Malaysia Star, Malaysia
March 15 2008
Miracles on the Mount
A visit to St Thomas Cathedral would not be complete without a trip
to St Thomas Mount, 14km southwest of Chennai, in Saidapet.
This 91m high hill where St Thomas often retreated to pray is where
he was martyred. In 1523, the Portuguese built a church there called
the Church of Our Lady of Expectation.
Within this church is an oil painting of Mary, Mother of Jesus
Christ. This painting, which was taken to India by St Thomas, is said
to have been the work of St Luke, another Apostle of Jesus.
The church also houses a stone cross believed to have been made by St
Thomas himself. St Thomas is said to have been pierced by a lance
while kneeling and praying before this cross. He clutched the cross
as he lay dying. The cross still had bloodstains on it when
construction workers found it in 1558.
Church records show that the cross used to bleed miraculously during
prayer services, the last time being in 1704. Hence, it is also known
as the Bleeding Cross.
The Church of Our Lady of Expectation also holds ancient oil
paintings of St Thomas and the other Apostles, a carved pulpit, and
gifts from a rich Armenian merchant who constructed the bridge over
Adyar River in 1726, to link St Thomas Mount to Chennai.
In 1972, to commemorate the 19th centenary of St Thomas’s martyrdom,
the Department of Post and Telegraphs released a postage stamp
depicting the picture of the Bleeding Cross.
There is also a cave frequented by St Thomas on a hillock called
Little Mount, in the vicinity of St Thomas Mount. The Portuguese
built a church there in 1551, and behind it is the `Perpetual
Spring’. It is believed that the large crowd that turned up to hear
St Thomas preach became very thirsty and had no means of obtaining
So St Thomas knelt down to pray, then struck a rock with his stick.
Instantly, water gushed forth and quenched the thirst of the crowd.
This cave is accessible to the public through a large crevice in the
rock where he had struck it.