Santhome basilica church - Reviews From Travellers


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Nithin Mathew

Nithin Mathew


Santhome Cathedral or St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica was built in the 16th century Portugese explorers. The church was rebuilt in 1893 by the British in neo-gothic style and the British version still stands today.

The church is the resting place of apostle Saint Thomas, infact the church was built on top of the tomb of the apostle. Santhome Cathedral is one of the only three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus, the other two being St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City (Saint Peter) and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain(Saint James).

According to legend, St Thomas arrived at Muziris in present-day Kerala state in India from the Roman province of Judea in 52 AD. After spending 10 years on the Malabar coast in Kerala, he is said to have travelled Eastwards across the Deccan Plateau, arriving in Mylapore in Tamil Nadu in 68 AD and subsequently said to be killed in 72 AD by a lance which pierced through his back on St. Thomas mount few kilometers from the church. A church atop St. Thomas mount was built by Portuguese in 1547 to mark the spot. His mortal remains were believed to be buried in the location over which the present day Santhome Cathedral stands.

The church itself is super impressive but needs a bit of retouch in the insides as the walls and the wood needs a little more polishing. There is a small glasswindow in the floor of the church through which you can look directly to the top of the tomb of the saint. You can also go right near to the tomb through one of the smaller buildings in the church complex where a museum also functions. There are so many relics of the apostole in the church. Inside the small church hall beneath the larger one lies the tomb and that too right in the altar. The priest conducts the ceremonies on a table that stands on top of the tomb. To be honest, I was expecting a different picture of the tomb, somehow it looked too artificial.

And also, photography is not allowed inside the church containing the tomb and inside the museum.

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Santhome basilica church

Santhome basilica church

Marina Beach Road, Marina Beach, Triplicane, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600005, India

It is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in the Santhome city of Chennai which was built in16 th century by Portuguese explorers.