Thomas, the saint of doubters, is depicted in Caravaggio’s vivid painting at the moment of his belief of the resurrection of Christ as he inserted his finger into the wound on Christ’s side.Thomas was the first missionary for Christ in India where he served, was martyred, and buried in his adopted home. One guide told us that Southern India is 20 % Christian with a mix of Catholic and Protestant believers. St. Thomas’ church in Chennai is one of only three in the world where relics of the original disciples of Christ are under the alter. These churches are St. Thomas Mount, in Chennai, St. Peter’s in Rome, and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Chennai, is the current Indian name to the city that was Madras under the English. Some of you might remember the wonderful plaid cloth from the 60’s with the same name that bled when it was washed. This modern city has a prosperous atmosphere and is cleaner than most Indian city streets, a more organized plan, trash trucks , but of course the proverbial poverty here and there tucked in the shadows. There are many international business firms, high rise apartment buildings and prominent hotels. But of course there are rickshaws and buffaloes wandering through the streets , but fewer than we were used to. We visited the Chennai palace which is now a museum where we saw wonderful bronze statues including the very famous Shiva’s Cosmic Dance. Shiva is the creator god and this is the mythology of the creation of the beginning of the cosmos.
Do you have a favorite painter? Have you been to the south of India? Chennai?