inaccuracies in Marco Polo’s description of Kublai Khan’s invasions of Japan in 1274 and 1281. “He confuses the two, mixing up details about the first expedition with those of the second” said Petrella.

“In his account of the first invasion, he describes the fleet leaving Korea and being hit by a typhoon before it reached the Japanese coast. But that happened in 1281 — is it really possible that a supposed eyewitness could confuse events which were seven years apart?” asked Patrella.

Marco Polo’s description of the Mongol fleet is also at odds with the remains of ships that the archaeologists have excavated in Japan. The Venetian wrote of five-masted ships, when in fact they had only three masts, said Petrella. The explorer claimed to have worked as an emissary to the court of Kublai Khan, but his name does not crop up in any of the surviving Mongol or Chinese records.

The professor’s findings may mean that one of the world’s greatest travel books was, sadly, just a gripping work of fiction. – Folks Magazine, 14 August 2011

Marco Polo's alleged route to China and back to Venice

St. ThomasMarco Polo and St. Thomas – Ishwar Sharan

This extract from The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple follows the convention that Marco Polo did go to China but didn’t visit India on his return journey to Europe as claimed. The article above argues that new evidence indicates that Marco Polo may not have visited China either. Marco Polo’s claims and veracity were questioned even during his lifetime. His book  was known by the popular title Il Milione which means “a million lies”. – Editor

Marco Polo, the famous Venetian traveller, is said to have visited South India twice, in 1288 and 1292, where he saw a tomb of St. Thomas “at a certain little town” which he does not name. Many historians accept these dates and visits without question, and identify the little town that he speaks of with Mylapore. Yet it would appear that they are mistaken about the visits, as, indeed, was Marco Polo about the tomb of St. Thomas.[23]

Marco Polo left Acre, in Palestine, about 1272, carrying an introduction to the Mongol emperor, Kublai Khan, from his friend Pope Gregory X. He travelled with his father and uncle, by land, following the Silk Road north and east to China, which he reached about three years later. He remained in China for the next seventeen years, and was said to be at Yang-chou, in Kansu, around 1287. It is thus not possible for him to have been in South India in 1288 and this date can be rejected.

Macro Polo left China about 1292 with a fleet of fourteen ships, six hundred courtiers and sailors, and a princess whom he was to deliver to a khan in Persia. He sailed to Sumatra where he passed the monsoon, passed by the Nicobar Islands, passed through the Palk Strait into the Gulf of Mannar, stopped in Ceylon where he first heard the story of St. Thomas, then proceeded up the west coast of India and along the south coast of Persia until he reached Hormuz. From there he travelled by land to Khorasan with the princess, and then returned back down the Silk Road to Europe.

Macro Polo thus did not visit the Coromandel Coast in 1292 either, though this date still attracts many historians. Fosco Maraini, the Macro Polo authority at the University of Florence, in his Encyclopaedia Britannica article, is very positive about Marco Polo’s route and it did not include Mylapore.

We would like to leave Marco Polo here but unfortunately he wrote a book, or, rather, dictated it to a fellow prisoner in Genoa — Venice and Genoa were always quarrelling and Marco had been captured by Genoa — one Rustichello, a writer of chivalrous romances and popular fiction. The book was officially called the Description of the World but soon came to be known as the Il Milione (“The Million“), a name which has the implied meaning of “a million lies”. In it Marco Polo says that he visited every place that he describes, though this was obviously not possible and evidently not true of the Coromandel Coast. Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy and Marco Polo’s contemporary, seems to have regarded the book as a dangerous and impious invention. But it was an instant success in Venice and within a year was being read throughout southern Europe.

Macro Polo is the first writer in history to locate the tomb of St. Thomas on a seashore. By doing so he revolutionizes the legend. All documents in the world prior to his locate the tomb on a mountain in Parthia following the Acts of Thomas. Macro Polo is also the first writer in history to locate the tomb in South India, in a certain unnamed little town, though some Christian scholars argue that Metropolitan Mar Solomon of Basra, in his Book of the Bee, ca. 1222, did this before him. They identify Mar Solomon’s Mahluph with Mylapore, but do this after the fact of the Portuguese identification of Mylapore with St. Thomas. There is no existing original manuscript of the Book of the Bee — as there is none of the Milione — and various copies of it give various places of burial. One says “Mahluph” which has never been identified, a second “India” but not which India or where in which India, a third “Edessa”, and a fourth “Calamina”. Mar Solomon’s contemporary neighbour Bishop Bar-Hebraeus of Tigris, in his Matthaeus and Syriac-language Chronicle, ca. 1250, is more consistent. Like Mar Solomon (and the earlier writers mentioned below in note 23), he says that St. Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes and Indians (some add Hyrcanians and Bactrians), but in his books he asserts that the apostle was killed and buried at Calamina.[24]

Macro Polo collected his stories of St. Thomas from the Muslims and Syrian Christians — who were known to Europeans as Nestorians — in the ports of Ceylon and Malabar. However, Leonardo Olschki, in Marco Polo’s Asia, accepts Marco Polo’s claim that he had visited a Christian shrine in the Coromandel Coast, and also the opinion that the identity of the town that contained the shrine was Mylapore, but he does not accept that the shrine was the tomb of St. Thomas. In his commentary on the Milione, he writes, “The shrine [of St. Thomas] is portrayed as isolated in a small village remote from everything, but the goal of continual pilgrimages consecrated by ancient and recent miracles. From Marco’s references we understand that it was then one of the characteristic Asiatic sanctuaries which, like the supposed tomb of the Magi in Persia, the Manichaean temple at Foochow, Adam’s sepulcher in Ceylon, and others not mentioned in the Milione, had from time immemorial served the purposes of the various successive cults there, which rose and fell in a fangled mass of traditions, legends, and reciprocal influences now well-nigh impossible to unravel or specify. They are reflected in Marco’s data and observations with regard to this dispersed Indo-African Christianity, of which almost nothing is known from other sources but which is still worthy of study.

“The authenticity of St. Thomas’s tomb at Mailapur is almost as doubtful as that of Adam’s in Ceylon. However, while the latter arouses Marco’s suspicions because, as he asserts, the Holy Scriptures place it elsewhere, his critical faculties are lulled by the evidence of the miracles that the apostle continued to work in favour of the Christians of that region. He therefore accepted the opinion of the Nestorians of India, who venerated St. Thomas as the patron of Asiatic Christianity, and was unmindful of those numerous fellow believers who, with more legitimate reasons, had set up a whole mythology about his legendary tomb at Edessa.

“The first to describe this celebrated Indo-Christian sanctuary and to spread its fame abroad with his book, Marco transformed a place of pilgrimage not very widely important into a centre of Christian piety and propaganda, almost a far eastern peer of Santiago de Compostela [in Spain] at the western limits of the European world, with the difference that the tomb of St. Thomas was guarded by Christians opposed to the Church of Rome. The monks who dwelt near by, according to Marco’s account, lived on coconut ‘which the land there freely produces’. These religious must have been fairly numerous if, thirty years later, [in 1322,] when the cult was already in its decline, Friar Odoric of Pordenone counted some fifteen buildings about the sanctuary. This had in the meantime become a Hindu temple filled with idols, lacking any visible trace of its ancient Christian cult.[25] Friar John of Monte Corvino, on the other hand, after having passed some thirteen months in that region almost contemporaneously with Marco’s visit, says nothing of the apostle’s tomb, and mentions the church only in passing.…[26]

“The story of the apostle’s martyrdom told to Marco by the people of the country is far from original, and is probably of local origin…. We read in the Milione that St. Thomas ended his days as the victim of a hunting accident when the arrow of a native pagan, aimed at a peacock, pierced the apostle’s right side while he was absorbed in prayer.…[27]

“No less worthy is the reference to Thomas’s apostolate in Nubia, which, according to information gathered by Marco at this sanctuary, was supposed to have preceded the saint’s sojourn in Coromandel; this would make Thomas the apostle of India and Africa, contrary to the legend that represents him as the evangelist of China.”[28]

Among the other stories told to Marco Polo by the Syrian Christians, is one that is very revealing. “We also learn from him,” writes Olschki, “of the first attempt known to us to suppress this cult, which was carried out … by the sovereign of that kingdom. Indeed, when a pagan ruler of the region filled with rice the church and monasteries of Mailapur, in order to put an end to the Christian practices of the Nestorian rites, the apostle threateningly appeared to him in a dream and made him so far change his ways as to exempt the faithful from all tribute and to safeguard the church from violation.”

Olschki calls this a conventional piece of hagiography, but there is more in it then the pious account of a saint exercising his occult power over a persecuting ruler.

The Hindu king did not of course violate a church — in all of Indian history there is no evidence of such acts; Hindu kings gave generous donations for the building of churches and had already done so in Malabar — nor would he have objected to the rites that were being performed in a Christian church. The king would have objected to Christian rites being performed in a Hindu temple, and would have certainly put a stop to them. He would have had the temple filled with raw rice as part of a suddhi (purification) or pratistha (consecration) ritual; or, again, he would have been doing anna abhisekam (food offering) to the Lord by filling the sanctum with huge quantities of cooked rice — even as it is done today in the great Shiva temples of South India.

What emerges from this story is that the Syrian Christians were worshipping in a Hindu temple, which they called a church, at least up to 1322 when Friar Oderic visited Mylapore. Henry Yule, in Cathay and the Way Thither, referring to Friar Oderic’s description of the church, declares, “This is clearly a Hindu temple.”[29]

Marco Polo did not visit Mylapore; indeed, Mylapore is not identified in the Milione though it may be inferred to be the destination of Christian pilgrims from later Portuguese tales. Marco Polo is only repeating the pious stories of Christians and Muslims — the latter also claimed St. Thomas; he was, they told Marco, not only an apostle from Nubia, but a Muslim apostle[30] — who apparently worshipped in a Hindu temple, each justifying his presence there by identifying the shrine with his own Thomas.[31] Ishwar Sharan, Chapter Seven


23. Some historians theorise that Marco Polo never left Constantinople to travel to China, but collected all his adventure stories from Muslim and Syrian Christian merchants who came to the great city to trade. They argue that he compiled these travel tales into a book and claimed them as his own experiences. Certainly in his own time he was not believed and Dante Alighieri called him a liar. In this book we assume the traditional story of his travels to be partially true.

24. Hippolytus, the third century Roman theologian and antipope, is the earliest writer to say that St. Thomas was martyred and buried at Calamina, which he claims is in India. He is followed at the end of the third century by Dorotheus of Tyre, and in the seventh century by Sophronius of Jerusalem and Isidore of Seville. Thomas Herbert identifies Calamina with Gouvea in Brazil, T.K. Joseph with Kalawan near Taxila, P.V. Mathew with Bahrain, and Veda Prakash with Kalamai in Greece. Calamina has never been identified and ancient Thebes northwest of Athens may be added to the list of conjectures. It was originally known as Cadmeia and often called that up to the end of the second century CE. Cadmeia when latinized becomes Calamina. The earth from the single grave of its twin heroes, Amphion and Zethus, was believed to contain great power and was protected, even as the earth of St. Thomas’s sepulchre was believed to heal. Cadmean or Thebean earth, called calamine, is pink in colour and used in medicine and metallurgy.

25.  The earliest records of the Madras area, including money-lenders’ accounts, go back to the fourth century CE. They identify Mylapore, Triplicane and Tiruvottiyur as temple towns. The Nandikkalambakkam describes describes Mylapore as a prosperous port under the Pallavas, the early-fourth-to-late-ninth century emperors of Kanchipuram, who patronized various schools of Hinduism including Jainism and Buddhism, built temples and generously supported the arts. There is no record of a Christian church or saint’s tomb at Mylapore before the Portuguese period, and Olschki is basing his comments on the wrong assumption that Marco Polo did visit Mylapore and that he found a church there. Friar Oderic is describing the original Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple on the Mylapore seashore (see Henry Yule’s comment: “This is clearly a Hindu temple.”), which the Tamil saint Jnanasambandar has positively identified as being there at least before the sixth century CE.

26. Friar John, in his letters from China (presumably sent to Rome), does not identify the St. Thomas church that he visited or say where it was located. Most scholars believe that he travelled in Malabar and the Konkan only.

27.  Olschki’s note: “Thus, St. Thomas was supposed to have been a victim but not a martyr — which would add further complications to the already tangled mass of fables concerning his apostolate and his end.”

28.  Olschki’s note: “The oriental ubiquity of St. Thomas’s apostolate is explained by the fact that the geographical term ‘India’ included, apart from the subcontinent of this name, the lands washed by the Indian Ocean as far as the China Sea in the east and the Arabian peninsula, Ethiopia, and the African coast in the west.”

29. See note 25.

30. See T.K. Joseph’s Six St. Thomases of South India: A Muslim Non-Martyr (Thawwama) made Martyrs after 1517 AD.

31. The Syriac “Thoma” and “Thama” and Arabic “Thuma” and “Thawwama” are variations of the name Thomas. They all have the same meaning —”born twin”— and were common names in the Christian and Muslim communities of India and West Asia. 

Marco Polo in DC 5 Aug 2011

St. Thomas in India: True or False? – N.S. Rajaram

N.S. RajaramHere is the substance of the St. Thomas story: First, if he existed he was a twin brother of Jesus which is unacceptable because Jesus was the Only Son of God. Next, he could not have preached Christianity in 52 AD because Christianity and the New Testament came into existence only in the fourth century, after the Council of Nicaea called by Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The first Christians came to India with the Syrian merchant Thomas in 345 AD escaping persecution in Persia. Lastly, the Namboothari Brahmins settled in Kerala only after the fourth century AD, so could not have been converted by Apostle Thomas in 52 AD using the Bible from three centuries later. – Dr. N.S. Rajaram

St. ThomasAccording to Christian leaders in India, the Apostle Thomas came to India in 52 A.D., founded the Syrian Christian Church, and was killed by the fanatical Brahmins in 72 A.D. His followers built the St. Thomas Church near the site of his martyrdom. Historians however say this apostle, even if he existed, never came to India. The Christian community in South India was founded by a Syrian (or Armenian) merchant Thomas Cananeus in 345 AD. He led four hundred refugees who fled persecution in Persia and were given asylum by the Hindu authorities.

This story was too commonplace to attract converts. So Christian leaders identified the merchant Thomas with Apostle Thomas and created the dramatic story of the Apostle’s persecution and death at the hands of the “wicked” Brahmins of South India. This became current in the 16th century when the Portuguese gained control of the west coast of India and forced the Syrian Christians to follow the Catholic faith. The Portuguese also destroyed the Kapaleeswara Temple that originally stood on the site now occupied by the San Thome Cathedral on the beach.

Kapali TempleThe creation of this myth and the history is told in detail by the Canadian scholar Ishwar Sharan in his famous book The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. The purpose of the myth was to create a local martyr. Christianity depends heavily on the appeal of martyrs who are projected as victims like Jesus Christ. Then as now, Church leaders liked to pose as victims to generate sympathy and propaganda. But no matter how much they tried, the Hindus of India refused to supply the Portuguese with martyrs. So they were forced to create their own. So they turned the merchant Thomas into the Apostle Thomas killed by the Hindus.

In his foreword to Ishwar Sharan’s book, the Belgian scholar Koenraad Elst wrote: “In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal ‘secularists’ who attack the Hindus for relying on myth in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics.”

San Thome CathedralTargeting Brahmins to undermine Hinduism was a favorite tactic among missionaries. Elst gives the true picture: “In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that the damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as ‘the seed of the faith’), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates St. Thomas’ martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism. It is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples (Jain and Shaiva) whose existence was insupportable to the Christian missionaries.”

Another motivation for the myth was to erase the unsavory record of the Catholic Church’s close association with the Portuguese pirates and even worse, the Goa Inquisition inspired by St. Xavier. But serious scholars including Christians have rejected this myth as we shall soon see.

Who was this Apostle Thomas and why was his name invoked? The main sources relating to Apostle Thomas are two Gnostic (non-Biblical) texts known as the Acts of Thomas and the Gospel of Thomas. According to them Thomas was the twin brother of Jesus. For this reason the Thomas myth is not accepted by the Vatican because of a doctrinal problem: Jesus as the Only Son of God cannot possibly have a twin brother. (Greek for Thomas is Didymus, which means twin brother.)

Christians in South India who identify themselves as St. Thomas Christians claim that their ancestors were blessed by Apostle Thomas in 52 A.D. who preached from the Bible. This has no historical basis as we shall see. In fact, there is no evidence that Thomas even existed. His “history” is full of contradictions as will become apparent.

Marco PoloAs just observed the Portuguese missionaries who came to India in the 16th century found that they could not do without a local martyr and created the myth of St. Thomas claiming that he was martyred in India. They gave no explanation as to how they discovered it more than 1500 years later. Marco Polo is supposed to have mentioned it but there is no authentic manuscript that can be attributed to him. Then there is the question of how he discovered it more than a thousand years later.

There is even a tomb that is supposed to contain his martyred remains in Mylapore in Chennai. But the problem is there are several such memorials spread across Persia, Acre (Israel) and a few other places dating to different times, all laying claim to be the place where Apostle Thomas was martyred and buried!

After examining all the evidence, the late Father Heras, former Director of the Historical Research Institute, St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, said in 1953 that he was convinced that the tomb of St. Thomas was not in Mylapore. He had earlier said, quite emphatically in The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara, that the Portuguese account of their discovery of some relics was “a most barefaced imposture [with] all elements of a forgery.” Heras was himself a Jesuit father but also an eminent historian.

Henry HerasThis is not the end of the story, for while denying the myth because it challenges Jesus as the “Only Son of God” the Vatican wants to have it both ways. On September 27, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech at St. Peter’s in Rome in which he recalled an ancient tradition claiming that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia, then went on to Western India, from where Christianity also reached Southern India. Syrian Christians derive status within the caste system from the tradition that they are converted Namboothiris (Brahmins), who were allegedly evangelized by St. Thomas after he allegedly landed in Kerala in AD 52.

There are serious problems with this theory: the Namboothiris started settling in Kerala only from the fourth century onwards, which means they did not exist at the time the alleged St. Thomas allegedly came to Kerala. So we have a possibly non-existent apostle preaching in the first century from a text, the New Testament, dating to the fourth century, to a people, the Namboothiris who settled in the fourth century or later. In reality the Pope’s original statement at St. Peter’s, reflected the geography of the Acts of Thomas, i.e. Syria, Parthia (Persia / Iran) and Gandhara (Afghanistan / Northwest Pakistan) — all far removed from Kerala in the southernmost tip of India.

Bleeding CrossThis is not the end to the contradictions. If Thomas landed in Kerala in 52 AD, he could not have taught from the Christian Bible (New Testament) with its four gospels which came into existence only in the fourth century. In fact Christianity did not exist at the time because there was no Christian scripture! In addition, the famous St. Thomas Cross supposedly brought by him made its appearance in Kerala only in the fourth century, about the same time as the Namboothiri Brahmins. So it is quite possible that the highly ornate St. Thomas Cross [with Hindu motifs carved in it] was borrowed from the Namboothiris, having nothing to do with St. Thomas or even Christians. The Church borrowed its cross from the Egyptians and the oldest so-called St. Thomas Cross is a pagan Persian symbol.

Prof. Francis Xavier Clooney, SJAs if this were not confusing enough, Father Francis Clooney, a theologian with the Harvard Divinity School has stated that St Thomas had preached in Brazil, no matter that Brazil as we understand today was unknown in his time. According to Clooney, one Ruiz de Montoya, writing in Peru in the mid-seventeenth century, thought that since God would not have overlooked the Americas for fifteen hundred years, and since among the twelve apostles St. Thomas was known for his mission to the “most abject people in the world, blacks and Indians,” it was only reasonable to conclude that St. Thomas had preached throughout the Americas:

“He began in Brazil – either reaching it by natural means on Roman ships, which some maintain were in communication with America from the coast of Africa, or else, as may be thought closer to the truth, being transported there by God miraculously. He passed to Paraguay and from there to the Peruvians.”

St. Thomas Book CoverSo here is the substance of the St. Thomas story. First, if he existed he was a twin brother of Jesus which is unacceptable because Jesus was the Only Son of God (born to a virgin). Next, he could not have preached Christianity in 52 AD because Christianity and the New Testament came into existence only in the fourth century, after the Council of Nicaea called by Roman Emperor Constantine in 325 AD. The first Christians came to India with the Syrian merchant Thomas in 345 AD escaping persecution in Persia. This was probably because Roman and Persian empires were great rivals. The Namboothiri Brahmins settled in Kerala only after the fourth AD, so could not have been converted by Apostle Thomas in 52 AD using the Bible from three centuries later.

Finally, the myth was created by Portuguese missionaries in the sixteenth century with the help of pirates. They destroyed also the Kapaleeswara Temple and a Jain temple building the church known as San Thome Cathedral in 1504. It acquired its present status and recognition as a cathedral (grand church) under British patronage in 1893. It was also the Portuguese who converted the Syrian Christians to the Catholic faith.

So, all these contradictions have to be reconciled before the myth of St Thomas can be taken seriously. – Folks Magazine, 7 November 2009

» Editor’s Note: Historians do not agree about the date for the coming of Namboothiri Brahmins to Kerala. Marxist historians make their arrival as late as the sixth century AD. However with the identification of the Namboothiri priest Mezhathol Agnihothri (b. 342 AD), the date can be moved back to the fourth century. Namboothiri historians themselves do not give a date for the arrival of their community in Kerala from North India.

» Dr. N.S. Rajaram has referred to the second (1995) edition of The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple for this article. The second edition is now out of print and not available on-line. However the third (2010) edition, which contains everything in the second edition, revised with corrected dates and many new references, is available on The Ishwar Sharan Archive.

See also

Feast of St. Thomas: Fr. Francis continues to perpetuate a history fraud on the Indian people – Ishwar Sharan

Thomas & Hindu assassin

Ishwar SharanThe story of St. Thomas’s Indian sojourn exists only in the Acts of Thomas. This long religious romance was probably  written by the Syrian Gnostic poet Bardesanes about 210 CE at Edessa, Syria. Bardesanes was familiar with India and had met and discussed Indian philosophy with Buddhist monks travelling west to Alexandria. It was therefore quite natural for him to place his moral fable about Judas Thomas in India, a land from which all kinds of religious ideas emanated.” – Ishwar Sharan

Mar ThomaThe Deccan Chronicle in Chennai carried on 2 July 2012 a “mystic mantra” column called “Feast of Thomas” by Fr. Francis Gonsalves, the principle of the the Jesuit-run Vidyajyoti Theological College in New Delhi. The feast for St. Thomas is celebrated on July 3rd every year in India. Fr. Francis knows better than this writer that the story of St. Thomas in India is untrue. He also knows that prestigious Jesuit schools in Europe would never refer to the Thomas in India story without first qualifying it as a unverified Gnostic moral fable. But Fr. Francis whose ancestors were Christian converts in Goa—by force or fraud we do not know—is an Indian Jesuit under a communal compulsion to deceive his congregation and support their fanciful apostolic aspirations for India.  And there is also the politics of which his religious order is more than famous–or should we say infamous. Fr. Francis has a candidate for the Indian presidency in the person of a deracinated tribal convert called Purno Sangma. Therefore Fr. Francis must continue to perpetrate the St. Thomas in India lie as he is aware that Thomas has already claimed India for Christ and that claim may soon be realized in the person of Purno Sangma. So Fr. Francis wrote:

Francis GonsalvesI’m often asked by the people here in India and abroad, “When did Christianity come to India?” “Indian Christianity is about 2,000 years old,” I reply, adding, “Ever since St Thomas, one of Jesus’ beloved disciples, came to India.” Thus, we have the so called “St Thomas Christians” — mainly from Kerala — whose ancestors received Jesus’ “Gospel” soon after his resurrection. On July 3, Christians will celebrate the feast of Saint Thomas.

The Gospel of John records three utterances of St Thomas that give glimpses of his character. First, when Jesus desires to go to Bethany, bordering Jerusalem, the disciples try to prevent him from going since he was almost stoned there for claiming kinship with God. Thomas, however, sticks by Jesus, and says, “Let’s also go that we may die with him” (John 11:16). This shows Thomas’ courage and his commitment to Jesus.

Second, when Jesus announces his imminent death and assures his disciples that he’ll prepare a place for them, he adds, “You know the way to the place where I’m going.” Thomas answers candidly, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” (John 14:5). This prompts Jesus to reply, “I am the way.”

Thomas’ third utterance gives not only him, but also gifts us the appellation “doubting Thomas”. Being no pushover, Thomas asks for “proof” before he believes the unprecedented news of Jesus rising from the dead. But, on meeting the Risen Christ, he exclaims: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). These words are etched in gold over the tomb of St Thomas at the San Thome Cathedral, Chennai: a magnificent 16th-century Gothic church visited by innumerable pilgrims.

Having lived in Chennai, I cherish unforgettable moments at monuments built in memory of Apostle Thomas. I remember that morning of Sunday, December 26, 2004, when I was presiding over morning worship at San Thome Cathedral and the mighty ocean came crashing down upon Marina beach, leaving us distraught at the destruction wrought by the tsunami.

Two other churches in Chennai commemorate the Apostle: one built in 1523 atop “Saint Thomas Mount” near the airport, and, another big, circular one constructed in 1972 on “Little Mount”. The former contains the “Bleeding Cross”, believed to have been sculpted on stone by St Thomas, while the latter rests beside the cave where the Apostle prayed.

Saints are not the exclusive property of one religion. St Thomas teaches us all three things: (a) to be courageous and committed to a cause; (b) to be candid and to clarify things when in doubt; and (c) to be critical of things outside human experience; yet, also to believe in God who forever remains “The Beyond” while inspiring us to exclaim, “My Lord, my God!” in the everyday ordinariness of life.Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 2 June 2012

There is no historical evidence to support the legend that St. Thomas, called Judas Thomas in the Acts of Thomas, ever came to India. And when we say there is no historical evidence in Western literature, we say emphatically that there is no evidence for St. Thomas or Indian Christianity in ancient Tamil literature either. Even up to the tenth century and Raja Raja Chola’s time, Tamil literature has no record of Christians or Christianity being present in the land.

The story of Thomas’s Indian sojourn exists only in the Acts of Thomas. This long religious romance was probably  written by the Syrian Gnostic poet Bardesanes about 210 CE at Edessa, Syria. Bardesanes was familiar with India and had met and discussed Indian philosophy with Buddhist monks travelling west to Alexandria. It was therefore quite natural for him to place his moral fable in India, a land from which all kinds of religious ideas emanated.

Bardesanes (154–222)Bardesanes story is centred on the the moral imperative that all Christians must lead a chaste and celibate life. In the story he has Judas Thomas, who is presented as a look-alike twin brother of Jesus, persuade a newly married royal couple not to consummate their marriage. This angers the Parthian king of the desert land where Thomas is present and he has to flee for his life to another part of the country. Here he comes into contact with another Parthian king called Gundaphorus—possibly a first century king of  Gandhara i.e. North-West Pakistan—and promises to build him a palace. Thomas cheats the king of his money but succeeds in converting him to Christianity. He then leaves Gundaphorus and concerns himself with a talking donkey and a dragon who claims to be Satan. Thomas slays the dragon but because of his interest in converting the women and girls of the area to Christianity and alienating them from family life, is called before a third Parthian king called Mazdai—Mazdai being a Zoroastrian name not a Hindu name—and ordered to leave the country. When Thomas ignores the king’s warning and converts the queen and her son, the king in exasperation at the apostle’s evil deeds orders him executed. He is then speared to death by soldiers on a royal acropolis and the body immediately taken away to Edessa.

Marco PoloThomas remained in the Parthian royal acropolis in all records until Marco Polo put his tomb on the seashore in an unnamed little town in South India. Marco, who never came to India, was repeating the stories told to him by Muslim and Syrian Christian merchants he met in Constantinople.

This is how St. Thomas got to South India. The Portuguese who knew Marco’s book Il Milione decided quite arbitrarily that Mylapore was the unnamed little town Marco was referring to—and Mylapore also had a good harbour and a great temple that could be turned into an apostle’s tomb. As they say, the rest is history—and a falsified history at that!

Though Bardesanes represents Judas Thomas as a second Christ, he does not represent him as a good man. What we gather from the story in the Acts, and what Fr. Francis and his Church neglect to tell the faithful, is that

  • Jesus was a slave trader who sold Thomas to Abbanes for thirty pieces of silver;
  • Thomas was an antisocial character who lied to his royal employer and stole money from him;
  • Thomas ill-treated women and enslaved them;
  • Thomas practised black magic and was executed for disobeying the king’s order to stop and leave the country;
  • Thomas was Jesus’s twin brother, implying that the four canonical Gospels are unreliable sources which have concealed a crucial fact, viz. that Jesus was not God’s Only Begotten Son. In fact, Jesus and Thomas were God’s twin-born sons. In other words, accepting the Thomas legend as history is equivalent to exploding the doctrinal foundation of Christianity.

San Thome CathedralEnough said about St. Thomas.

About San Thome Cathedral which houses his fake tomb—the real tomb for St. Thomas is at Ortona, Italy—it has been established by reputed Jesuit and Indian archaeologists that the church stands on the ruins of the original Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple destroyed by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. So do the churches at Little Mount and Big Mount stand on ruined Murugan and Shiva temples respectively. The “Bleeding Cross” Fr. Francis refers to and which is kept in the Portuguese church on Big Mount, has these words carved around the edge of it in Pahlavi script: “My lord Christ, have mercy upon Afras, son of Chaharbukht the Syrian, who cut this.” The cross is dated by experts to the eighth or ninth century.

Apostle Thomas was a Jew and the Roman cross would have been an abhorrent symbol to him. Certainly he did not bring a cross—or a Bible for that matter—to India. Christians did not use the Roman cross as an religious symbol until the third century or later. They used a fish sign with the Greek word ΙΧΘΥC (ikhthus meaning “fish”)—and acronym for JESUS—inscribed in its body to identify themselves and their cult. Curiously Indian Christianity has never referenced or employed a fish symbol in its religious culture. This is because the cross was brought to India by Syrian Christian refugees after the fourth century.

Arun ShourieWe wish to assure Fr. Francis and the Christian congregations that he has deceived, that Hindus are not going to demand the return of temple property the Church has forcefully taken from them over the centuries. But we do feel an apology for past crimes is in order and that some restraint is observed when perpetuating the communally-charged St. Thomas tale among the faithful—especially as Thomas’s persecution and death are falsely attributed to a Hindu king and his Brahmin priests. Arun Shourie has stated that the apology should include the following items:

  • an honest accounting of the calumnies which the Church has heaped on India and Hinduism; informing Indian Christians and non-Christians about the findings of Bible scholarship [including the St. Thomas legend];
  • informing them about the impact of scientific progress on Church doctrine;
  • acceptance that reality is multi-layered and that there are many ways of perceiving it;
  • bringing the zeal for conversion in line with the recent declarations that salvation is possible through other religions as well.

Archbishop ChinnappaBesides this apology, we feel the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore may donate a piece of the vast estate Bishop’s House stands on for a memorial to the courageous Hindus who resisted the Portuguese when they with the help of Franciscan, Dominican and Jesuit priests were destroying the Kapaleeswara Shiva Temple by the sea.

The Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, who may be an honest man unlike his predecessors, also must stop perpetuating the claim that Tiruvalluvar was a disciple of Thomas and a Christian convert. Anybody who has read the Tirukurral can see that this claim is a malicious falsehood.

The St. Thomas legend is part of Indian history and Indian history must be told according to the known facts, not according to the fabricated anti-national theories of Indian Jesuits and Marxist historians. Even Pope Benedict has denied that St. Thomas came to South India—never mind that his editors changed his statement the next day to include South India because Kerala’s bishops had threatened secession or worse if the Church did not support their dearly held tale of origins.

Pope Benedict XVIDr. Koenraad Elst, educated in Europe’s most prestigious Catholic university in Leuven, Belgium, writes in his foreword to The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple: “It is clear enough that many Christians including the Pope have long given up the belief in Thomas’s Indian exploits, or—like the Church Fathers—never believed in them in the first place. In contrast with European Christians today, Indian Christians live in a 17th century bubble, as if they are too puerile to stand in the daylight of solid historical fact. They remain in a twilight of legend and lies, at the command of ambitious “medieval” bishops who mislead them with the St. Thomas in India fable for purely selfish reasons.”

What a sad observation on Indian Christians who have access to the best education and health care in the country. And what an shrewd observation on Indian bishops who are probably the most wealthy and politically astute caste in India today.

Thomas tomb at Ortona

Thomas tomb Mylapore

St. Thomas: The making of an “Indian” apostle – Sandhya Jain

Sandhya Jain“The claim that Christianity came to India before it went to Europe is a ploy to make it a sort of native religion, even if it came from West Asia. The origin is a Gnostic Syrian fable, Acts of Thomas, written by poet Bardesanes at Edessa around 201 CE. The text never mentions or describes the sub-continent, but says the apostle went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people are ‘Mazdei’ (Zoroastrian) and have Persian names. The term India in Acts of Thomas is a synonym for Asia.” – Sandhya Jain

Dr. R. NagaswamyAs Christian evangelists intensify efforts to bring India under their sway, their brethren in the south are trying to (mis)use current excavations at Pattanam to revive the myth of Apostle Thomas arriving in the country in the first century AD and establishing a fledgling community. They are trying to link the ancient port of Muziris with Pattanam, where Thomas reputedly landed, though Muziris was more logically Kodungalloor, where the river joins the sea. R Nagaswamy, former director, Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey, debunks this mischief and avers that none of the literature on the life of St Thomas claims that he came to India.

Yet, so strenuously has the myth been perpetuated that Swami Devananda Saraswati (pen name Ishwar Sharan), a Canadian born into a Protestant family who became a Smarta Dashanami sanyasi at Prayag in 1977, decided to get to its historical roots. The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple (updated third edition, Voice of India), is the fruit of his labours.

Thomas & Hindu assassinSharan was intrigued by the story of the alleged murder of the apostle by a conniving Brahmin. In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI declared that Thomas never came to India, but Rome later fell silent after a nudge from the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore. The myth includes the implausible conversion of Tiruvalluvar by the foreign evangelist, though Tamil scholars believe the sage lived around 100 BCE, perhaps even 200 BCE.

The claim that Christianity came to India before it went to Europe is a ploy to make it a sort of native religion, even if it came from West Asia. The origin is a Gnostic Syrian fable, Acts of Thomas, written by poet Bardesanes at Edessa around 201 CE. The text never mentions or describes the sub-continent, but says the apostle went from Palestine eastwards to a desert-like country where people are ‘Mazdei’ (Zoroastrian) and have Persian names. The term India in Acts of Thomas is a synonym for Asia.

The Acts of Thomas identifies St Thomas as Judas, the look-alike twin of Jesus, who sells him into slavery. The slave travels to Andropolis where he makes newly-weds chaste, cheats a king, fights with Satan over a beautiful boy, persuades a talking donkey to confess the name of Jesus, and is finally executed by a Zoroastrian king for crimes against women. His body is buried on a royal mountain and later taken to Edessa, where a popular cult rises around his tomb.

Thomas of CanaOne Thomas of Cana led a group of 400 Christians (from seven tribes and 72 families) from Babylon and Nineveh, out of Persia in the 4th century, when Christianisation of the Roman Empire made the Persians view their Syriac-speaking Christian minority as a Roman fifth column. The ‘Thomas Christians’ could originally have referred to this merchant. They reputedly landed at Cranganore in Malabar in 345 CE. Sharan warns this migration cannot be treated as historical fact, but says that Cosmas the Alexandrian, theologian, geographer and merchant who traded with Ethiopia and Ceylon, visited Malabar in 520-525 CE and provided the first acceptable evidence of Christian communities there in Christian Topography. This Thomas was probably ‘converted’ (metamorphosed) to St Thomas.

Early Church Fathers like Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Eusebius are explicit that Apostle Thomas settled in ‘Parthia’, and established a church in Fars (Persia). This is supported by the 4th century priest Rufinus of Aquileia, who translated Greek theological texts into Latin, and the 5th century Byzantine church historian, Socrates of Constantinople, who wrote a book on ecclesiastical history, the second edition of which survives and is a valuable source of early church history. Nothing much is known about St Thomas. He was called the Apostle of the East in West Asia and India until 1953, when the Church demoted him to Apostle of India, dislodging St Francis Xavier.

Marco PoloBetween the 4th and 16th centuries, the Syrian Christians of Malabar reinvented the tale several times, finally bringing St Thomas to India to evangelise the heathen. In the 13th century, Marco Polo embellished the tale with a South Indian seashore tomb and in the 16th century the Portuguese transferred this seashore tomb to Mylapore. They created their own redactions of the Acts of Thomas and began destroying temples in the port city and building their St Thomas churches, pretending these were the sites of Thomas’s martyrdom and burial.

The primary objective of the Thomas-in-India or Jesus-in-India stories is to vilify Brahmins and malign the Hindu religion and community. The second is to present Christianity as an indigenous religion — not a piece of Western imperialism. A deeper aim is to insinuate it as the ‘original’ religion of the Tamil people. Finally, it is to help Syrian Christians maintain their caste identity, their claim to be Jews or Brahmins, descendants of Namboodiris converted by St Thomas in the 1st century.

Ishwar Sharan cites a wealth of historical, textual and epigraphic material to prove how various authors and travellers like Marco Polo, mistakenly or deliberately, falsified evidence regarding St Thomas. He traces Marco Polo’s mischief to a book the legendary explorer dictated to fellow prisoner and writer, Rustichello, when he was captured by Genoa. The book became a hit in Europe, and the myth of a St Thomas’s tomb on a seashore was firmly planted.

San Thome Bishop's MuseumGerman scholars, whose work remains to be translated into English, have consistently maintained that most 16th and 17th century churches in India contain temple rubble and are built on temple sites, just as in Europe they took over pagan sites. In fact, at the end of the 19th century, a landslip on San Thome beach revealed carved stone pillars and broken stones of mandapam found only in Hindu temples.

The Portuguese in the 16th century had one of their earliest settlements at San Thome, and razed many Hindu temples to the ground. Vijayanagar’s ruler, Rama Raya, waged war on them in Mylapore and Goa simultaneously to save Hindu temples. After his victory, he exacted a tribute from them for their vandalism. But when Vijayanagar fell before the Muslim armies at the Battle of Talikota (1565), the Portuguese resumed their iconoclasm.

The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple is a treasure trove of information that an article cannot do justice to; it’s a must read for lovers of Hindu temples and history.

Ishwar Sharan, The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, 3rd Edition, Voice of India, Delhi, 2010; Pages: 407; Price: Rs 450 - VijayvaaniThe Pioneer, Sept 13, 2011

Muziris: Dr. Nagaswamy nails false propaganda on St. Thomas – Media Reports

Dr. R. Nagaswamy

“When looking at the literature on the life of St. Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India.” – Dr. R. Nagaswamy

Thiruvananthapuram: The effort made by some interested quarters to link the Muziris excavations with the visit of St. Thomas Apostle has been criticised by eminent archaeologist and former director of the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Survey of India, R. Nagaswamy.

Judas Thomas the Apostle“When looking at the literature on the life of St. Thomas, it is not mentioned anywhere that he came to India. It is only a myth, which has now been connected with the excavations at Pattanam, near Kodungalloor,” the former visiting professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University told Express.

In fact, the ancient Muzirs port must have been located in Kodungalloor and not in Pattanam because all major ports in ancient times were situated at river mouths. And so it is safe to assume that Muziris was at Kodungalloor, where the river joins the sea.

Prof. P.J. CherianHe felt there was a hidden agenda by certain sections to propagate the idea that Muziris was connected to Pattanam, where St. Thomas is believed to have landed, and not with Kodungalloor.

Myth cannot be called history. Connecting myth with history could only create confusion and distort history, he said. “There is no substantial evidence to say that Pattanam is connected with Muziris. How was this conclusion reached? Those who claim to have found materials to connect Pattanam with Muziris have forgotten that these materials were also found in the eastern and the western costs of the country,” said Nagaswamy. – Express BuzzIBNLive, Thiruvananthapuram, August 7, 2011

♦ Include St. Thomas Church in Muziris says Bishop Dr. Joseph Karikkassery

 Kottapuram Bishop Dr. Joseph Karikkassery (middle).Paravoor: St Thomas Church in Maliankara which was constructed as a historical monument of the visit of St Thomas Apostle, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ, who landed in Maliankara in AD 52, should be included in the Muzaris Heritage Project, urged Kottapuram Bishop Dr. Joseph Karikkassery.

Bishop Karikkassery visited the church in Maliankara, the monument constructed to perpetuate the visit of the apostle.

St. Thomas Church, Kodungallur.St Thomas is believed to have disembarked from a trading vessel at Kodungalloor Maliankara and baptised several people in various parts of the country. Cardinal Tisserant representing the Holy See, had installed the historical monument at St Thomas Church in Maliankara.

Bishop Karikkassery was accompanied by Diocese Chancellor Fr. Nixon Kattassery and Procurator Fr. Tegy Thanippilly. They were received by Fr. Joshy Muttickal and Fr. Shyjan Panackal at the church. – Express Buzz, Paravoor, April 21, 2011

References

The Archbishop of Canterbury owes Hindus an abject apology – Swami Devananda Saraswati

Rowan Williams

The Lord Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams, England’s first citizen after the Royals, is on a working  tour of India since Oct. 9th. His primary business is church business and consolidating church interests in India. He probably will not visit Khajuraho and the Taj Mahal. But he does intend to visit St. Thomas Mount in Chennai.

In a letter to his Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs, Dr. Katherine Wharton, we asked her to bring to the Archbishop’s attention that the St. Thomas fable is deeply offensive to Hindus. It charges Hindus with “diecide” — the killing of Thomas by a Hindu assassin. We also informed her that San Thome Cathedral and the other churches associated with St. Thomas are built on the remains of Hindu temples destroyed by the Portuguese. These churches are monuments to religious bigotry, not houses of prayer.

We ended our message by asking if the Archbishop condoned the conduct and lies of the Portuguese who built the St. Thomas Mount church he intends to pray in?

Mount churchThe secretary Dr. Elizabeth Wharton has not replied to us. This is not surprising. The Archbishop has other things on his ecclesiastical mind. He and his various national churches abroad are at odds. He would like these churches to accept gay men and women priests to lead the congregations as bishops. The churches are outraged at his suggestion. But he will continue to try to have his way so long as he is archbishop and the various Anglican congregations stay with him and accept him as leader.

This is the same Archbishop who advised the British government to recognise Shariah as a valid  legal justice system in England. But he does not hold similar sympathies for Hindu religious traditions.

Archbishop Dr. Williams in his public statements has already offended Hindus as best he can, by asking the various warring Christian churches to unite against the violence of the host Hindu community in India.

Swami Lakshmananda“Sustained violence against Christians in India has helped different denominations to bridge differences and heed the Good Shepherd’s voice,” he told a meeting of 1,200 church delegates in Nagpur on October 14th.

This statement is absurd. There is no sustained violence against Christians in India today and there has never been any at any time. The Archbishop is repeating a foul lie probably on the advice of his devious Catholic counterpart in New Delhi. He would like Hindus to be put on the defensive because his own position is  weak and wobbly.

When communal violence occurs between Hindus and  Christian converts who have been alienated from their traditions and native society (as has happened in Kandhamal), it is the converts who initiate the violence and the Hindus who respond.

This has been found to be true in every case without exception.

Gun & CrossThroughout history Christians have deliberately provoked violence against themselves and then capitalized on the result, presenting themselves to the world as innocent victims and  martyrs who have been unjustly attacked. But a close examination of the evidence of violence against Christians exposes them as the instigators of the violence for their own selfish benefit. They believe in a martyred god and must become martyred like him.

The Archbishop Sahib is trying to create misunderstanding and hatred between Christians and the host Hindu community with his mischievous remarks.

He is to meet Hindu sadhus in Bangalore on Oct. 20th. The press release reads:

Archbishop of Canterbury and Hindu Swamis in Dialogue
Whitefield Ecumenical Centre, Bangalore

On the afternoon of the 20th October 2010, the Archbishop will be
hosting a dialogue meeting with five Hindu Swamis. They will speak in
private for two hours and then give a public presentation together
before responding to questions from the audience.

Participants

Archbishop Rowan Williams, Anglican Communion.

His Holiness Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna
Jeeyar Swamiji, Sri Vaishnava , Founder of Jeeyar Educational Trust
(JET), Hyderabad.

His Holiness 1008 Sri Sri Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, Dvaita, Shri
Puthige Matha, Udupi.

Srimat Swami Harshanandaji, President of Ramakrishna Math, Bangalore.

Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru Dr Shivamurthy Shivacharya Mahaswamiji, Lingayat.

Swami Paramananda Bharati, Dashanami, Sringeri Math.

Chair: Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Lancaster University, U.K.

This dialogue is at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury to
respected teachers and leaders of Hindu sampradayas/traditions to
engage in discussions for mutual understanding.

Programme

1pm – 2:30pm Visions of the Divine
‘I want to suggest that, understood as a means of God-given discovery,
dialogue actually brings us up against a greater and fuller awareness
of the sheer mystery of the God with whom we all have to do.’
Archbishop Rowan Williams

Each participant will set out the nature of their traditions
conception of the divine and the specific practices recommended to
attain spiritual knowledge (jnana).

2:30pm – 3:30pm Social Harmony
What is the ideal community? The Swamis and the Archbishop will
discuss the social values central to their respective traditions and
ask how a pluralist society can encourage and protect true freedom of
belief.

3:30pm – 4:30pm Public Question and Answer Section.
The Archbishop and Swamis will reflect on the dialogue and articulate
the main points for a public audience. Then questions will be taken
from the audience.

Press release issued by

Dr. Kate Wharton
Research Assistant to the Revd Canon Guy Wilkinson
National Inter Religious Affairs Adviser &
Secretary for Inter Religious Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU
TEL: 020 7898 1216; FAX: 020 7401 9886; EMAIL: katherine.wharton@c-of-e.org.uk

Vatican TwoFrom its inception at the Second Vatican Council til today, inter-religious dialogue has been used as an instrument of proselytization of the heathen and nothing else.  The invitation to such a dialogue by a Christian leader has always been insincere. And the dialogues themselves have never served the Hindu interest. Never. Read the thoughtful discourse of Radha Rajan, Sandhya Jain, and B.R. Haran to know the truth about inter-religious dialogue and what it holds for the Hindu.

When Christian missionaries are still engaged in their war on Hinduism, alienating the Indian people from their families and native traditions with money and false promises of salvation, how is it possible for Hindu representatives to sit and talk about “visions of the divine” and “social harmony” with the Archbishop of Canterbury or any other Christian leader?

SimpletonHindu representatives who engage in these inter-religious dialogues are either simpletons and fools who live in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land. Or they are quislings who have been paid by the Church to subvert and undermine their own community. They are either of these; there is no third kind!

As for the Lord Archbishop Sahib, he owes Hindus an abject and unconditional apology for the crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated in India against the Indian people by his church when they were enslaved by the British and robbed of their wealth and self-esteem.

India was by all accounts the richest country in the world until the 17th century when, after 300-plus years of rule by the Christian British, she became one of the poorest nations on earth.

Church of England divines were right in the middle of the thievery. Besides the dirty books they printed about Hindu Gods on their new printing presses, there are government records that show that almost all churches in Kerala received lands misappropriated from temples during the British regime. These lands have never been returned to their rightful owners, the deities of the dispossessed temples.

Francis XavierThere was also the temple-breaking. Not so much as that perpetrated by the Roman Catholic priests roaming around the countryside looking for converts and little boys, but a few incidents high-profile enough to be remembered.

There was the removal of the Hindu shrines from within the Fort St. George campus because they offended the sensibilities of the British officials who lived there; there was the occupation of the temples of Triplicane and Mylapore by troops when the British and French were fighting; there was the confiscation of the beautiful Jalakanteeswara Shiva Temple in Vellore Fort — the image had been removed earlier either by or because of the Nawabs of Arcot — and its use by British troops as a stable for horses; there was the partial demolition of the Tirumala Nayak Mahal in Madurai out of envy (it was more beautiful than the British king’s palace); there was the firing on the Kalahasti temples by British troops in order to intimidate the local people; there was the removal of the Mumba Devi Temple from its original site to its present location in Bhuleshwar to facilitate the building of Victoria Terminus in Mumbai.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. What the British did in North India are unspeakable crimes. But this is enough of a list to make our point to the visiting colonial White Sahib.

NT in TamilPerhaps more criminal than these visible attacks on Hindus was the vast quantity of vile and perverted literature produced by Church of England missionaries against Hinduism and Brahmins — Brahmins were (and are) targeted by missionaries because they are the custodians of Hindu culture and are not easily converted. Ziegenbalg was one of the first to produce anti-Hindu religious pornography on his imported printing press at Tranquebar. But the Christian publisher ISPCK in Delhi, a colonial institution the Archbishop is today praising to the skies, also produced a lot of this missionary garbage.

So the Lord Archbishop Sahib is on the warpath. He is not repentant of past crimes perpetrated by his predecessors and Church of England  missionaries in British India. He has already taken the offensive and accused Hindus in Nagpur of “sustained violence against Christians”. What then is he going to say to the Swamijis in Whitefield before he offers them their bags of ‘dakshina’?

The Archbishop should get down off his high horse; indeed, he should get down on his knees before Mother India.  She is about to be recognised a world power — again! —  while his own depraved country, England, has been recognised as the favourite catamite of US presidents. England  and the English Church has become the laughingstock of the world.

The Archbishop of Canterbury owes Hindus an abject, unconditional apology for the crimes — those past and those still being contemplated — of his missionaries and countrymen in India.

And if the Archbishop is really a man of God as some of his guided followers believe, then he will give an unequivocal undertaking to stop the conversion of Hindus in India from today. If he is a sincere and good man — and he may be one — he will give this commitment to his Hindu guests in Whitefield before he gives them their bags of money.

SRG's bookAs for the Swamijis themselves, before they accept the Archbishop’s gifts they must demand a commitment from him to give up the harvesting of souls in India for the duration of all time. Religious conversion is destroying the social fabric of Mother India and must stop.

What say the Swamijis? They are the representatives of Sanatana Dharma at this dubious conference and are answerable to the Hindu community at large.

Or are they?

Read also

Canterbury & Arcot Sahibs

References

ChristianToday.com:

Head of the Church of England and Anglican Communion, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, will hold talks with religious leaders during his visit here on October 20.

During his brief tour aimed at promoting religious harmony, the archbishop will hold talks with SriTridani Srimannarayana Ramanajua Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji, Sugunendra Theertha Swamiji, Srimat Swami Harshanandaji, Sri Taralabalu Jagadguru and other seers. The meeting will be held at the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Whitefield, Bangalore

The archbishop is on a 16-day tour of India from October 9 at the invitation of the Communion of Churches in India.

“The archbishop is visiting the Church of South India in his official capacity as head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion,” said Bishop and moderator S Vasanth Kumar of Church of South India.

During his visit, the archbishop will visit congregations and look at the development initiatives of the Church of South India and Mar Thoma Church.

He will be the main celebrant at St Marks Cathedral. He will be the preacher at the Eucharist service to be held there on October 21. Later, he will address the faculty and students of the United Theological College. In the evening, he will participate in the public reception organised by the Karnataka Central Diocese. Governor HR Bhardwaj will be the guest. – DNA INDIA

“It will be the time when all Anglican churches will come together. The Roman Catholic church will also participate in the event. The Archbishop of Bangalore Fr Bernard Moras will also take part in the event,” Kumar said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury had visited India in 1985.

***

UCANEWS.com

Violence shows need for unity, Williams says
By Saji Thomas, Nagpur
Violence shows need for unity, Williams says thumbnail
Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury at the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Church of North India

Violence against Christians has helped Churches understand the need of unity, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, told a meeting today.

“Sustained violence against Christians in India has helped different denominations to bridge differences and heed the Good Shepherd’s voice,” the head of the world-wide Anglican communion said during the conclusion of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Church of North India (CNI) on Oct. 14.

Some 1,200 delegates from 27 CNI dioceses attended the jubilee at the Church’s birthplace in Nagpur, central India.

The CNI was formed as a union of Protestant Churches in northern India after Anglican Churches in India delared themselves independent in 1970.

Although independent, the CNI and its counterpart the Church of South India (CSI) both consider the archbishop as their titular and spiritual head.

The archbishop began his 16-day “goodwill mission” to India on Oct. 9, visiting cities such as Kolkata and Ranchi before reaching Nagpur.

“I expect the Churches to work together to reach out to the millions of the Indian poor, who need immediate attention,” he said.

He added that unity among India’s Churches can help form a strong Church. It will also help shed its image in India as a foreign entity resulting from the British colonial rule.


1 – Mythical Thomas, devious Deivanayagam, and conniving Church – B.R. Haran

This report was planted allegedly by The New Indian Express employee Babu Jayakumar, a Christian activist who operates within the newspaper's newsroom. The New Indian Express colluding with fanatic Christians who give false reports is nothing new.

Wrong Report and Right Action

M. It was shocking to see a report (with an accompanying photograph) in The New Indian Express (3 May 2010) titled, “Stir seeking right to worship”. The report said, “Members of the ‘Federation of All Self-Respecting Tamils’ observed a fast inside the Kapaleeswarar Temple demanding right to worship inside the temple in Mylapore. Federation president Mu. Theivanayagam said the fast was to condemn one section which had hijacked the rights of Tamils to perform puja inside the sanctum sanctorum. He demanded the state government appoint unbiased interlocutors to resolve the issue and ensure the rights to perform puja inside the garbagraha as in Kasi Viswanathar Temple.”

The photograph showed film director Seeman, who shot to sudden (in)fame espousing the cause of LTTE, addressing the gathering of about two dozen people brought to the venue by Theivanayagam.

We at Hindu Dharma Padukappu Iyakkam (Hindu Dharma Protection Movement) were surprised as both Deivanayagam and Seeman are Christians and unashamedly anti-Hindu, and yet the Executive Officer of the famous temple had given (as per the report) permission to such dubious characters to protest inside a Hindu Temple. Moreover, the issue taken up by the protestors is sub judice, as the ‘All Caste Archanas Ordinance’ passed by Tamil Nadu Assembly itself stands challenged in the Supreme Court of India.

Seeman: Tamil film director and LTTE sympathizer. He was recently deported from Canada.

At the same time, we were amused as there was every chance that the report was wrong, as it is quite common for newspapers and magazines to file factually wrong reports and then publish a regret note in some corner, if required. So we decided to confirm the veracity of the news report. Unsurprisingly, we learnt that the event had not happened inside Kapaleeswarar Temple and that New Indian Expresshad wrongly mentioned the venue as Mylapore Temple.

We promptly got in touch with other Hindu organizations, some were out of station. Hindu Janajagruthi Samithi, Nandanar Peravai (Nandanar Forum) and Desiya Sinthanaiyalar Peravai (National Thinkers Forum) agreed to send volunteers to assemble in front of Mylapore police station and lodge a complaint against Deivanayagam and Seeman and later to protest against HR & CE Dept. We prepared a letter to the Chief Minister demanding the ouster of Executive Officer, Joint Commissioner, Commissioner and the Minister for HR & CE Dept.

By afternoon, while preparing for the protest, we learnt that the hunger strike demo was actually conducted at Rajarathinam Stadium, Egmore, with due police permission. It was simply appalling that the police gave permission to Christian bullies to demonstrate on a Hindu cause, even if this was not inside the temple premises. We decided to register our protest with the Commissioner of Police. CoP being unavailable, we met a senior official (Intelligence) and apprised him of our concerns and feelings of outrage. We felt strongly that the police had erred in giving permission to Christians to demonstrate on a Hindu issue and questioned the locus standi of the demonstrators. The official, who never expected a well-articulated protest, could not give convincing answers. Later, we submitted a complaint against Theivanayagam, who has a notorious track record of virulent anti-Hindu activities for over three decades.

Mythical Thomas and his fake Indian connection

The Western Christian elite, from Max Mueller to Macaulay, distorted our history and fed us their distortions. After independence, Marxists and other Western stooges took over as ‘historians’ and continued the dark and sinister legacy of the West. The mythical St.  Thomas was planted and thrust on South India by Western historians to give a solid foundation for Christianity in ancient India. Many attempts have been made at regular intervals to impose the concocted story of Thomas (his arrival, life in Mylapore and death at the hands of a Brahmin) on the people, thereby removing the facts about the persecution of Hindus and destruction of Hindu temples by Christian invaders (Portuguese, French, British) from the fifteenth century onwards.

The planting of the St. Thomas story was not only to have a foundation for Christianity in India, but also to spread it throughout the country. This fabrication succeeded slightly over the years in the areas of Madras, Nagapattinam and Puducherry, mainly because the Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Vel Ilankanni Amman Temple Nagapattinam and Vedapureeswarar Temple, Puducherry, were destroyed and Santhome Basilica, Velankanni Church (Our Lady of Health Basilica) and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception built on their remains respectively. Well known scholars of archaeology have established that the details of the destruction of the original Kapaleeswarar Temple could be found in Tamil inscriptions on the walls of the Marundeeswarar Temple in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai!

The so-called history of St. Thomas had been totally demolished by historian Ishwar Sharan The Myth of St. Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple, translated into Tamil in elegant prose by Dr. B.M. Sundaram. Historian Vedaprakash wrote a Tamil book titled Indiyavil St.Thomas Kattukkathai (“Fake story of St. Thomas in India”). Both authentically establish that the Thomas story was hundred percent false. The most important part of Ishwar Sharan’s research is the Vatican’s letter of September 11, 1996, to him saying, “This Congregation for the Causes of Saints has received your letter of 26th August last in which you have asked for information regarding Saint Thomas’ presence in India. We have not found in our Archives the letter supposedly written by this Congregation on 13th November 1952, of which you speak, because of a lack of more precise data (Diocese, destination, etc.). Nor do we have other data regarding Saint Thomas since this Archive was begun in 1588. His life is the object of the research of historians which is not the particular competence of this Congregation.” [1] No wonder Pope Benedict categorically said Thomas had never visited India!

The Arulappa-Acharya Paul show

Dr. R. Arulappa: Late archbishop of the Madras-Mylapore Archdiocese.Late Dr. Arulappa, former Archbishop of Mylapore, played a vital role in keeping the Thomas story alive despite being fooled by one Acharya Paul (formerly Ganesh Iyer), a Srirangam based Brahmin who converted to Christianity and became a Bible preacher. He claimed to have obtained a Doctorate from Benaras Hindu University and presented himself as Dr. John Ganesh, professor of philosophy and comparative religions. He met a Catholic priest, Father Michael, of Tamil Ilakkiya Kazhagam (Tamil Literary Forum) and impressed him with his articulation on the Bible and Christianity. Father Michael took him to Father Mariadas of Srivilliputhur, who in turn introduced him to Archbishop Arulappa. Arulappa, who wanted to create some sort of “proof” for Thomas and his influence on Thiruvalluvar, was taken aback by the impressive presentation of John Ganesh and committed to finance his ‘research’ to establish the Thomas story as authentic. Between 1975 and 1980, John Ganesh got Rs. 14 lakhs from Arulappa in the name of research. Realising very late that he had been taken for a ride, Arulappa made a police complaint and John Ganesh was arrested on April 29, 1980, after due investigations. Though the Madras High Court awarded him ten month rigorous imprisonment, he got away with just 59 days remand period due to the compromise petition filed by Arulappa. Senior journalist K.P. Sunil wrote this full story under the title “Hoax!” in The Illustrated Weekly of India, April 26 – May 2, 1987, Bombay. He concluded:

San Thome Cathedral: This Portuguese church is built on the Mylapore beach  site of the original Kapaleeswara Temple.

“What is even more curious is that even as criminal proceedings against Iyer were in progress in the magistrate’s court, a civil suit for a compromise had been filed in the Madras high court. The compromise decree was taken up immediately after the conclusion of the criminal case. Since Iyer had admitted the offence, his jail term was reduced to a mere two months imprisonment. And since he had already served 59 days of remand, this period was adjusted against the sentence. “In other words, Iyer, who had defrauded the archbishop to the tune of about Rs. 14 lakhs, was let off without any further punishment. He was ordered to forfeit all claim on the money given to him by the archbishop. Accordingly, the ornaments and money seized from him by the police were returned to the archbishop. As part of the compromise, Iyer was allowed to retain the large bungalow he had purchased with the archbishop’s money.… “… And the case, though officially closed, remains in many minds, an unsolved mystery.” Continued http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/2-mythical-thomas-devious-deivanayagam-and-conniving-church-b-r-haran/


Notes:

1. On 13 November 1952 the Vatican sent a letter to the Christians of Kerala stating that the alleged landing of St. Thomas at Muziris (Kodungallur) was unverified. The Vatican chose not to confirm the sending of this letter to Ishwar Sharan in 1996 on the disingenuous grounds that he had not supplied them with enough information to locate it in their archives.

St. Thomas in India Resources:

  1. Acta Indica: The St. Thomas in India Swindle http://apostlethomasindia.wordpress.com
  2. The Ishwar Sharan Archive http://ishwarsharan.wordpress.com

» This article originally appeared on Vijayvaani at http://vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1220

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