My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE SIXTH DAY OF THE MONTH OF OCTOBER: THE LIFE AND PASSION OF THE HOLY APOSTLE THOMAS
The Holy Apostle Thomas, who was called "The Twin," was from the city of Paneada in Galilee. When our Lord Jesus Christ, during His sojourn on earth with men, passed through cities and villages, teaching the people and healing all manner of disease, Thomas heard His preaching and saw His miracles. Cleaving unto the Lord fervently, he followed Him, filling himself with the Lord's words and with the sight of His Most Holy Countenance. Thomas was chosen by Him to be numbered in the choir of the Twelve Apostles, with whom he followed Christ even until the time of the saving Passion.
After the Lord's Resurrection, the faith of the Church in Christ was increased through Saint Thomas' unbelief. When the other Apostles told him that they had seen the Lord, Thomas would not believe them until he himself had beheld and touched Christ's wounds. Eight days after the Resurrection, the disciples gathered together and Thomas was with them; and the Lord appeared and said, "Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust into My side: and be not faithless, but believing" (St. John, ch. 20).
When Thomas had beheld and touched the Life-Giving side of Christ, he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!"
Thus did Thomas confirm for all that the risen Lord was no specter and that He had not assumed another body, but that He arose and appeared to the Disciples in the same flesh which suffered for our salvation.
After the Ascension of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the holy Apostles cast lots to determine where each would preach the word of God. To Saint Thomas fell the lot to go to India, that he might enlighten that benighted land and teach its various peoples: the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and the Brahmans, who lived in the most distant parts of the country of India. He was grieved to be sent to such barbarous peoples, but the Lord appeared to him in a vision and strengthened him, commanding him not to fear. He promised to abide with Thomas and showed him the way to those lands.
While Thomas was enlightening the land of India with the preaching of the Gospel, the honorable Dormition (Koimisis) of the Mother of God came to pass. All the holy Apostles were caught up from various lands upon clouds and taken to Gethsemane where they were set down before the bier of the Most Blessed Virgin. At that time, the holy Apostle Thomas was also caught up upon a cloud from India, but he did not arrive by the hour when the body of the Most Pure Virgin, which had held God, was committed to burial. This was in accordance with God's providence, that the faithful might receive greater assurance that the Mother of God had been taken up into heaven in the flesh. Thus, as once the Resurrection of Christ was confirmed by St. Thomas' unbelief, do did St. Thomas' delay firmly establish the truth of the bodily ascent into heaven of the Most Pure Ever-Virgin Mary, the Theotokos. The holy Apostle arrived only on the third day after the burial and was grieved that he was not present at the burial itself, to escort the Holy Body of the Mother of his Lord to the grave. Therefore, by the common consent of the holy Apostles, the tomb of the Theotokos was opened, that Saint Thomas might behold and venerate the body that had held God and receive consolation in his sorrow. But when the tomb was opened, her body was not to be found; only her shroud remained. Thus it was made manifest that the Mother of God, like her Son, had arisen on the third day and been taken up into heaven in the flesh.
After this, Saint Thomas returned to the lands of India and preached Christ, converting many to the Faith by signs and wonders (miracles). He went to Mylapore, where he enlightened many, confirming them in the Christian Faith through the following miracle.
At a certain place, there lay an enormous log, which neither a multitude of men nor elephants were able to move. Thomas dragged this log with his belt a distance of more than a mile and had it used for the construction of a temple dedicated to the Lord. When the believers saw this, they were strengthened in the faith, and many unbelievers were converted.
The holy Apostle Thomas also worked a second miracle there, which was greater than the first. There was a certain pagan priest who slew his son with his own hand and then accused Saint Thomas of the crime, saying, "Thomas has slain my son!"
Thus a great number of people who had assembled there, seized Saint Thomas as a murderer, desiring that he be judged and subjected to torture. Since no one could be found to testify that Christ's Apostle was innocent of the murder, Thomas besought the judge and the people, saying, "Permit me to go and to ask the murdered boy himself to say who killed him"; and so they all went with I'm to the body of the priest's son.
Then Saint Thomas lifted up his eyes and prayed to God, and he said to the corpse, "In the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I command you, O youth: tell us who slew you!" Straightway the dead boy exclaimed, "it was my father who killed me!"
Then all cried out, "Great is the God Whom Thomas proclaims!" Thus the holy Apostle was set free, but the priest fell into the pit which he dug for St. Thomas. As a result of this miracle, a very great multitude of people were led to Christ and were baptized by the holy Apostle Thomas.
By the power of God, the holy Apostle Thomas worked a multitude of miracles in the country. He healed every infirmity; therefore, not only were many of the common people led unto Christ but those of the King's court as well. Azan, one of the sons of the king, saw the signs worked by the holy Apostle and heard his teaching, and he believed and was baptized by the Apostle. It was the Lord Himself Who worked through the Apostle's preaching, increasing His Church and magnifying the glory of His Name.
On returning from Migdonia, Queen Tertiana continued in prayer and fasting and did not submit to her husband's desires. The king marveled at the change which had come to pass in his spouse and said to his friend Karizius, "I had hoped to return your wife to you but instead have lost my own, who has come to act more strangely toward me than yours towards you!"
Then the king and Karizius made diligent inquiry to learn the cause of the change in their wives, who no longer wished to know them. It came to their knowledge that a certain foreigner named Thomas had taught them the Christian faith and had turned them away from consorting with them. Moreover, they learned that Azan, the king's son, and many of the servants and courtiers of the king's household, as well as a multitude of commoners without number, had come to believe in Christ through Thomas' preaching. They became incensed at Thomas and laid hold of him, casting him into prison.
The king order that heated plates of iron be brought and that the Apostle's bare feet be put upon them, but when this was done, water appeared beneath the plates and cooled them. Then Saint Thomas was cast into a fiery furnace, but the next day he emerged alive and unharmed. Finally the king delivered St. Thomas into the hands of five soldiers, commanding them to go up on a mountain and to run the Apostle through with their spears. Azan, the king's son, and a nobleman name Siphor hastened after the holy Apostle, and when they overtook him, they wept over him. Then St. Thomas asked the soldiers for time to pray, and when he had prayed to the Lord, he ordained Siphor priest and Azan a deacon, enjoining them to care for the faithful and to take care that the Church of Christ increase. After this, the soldiers ran him through with their five spears, and so he died.
Siphor and Azan wept much over the holy Apostle, and they reverently buried his sacred body. After they had buried him, as they sat mourning by the Apostle's grave, the saint appeared and commanded them to return to the city and to strengthen the brethren in the Faith, and with the help of the prayers of the holy Apostle Thomas, they guided the Church of Christ well as they had been instructed by their teacher.
The divine services will be conducted at the Saint Nektarios Chapel:
Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10: a.m.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--St. John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God