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San Thome Cathedral Basilica


San Thome Cathedral Basilica gets its name from St. Thomas. Christian tradition holds that St. Thomas arrived in Kerala from Israel in 52 A.D. preached between 52 A.D. and 72 A.D., when he was martyred on St. Thomas Mount. The basilica is built over the site where he was believed originally to be interred. It was built in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers, and rebuilt again with the status of a cathedral by the British in 1893. The British version still stands today. It was designed in the Neo-Gothic style, favored by British architects in the late 19th century. Rising 155 feet from the ground, with a nave of 112 feet by 33 feet, and an imposing sanctuary 62 feet long and 33 feet wide, it is adorned with stained glass windows depicting St. Thomas and the other Apostles. Inside the sanctuary is a statue of St. Thomas seated. An ancient painting of Our Blessed Mother, in front of which the other great apostle of India, St. Francis Xavier, used to pray, is a notable work of art within the Basilica. The new underground chapel with a separate access outside the church structure, allows pilgrims to pray at the tomb and tourists to visit it, without disturbing the sacred functions in the church. The museum exhibits artefacts connected with St. Thomas and the Basilica, and the theatre is used for screening a short video on the life of the Apostle.

 

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