St. Thomas Cathedral Basilica

San Thome Church & National Shrine of St. Thomas


San Thome Church is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in the Santhome neighbourhood of Chennai, India. This church is one of the three known churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus that are still standing today, the other two being St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. In antiquity, there was a basilica built over the tomb of the Apostle Philip in Hierapolis of Phrygia, near modern day Pamukkale. The church houses the bones of St Thomas, the spearhead used to kill him, and the relics of St Francis Xavier and St Bartholomew the Apostle.

Consecrated, 72 BCE

Saint Thomas the Apostle died in St. Thomas Mount and buried in Mylapore, over which the first tomb was raised.

Constructed, 1523

Portuguese missionaries arrived to Mylapore, and constructed the church funded by John III.

Rebuilt, 1606

This church was raised to cathedral by Pope Paul V, who created the Diocese of Saint Thomas of Mylapore.

Restored, 1893

Later this church was rebuilt with a status of cathedral in 1896 by British in late 19th century style as Gothic Revival architecture. The exact place where St. Thomas was buried is marked by the second small tower in the center of the cathedral.

Renovation, 2004

The church was extended as National Shrine in 2004 by Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and architecturally restored.

1291-John of Montecorvino visited the tomb in Mylapore.
1292-Marco Polo visited the tomb.
1545-Saint Francis Xavier visited Santhome Church.

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