San Thome Basilica

San Thome Basilica, a Gothic style architectural marvel, is the Basillica over the tomb of Saint Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ, at Mylapore, on the Marina Beach in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India.  The picture on the left side, where Saint Thomas is praying and his enemy with arrow behind him, is the spot where Saint Thomas’s tomb lies.. There are only 3 churches in the world over the tomb of Jesus Christ’s apostles. Other than San Thome Basilica, other 2 such Basilicas are the Basilica in Rome built over the tomb of St.Peter and the Cathedral in Spain built over the tomb of St. James.

Santhome church
Martyrdom scene of Apostle St.Thomas at underground tomb chapel.

Santhome Church at Chennai was declared as a national shrine and is a major pilgrimage center for Christians in India.

Saint Thomas is believed to have landed at Kodungallur in Kerala state, India in A.D 52.   After staying at Malayattoor Church area and some other places in Kerala, St. Thomas landed at Chennai.

Santhome cathedral Chennai has a museum on the ground floor at the back of  the church, above the tomb of Saint Thomas (you have to take the steps inside the museum to go down to visit the tomb, which might have gone underground due to sands accumulating at the shore over the years),  which has a good collection of ancient historical pieces related to saint Thomas era.

Saint Thomas was killed by enemies at Saint Thomas Mount. A shrine was built by the Portuguese dedicated to “Our Lady of Expectation” (Mother Mary) in the 15th Century on top of the hill.  Pope John Paul II addressed a massive gathering of people at  this site when he visited India in 1986, near the Kathipaarai Junction on the Mount Road in Guindy, Chennai, near to the Chennai international airport. 

How do I Go to Santhome Church?

Santhome Basilica is on the Marina Beach front at Mylapore in the heart of the city. You can go to San Thome Basilica by hiring a cab from any of the railway stations in Chennai or from the airport.

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