4 Continuation .....................
II.—The Apostle's Martyrdom Upheld
Tillemont, in his remarks on the Apostle’s history, makes a reference to Heracleon’s statement that Thomas did not suffer a martyr’s death, only to reject it. He points out that Theodoret numbers him among the martyrs, and observes that this passage can hardly be applied to any other but the Apostle. The passage occurs in the work entitled ‘Graecorum Affectionum Curatio’ (Migne, P. Gr.-L., vol. Ixxxiii., of Theodoret’s works, vol.iv., Sermo viii. de Martyribus): Pro aliis festis vestris [videlicet gentilium] Petri et Pauli et Thomae et Sergii et Marcelli et Leontii et Panteleemonis et Antonini et Mauricii aliorumque martyrum solemnitates peraguntur.66 He opposes the Christian festivals in honour of the martyrs to those kept by the pagans in honour of their divinities in Syria. The name of Thomas occurring after those of Peter and Paul cannot but be that of the Apostle Thomas, there being besides no prominent martyr of that name; and if a reason be sought why Thomas is named in preference to any other Apostle, it will occur that it arose from the circumstance that in the country, and around, where Theodoret resided, no martyr was held in greater honour, or no festival was celebrated with greater pomp and affluence of people, than that of Thomas in the chief town of the neighbourhood, Edessa.
Tillemont also makes mention of St. Gaudentius, who expressly states that the Apostle was killed by infidels; the quotation was given in Chapter II. p.45.
There is also the evidence of St. Asterius, Metropolitan of Amasia in Pontus, who died at the end of the fifth century, 499 (Migne, P. Gr.-L., tom.xl.col.326—In praise of the Martyrs): ‘Consider how many you slight by one wrong: John the Baptist, James, named the brother of the Lord, Peter, Paul, Thomas. These I call leaders of Martyrs.’ St. Nilus of Constantinople, who died in 430, is equally clear on the subject; he retired from the court with his son Theodulus to the monastery of Mount Sinai (apud Photium in Bibliotheca, Codex 276, homil. secunda—De Christi Ascensione): ‘Stephen, like a branch, is lopped off from the Church, and another palm fruitful of martyrs springs up. James and Peter are cut off; another martyr arises, and when he is struck off, another fruitful palm sprouts. The vintage removes Paul, and, another shoot maturing, Thomas appears,’ &c.
There have not been wanting, however, writers of modern date67 who do not hesitate to put forth this old fable, first prompted by Valentinian envy at the glory derived by the Church from the number of her martyrs, to rob the Apostle Thomas and others of the glory of having attested the truth of their preachings by the seal of martyrdom. Heracleon’s passage referred to occurs in Clement of Alexandria’s Stromat., lib.iv.cap.ix.: ‘For not all that were saved made the confession in words [before tribunals and magistrates] and so died [by suffering martyrdom]; of this number were Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Levi,68 and many others.’ Dr. Murdock comments that Clement allows the statement to pass unchallenged; this he takes as a proof that he had nothing to allege against it. Heracleon denies the martyrdom not of one but of several of the Twelve Apostles; and it is not a little surprising that, in the light of present-day ecclesiastical literature, writers are found to appeal to such an authority in opposition to the common belief of Christendom. The first question to be asked is, Does Clement’s silence imply his avowal of the truth of Heracleon’s assertion? Those who have had occasion to study this work of Clement cannot but be aware how great is the difficulty of ascertaining what the writer accepts and what he merely adduces by way of erudition and a show of general knowledge. Let us turn to the author himself and see if he offers a key to the solution of this difficulty. There are certain passages in which he explains his method of treating the subjects he brings forward. In one place he says (Stromat., lib.vii.cap.xviii.; Migne., P.Gr.-L., tom.ix.col.556): ‘The Stromates may not be compared to a cared-for garden, planted on symmetrical lines to please the eye, but rather to a mountain all covered with (wild) trees of cypress, plane, laurel with (creeping) ivy, as well as with apple, olive, and fig trees in such manner that of set purpose the fruit-bearing and the wild trees are intermixed.’ And again, ‘The Stromates thus disregard connection, and style, as the pagans themselves renounce all flower of language and sow their dogmas secretly and without method, wishing the reader to take pains and endeavour to detect them.’ And once more (lib.vi.cap.i.): ‘The flowers on the lawn and the fruit-bearing trees in the orchards are not ranged separately according to species, &c.; so in like manner all the different thoughts that have passed in our mind—without any effort of style and order but of set purpose—are jotted down pell-mell, and like unto a variegated meadow our varied work of the Stromates has been composed.’69 After this open avowal by the author that he has purposely jotted down indiscriminately ideas of all sorts that have floated through his mind, it would seem useless to inquire why Clement did not correct the Valentinian’s assertion if he disapproved of it.
Additional evidence for the Apostle’s martyrdom was given in Chapter II., and will be found elsewhere.
III.—Different Versions of the Martyrdom
It will be part of our task to set forth successively the different versions of the Martyrdom.
The Acts of Thomas:—
The Syriac text, Wright’s translation, p.293 f.: On the King having decided on the Apostle’s death, he hesitated as to what orders he should issue, ‘because he was afraid of the great multitude that was there present, and because many believed in the Lord even of the King’s nobles.’ The King therefore decided on taking Thomas away from the crowd. He made him accompany him under a guard to a distance of about half a mile beyond the town, and then said to them, ‘Go up on the mountain and stab him.’ On their reaching the top of the hill Thomas asked to be allowed to pray, and having done so, he bid the soldiers execute the order they had received: ‘the soldiers then came and struck him all together.’70
The Greek version reads: ‘He handed him to four soldiers in command of an officer, ordering them to take him up on the mountain and there to pierce him with their lances, and then return to town, &c. Having ascended the mount and reaching the spot of execution, Uzanes persuaded the soldiers to allow him to pray, and having prayed, (he said), Arise, complete the orders of him who sent you—the four coming forward pierced him with their lances, and falling he died,’ &c.
The Latin De Miraculis has the same story, and mentions that he was put to death by the lance. The Latin Passio alters the account entirely. In this version the death of the Apostle occurs at a much earlier period. When at the Apostle’s prayer and bidding the idol in the temple was destroyed (see Critical Analysis, &c., No.32), ‘The priest of the temple, raising a sword, transfixed the Apostle, saying, I will avenge the insult to my God.’
Liturgical Books and Martyrologies:—
The old Nestorian Calendar (quoted Chap.II.p.23) says [Thomas] ‘was pierced by a lance in India.’
The Jacobite Breviary: ‘Pierced by a lance he gained a martyr’s crown.’
The Nestorian Breviary: ‘who for the faith was by a lance pierced.’
The other entries omit to state how the Apostle was put to death.
The Latin Church:—
No entry of detail of death is found earlier than Florus’ addition to St.Bede’s Martyrology, of the year 830: ‘Pierced by a lance he died.’
The Greek Church:—
Synaxaris (Bolland. SS., see Chap.II.p.66, second quotation): ‘Was killed, pierced by lances.’
The Menologium of the Emperor Basil, ninth century (ut supr.): ‘Pierced by a lance he was killed.’
Local version of the martyrdom prevailing on the Coromandel coast, Mylapore: 71—
Different reports of this tradition have come down to us. The earliest is recorded by Marco Polo, and that of Bishop John de’ Marignolli comes next. We reproduce them from Yule’s Marco Polo, 2nd ed., and his Cathay and the Way Thither. Marco Polo (ut supr., vol.ii.p.340): ‘Now I will tell you the manner in which the Christian brethren who keep the church relate the story of the Saint’s death. They tell the Saint was in the wood outside his hermitage saying his prayers, and round about him were many peacocks, for these are more plentiful in that country than anywhere else. And one of the idolaters of that country being of the lineage of those called Govi that I told you of, having gone with his bow and arrows to shoot peafowl, not seeing the Saint, let fly an arrow at one of the peacocks; and this arrow struck the holy man on the right side, insomuch that he died of the wound, sweetly addressing himself to his creator. Before he came to that place where he thus died, he had been in Nubia, where he converted much people to the faith of Jesus Christ.’
Marignolli’s account (Cathay, vol.ii.p.374 f.): ‘The third province of India is called Maabar, and the church of Saint Thomas which he built with his own hands is there, besides another which he built by the agency of workmen. These he paid with certain great stones which I have seen there and with a log cut down at Adam’s Mount in Seyllan, which he caused to be sawn up, and from the sawdust other trees were sown. Now that log, huge as it was, was cut down by two slaves of his and drawn to the seaside by the Saint’s own girdle. When the log reached the sea he said to it, "Go now and tarry for us in the haven of the city of Mirapolis." It arrived there accordingly, whereupon the King of that place with his whole army endeavoured to draw it ashore, but ten thousand men were not able to make it stir. Then Saint Thomas the Apostle himself came on the ground, riding on an ass, wearing a shirt, a stole, a mantle of peacock feathers, and attended by two great lions, just as he is painted, and called out, " Touch not the log, for it is mine." "How," quoth the King, "dost thou make it out to be thine?" So the Apostle, loosing the cord wherewith he was girt, ordered his slaves to tie to the log and draw it ashore. And this being accomplished with the greatest ease, the King was converted, and bestowed upon the Saint as much land as he could ride round upon his ass. So during the daytime he used to go on building his churches in the city, but at night he retired at a distance of three Italian miles, where there were numberless peacocks... and thus being shot in the side with an arrow, such as is called freccia (so that his wound was like that in the side of Christ into which he had thrust his hand), he lay there before his oratory from the hour of complins, continuing throughout the night to preach, whilst all his blessed blood was welling from his side; and in the morning he gave up his soul to God. The priests gathered up the earth with which his blood had mingled and buried it with him.’
Both these early travellers, as well as Barbosa, were told substantially the same tale concerning the Apostle’s death.
We will add a further recital given by Linschoten72: ‘They say that when S.Thomas had long preached in the Kingdom of Narsinga, and but little profitted, because the Bramenes, which are the ministers of the Pagodes, their false and devilish idols, sought all means to hinder him. S.Thomas desired the King to grant him a place where to build a chappell, wherein he might pray and instruct the people, which was denied him, by the means of the Bramenes and other Enchaunters, wherein they put their trust: but it pleased God (as they say) that a great tree or péece of wood fell into the mouth of the haven of the towne of Meliapor, whereby neyther shippe nor boate could pass out, nor come in, to the King’s great hinderance, and the losse of the daylie trafique to the towne: whereupon the King assembled to the number of three hundreth Elephantes, to draw the tree or péece of wood by force out, but all in vaine, for he could not do it: which he perceiving, neither yet that all his Bramenes and Southsayers could give him counsell, he promised great and large rewards to him that could devise any meanes for the helping thereof; whereupon the Apostle S.Thomas went unto the King and told him that he alone (if it pleased him) could pull it forth, desiring no other reward for his paynes, but only the same péece of wood to make him a chappell or house to pray in: which the King granted, although both he and his Bramenes esteemed it for a jest, and laughed thereat: wherewith S. Thomas took his girdell, and binding about the péece of wood, without any payne drew it out of the river upon the land, to the great wonder of all beholders, specially of the King, that presentlie gave him leave to make his chappell of the same péece of wood: through which miracle divers of them received Baptisme, and became Christians, whereby the Bramenes fell into much lesse estimation with the common people, in authoritie: so that they were great enemies to S.Thomas, and by all meanes sought to bring him to his death, which in the end they performed, having thereunto persuaded some of the people, which thrust him into the backe béeing on his knées in the same chappell praying: which History as yet is found painted and set in manie places and churches of India for a memorie.’
When the writer visited Mylapore for the first time, he likewise was told the story of the peacock, and that the incident had happened at the Little Mount, where he then was, as also that the Apostle fled or was carried to the Great Mount, where he died. Yet this narrative did not conceal the impression that the people who were recounting the event held that the Apostle Thomas was killed for the faith. He would premise, from the long experience he has had in Malabar, that the inner characteristics of the Southern Indian are nowhere more prominent and more clearly marked now than in Malabar, and are more observable there than they are in the presentday dwellers of the eastern coast, where a greater and more constant contact with foreign races and manners has largely helped to round off, if not efface, such peculiarities. It should at the same time be clearly borne in mind that the inhabitants of both the southern coasts are of the same race, and, even in times not so very ancient, used the same language and the same writing on the western coast as on the eastern, even down to the days of our early missionaries; the inscriptions that have survived in Malabar, and the early books printed, were produced in no other than the ancient form of Tamil letters. The writer, then, clearly realised that those at Mylapore did not intend to deny the martyrdom; but under the plausible veil of the accidental flight of an arrow having for its object not the peacock but the person of the Apostle, he understood, they meant to avert by this device the slur, the shame, and the dishonour that would fall on their town and people did they openly avow to the stranger that the Apostle had been done to death by their forefathers. This view of the Mylapore legend may appear singular and fantastic to those not thoroughly acquainted with native character, thought, and ways in Southern India, but the writer has had more than one instance to convince him of the truth of the observation he here mentions. In fact, it is nothing more nor less than an application of the principle of ‘Saving-Face,’ of which more than one instance has of late been offered by China in her intercourse with Western nations.
There are, besides, interesting variations and details in these narratives worth a closer inspection. In the first narrative, that of Marco Polo, we have: ‘I will now tell you the manner in which the Christian brethren who keep the church relate the story of the Saint’s death’; but if we go back to what preceded this narrative, i.e. the section quoted in a preceding chapter, we have what appears to be a different view of the case: ‘The Christians who go thither in pilgrimage take of the earth from the place where the Saint was killed, and give a portion thereof to any one who is sick of a quartan or tertian fever,’ &c. Marignolli says the same: ‘When this earth is taken as a potion it cures diseases, and in this manner open miracles are wrought both among Christians and Tartars and Pagans.’ Now, this Christian practice applies to tombs of martyrs, and was not certainly in the early ages extended to the tombs of holy persons who had not died for the faith; the practice, in other words, attests the Apostle’s martyrdom. Ruinart (Acta Sincera Martyr. in passione SS. Epiodii et Alexandri) writes: Eorum sacra corpora tempore Gregorii Turonensis in crypta sancti Joannis sub altari cum beati Irenaei reliquiis collocata erant, de quorum monumentis, ut ait ille [S. Gregor. Turon.] ‘de Gloria Martyrum,’ cap. 50, si pulverem cum fide colligitur extemplo medetur infirmis. St. Gregory Nyssen (Migne, P. Gr.-L., tom. xlvi.; Oper., tom.iii., col.739), Sermo in laudem Sancti et magni martyris Theodori, says: Si quis etiam pulverem quo conditorium, ubi martyris corpus quiescit, obsitum est, auferre permittat, pro munere pulvis accipitur et tanquam res magni pretii condenda terra colligitur.
It may be interesting to note that this St. Theodore—whose feast is kept on the 9th of November, and who was greatly venerated in the early ages, having churches erected in his honour in different countries, one even in the Forum at Rome—though bearing a Greek name, was by no means a Greek. The homily of Gregory quoted above gives a full account of his martyrdom and of the festival kept at the church which enclosed his sacred remains; it had also mural paintings and pavement decorations illustrating his martyrdom and glorious triumph for the faith. The following details are given: he enrolled himself in one of the Roman legions, and suffered martyrdom as a Christian soldier at Amasia, the metropolis of Pontus, a.d.306. As to the country of his birth, this is what Gregory reports: Patria praeclara et strenuo huic viro est ea regio quae ad solem spectat orientem, nam etiam hic, sicut job, ex partibus orientalibus nobilis est. The name Theodore, God’s gift, has its corresponding term in other languages as well, like Deusdedit and Deodatus in Latin, so also there is a Syriac equivalent, Jaballah. Theodore would appear to belong to the land beyond the Roman border, and may have been an Assyrian: he must certainly have been a Christian before his enlistment in the pagan legion of the empire.
But to return to our subject. While the two first narratives give internal evidence of the Apostle’s martyrdom, the third version of the story is explicit on the subject: ‘The Bramenes were great enemies to S. Thomas, and by all meanes sought to bring him to death, which in the end they performed, having thereunto persuaded some of the people which thrust him into the backe, béeing on his knées in the same chappell praying—which history as yet is found painted and set in manie places and churches of India for a memorie,’ &c. So the ‘Saving-Face’ story narrated at Mylapore does not deny the martyrdom, and the paintings referred to support it.
The Portuguese on arriving in India, unaware of the historical data adduced above regarding the remains of the Apostle, were wrong in supposing that the tomb at Mylapore yet held them.73 This, however, would not imply that a minute search, by screening the earth, would not yet yield minor fragments of bone or other relics. The hasty and furtive manner in which the Bones must have been removed by the merchant Khabin would yet leave lesser relics in the tomb; and, in fact, the Relic held at the Cathedral of San Thomé consists of the fragment of a rib and of the extreme point of a lance, as were shown and declared to the writer by the former Bishop of San Thomé, the Right Rev.Henrique José Reed Da Silva, since retired.
IV.—Traditions Regarding the Apostle
The West Coast or Malabar Traditions.—The tradition universally accepted by the Saint Thomas Christians of this coast attest the following points:74 (1) that the Apostle Saint Thomas landed on the Malabar coast at Kodangulur (Cranganore); (2) that seven churches, or, more correctly, centres of Christianity assigned to that early period of evangelisation, were established; of these Palur, Kodangulur, and Parur, were in the north, while the others lay to the south; some of these centres exist no longer, such as Cranganore, destroyed by the Dutch; (3) that the Apostle passed from Malabar to the Coromandel coast, where he suffered martyrdom; (4) that at some subsequent period a violent persecution raged against the Christians on the Coromandel coast, compelling many of them to take refuge among their brethren on the western coast, where they settled down; the Christianity on the Coromandel coast would thus appear to have been destroyed.
The writer feels bound to lay strong emphasis on this tradition in support of the claim of Mylapore to hold the tomb of the Apostle. He is thoroughly convinced—even quite apart from all the evidence adduced in the preceding pages—that if the claim of Mylapore to be the place of the martyrdom and of the burial of the Apostle was not based on undeniable fact, the Christians of Malabar would never have acknowledged their neighbours’ claim to hold the tomb of the Apostle, neither would they ever be induced to frequent it by way of pilgrimage. Had this been a case of a fictitious claim put forth to secure public notoriety and importance, they would as probably have, anyway, set up one for themselves, and would have certainly ignored the claim of the former.75
The tradition that the Apostle landed on the Malabar coast, coming by sea, is indirectly confirmed by what St. Francis Xavier found to be the belief existing among the Christians of the island of Socotra at the time of his visit, viz. that they were the descendants of the converts made by the Apostle Thomas (see below).
The earliest mention of the existence of Christians on that island is that by Philostorgius, the Arian Church historian, in his narrative of the mission of Bishop Theophilus to the Homeritae; the reader will find the details, belonging to the year c. 354, given in Chapter V., Section iii.
Cosmas Indicopleustes, before the middle of the sixth century (Topographia Christiana, Migne, P.Gr.-L., tom. lxxxviii. col. 170), says: ‘Similarly on the island named of Dioscoris [the Greek name for Socotra], situated in the same Indian Ocean, whose inhabitants speak Greek, and are a colony placed there by the Ptolemies, the successors of Alexander of Macedon, there are clergy ordained in Persia and sent there, and a multitude of Christians.’
The Arab travellers of the ninth century, whose narrative was published by Reinaud, with Arabic text and a translation in French, in two small volumes, Paris, 1845, mention Christians on the island (vol.i.p.130): ‘The same sea holds the island of Socotra.... The greater part of the inhabitants are Christians.’
Abulfeda (Reinaud’s Géographie d’ Aboulféda, Paris, 1848, vol.ii.pt.ii.p.128): L’ile de Socotora a quatrevingts parasanges de longueur. Ses habitants sont des chrétiens nestoriens.
Marco Polo, a.d. 1294, also mentions these Christian inhabitants (vol. ii., ut supr., pp. 398-399): ‘ Further towards the south you come to an island called Socotra. The people are all baptized Christians, and they have an Archbishop.’ And again: ‘Their Archbishop has nothing to do with the Pope of Rome, but is subject to the great Archbishop who lives at Bandas [ Bagdad]. He rules over the bishop of that island, and over many other bishops in those regions of the world, just as our pope does in these.’
Assemani (Bibl. Or., tom. ii.p. 458 ff.) gives two lists of the sees under the Nestorian Catholicus or Patriarch. In the second, which is that by Elias, a Nestorian Bishop of Damascus, the see of Socotra is placed under the Metropolitan of Persia, and this appears to be the older of the two lists; while in the first list, that given by Amr’, son of Matthew, of about a.d. 1349 (Bibl. Or.., tom.ii. p. 425), Socotra is placed as the eleventh Metropolitan see under the name of Katraba. No date can be assigned to the authorship of the first list. Lequien (Oriens Christiana, tom. ii. col. 1290) mentions the transfer of one Elias from the see of Jerusalem to the Nestorian Metropolitan see of Damascus in the year 893, but concludes: Plane Eliam, tabulae et nomocanonis auctorem, illo de quo nunc est sermo recentiorem duxero.76
Nicolò Conti, c. 1435, visited Socotra and spent two months there (R.H. Major’s India in the Fifteenth Century, London, Hakluyt Society, 1857, p. 20 of narrative): ‘ this island produces Socotrine aloes, is six hundred miles in circumference, and is, for the most part, inhabited by Nestorian Christians.’
The evidence of the local tradition mentioned before is contained in St. Francis Xavier’s letter written from Goa, 18th September 1542, to the Society at Rome (Coleridge’s life and letters of St. Francis Xavier, London, 1872, vol. i. p. 117). As the saint gives the last full account of the state of Christianity on the island before its entire disappearance, we make no apology for reproducing it in full:—
‘ After sailing from Melinda we touched at Socotra, an island about a hundred miles in circumference. It is a wild country with no produce, no corn, no rice, no millet, no wine, no fruit trees; in short, altogether sterile and arid, except that it has plenty of dates, out of which they make bread, and also abounds in cattle. The island is exposed to great heat from the sun; the people are Christian in name rather than in reality, wonderfully ignorant and rude: they cannot read or write. They have consequently no records of any kind. Still they pride themselves on being Christians. They have churches, crosses, and lamps. Each village has its Caciz [ Syriac term for priest; correctly Kâshisha], who answer to the Parish Priest. These Caciz know no more of reading or writing than the rest; they have not even any books, and only know a few prayers by heart. They go to their churches four times a day—at midnight, at day-break, in the afternoon, and in the evening. They use no bells; but wooden rattles, such as we use during holy week, to call the people together. Not even the Caciz themselves understand the prayers which they recite; which are in a foreign language (I think Chaldean). They render special honours to the Apostle St. Thomas, claiming to be descendants of the Christians begotten to Jesus Christ by that Apostle in these countries. In the prayers I have mentioned they often repeat a word which is like our Alleluia. The Caciz never baptize any one, nor do they know the least what baptism is. Whilst I was there I baptized a number of children, with the utmost good will of the parents. Most of them showed great eagerness to bring their children to me, and made such liberal offerings out of their poverty of what they had to give, that I have been afraid to refuse the dates which they pressed upon me with such great good will. They also begged me over and over again to remain with them, promising that every single person in the island would be baptized. So i begged the Governor to let me remain where I found a harvest so ripe and ready to be gathered in. But as the island has no Portuguese garrison, and it is exposed to the ravages of the Mussulmans, the Governor would not hear of leaving me, fearing that I might be carried off as a slave. So he told me that I should soon be among other Christians who were not less, perhaps more, in need than the Socotrians of instruction and spiritual assistance, and amongst whom my work would be better spent.
‘One day I went to Vespers as recited by the Caciz; they lasted an hour. There was no end to their repetitions of prayers and incensations; the churches are always full of incense. Though their Caciz have wives, they are extremely strict in regard to abstinence and fasting. When they fast they abstain not only from flesh meat and milk, but from fish also, of which they have a great supply. So strict is their rule that they would rather die than taste anything of the kind. They eat nothing but vegetables and palm dates. They have two Lents, during which they fast; one of these lasts two months. If any one is profane enough to eat meat during that time, he is not allowed to enter the church.
‘In the village there was a Mussulman woman, the mother of two young children. Not knowing that their father was Mussulman, I was going to give them baptism, when they ran off, all of a sudden, to their mother to complain that I was trying to baptize them. The mother came to say that she would never let me baptize her children. She was a Mahommedan, and would never have her children made Christians. Upon this the people of Socotra began to cry out that the Mussulmans were unworthy of so great a blessing; that they would not let them be baptized however much they desired it, and that they would never permit any Mussulman to become a Christian. Such is their hatred of Mussulmans.’
The customs described as prevailing among the Christians of the island are those peculiar to Nestorian Christians.
The Carmelite Friar Vincenzo Maria di Santa Catarina (Viaggio alle Indie Orientali, Venezia, 1683, lib. v. cap. ix.p.472), describing the state of the island on his voyage home about the middle of the seventeenth century, found Christianity quite extinct, with but some faint traces of Christian names yet lingering.
The Apostle Thomas, prior to his going to Socotra, is said to have traversed the Ethiopia of old, preaching the faith through the country known subsequently as Nubia. That he had preached to the Kushites (the Semitic name for Ethiopians) more than one testimony has been adduced in Chapter II. from the Liturgical Books of the Syrian Church. Marco Polo mentions also the tradition in the quotation given above (p.213), and says that mission preceded his to India—so he had learnt from the Christians on the Coromandel coast. An echo of this tradition is also found in Sermo in Sanctos xii. Apostolos (tom.viii.p.11, Oper. S. Joan. Chrysost., Parisiis, 1728), wrongly attributed to this Doctor: ‘On one side Peter instructs Rome; on another, Paul announces the Gospel to the world; Andrew chastens the learned of Greece; Simon conveys the knowledge of God to the barbarians; Thomas cleanses the Ethiopians by baptism; Judea honours the chair of James,’ &c.77
There appears to be a fixed idea in the minds of some in connection with the preachings of the Apostles, that after their dispersion to carry out the mandate given them by their Divine Master, they remained permanently in that country and its vicinity, to which each had mutually agreed to go, and that practically they visited no other locality. Such an opinion is based on no authority, but is the mere outcome of a self-formed conception of things untested by such evidence as we have bearing on the subject. The mandate itself was to go forth and preach unto all nations, Matt.xxviii. 19, Going, teach ye all nations; Mark xvi.15, Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel; Luke xxiv. 47, Penance and the remission of sins should be preached in His name unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem; Acts i.8, You shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.
This implied that after His ascension they should tarry in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem for some considerable time to fulfil the mission entrusted to them ‘ beginning at Jerusalem,’ viz. ‘to Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria,’ before their dispersion. This will be found confirmed also by Peter, when Acts x. 42 is read with its context. If we test history as has come down to us regarding the separate preachings of the Apostles, the fact that they were not tied down to any one country or nation will appear evident. They were the sowers of the Gospel seed, and the Master who had prepared the ground to receive that seed sent them to sow it broadcast all over the world. They were the heralds of the new Gospel, which it was incumbent on them to announce to every living being. Thus, of Peter we know that besides being specially the Apostle of the Circumcision, he practically traversed all Western Asia from Palestine to the Black Sea, and from Antioch of Syria to Pontus. His first letter, written from Rome, which he styles Babylon because of its depravity and corruption, was addressed to his first converts residing in ‘Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,’ geographically comprising the whole area above mentioned. Certain passages of the letter indicate clearly that these primitive Christian converts had already commenced to experience the hardships of persecution, and that in its cruellest form, torture by fire, it should be noted that the whole of that section of country was under Roman sway, for he openly mentions (chap. iv. 1-5, 12-16) ‘sufferings in the flesh’ which some had already endured, and warns them that they must ‘not think it strange’ if they were to be ‘tried by burning heat’; this implies that fire was already resorted to, to add the acuteness of anguish to the Christian’s sufferings for his faith. It should also be kept in mind that a large portion of this section of Asia likewise formed the special field of the Apostle Paul’s labours as described in the Acts.
After this extensive course of apostolic preachings, Peter went to Italy and fixed his seat at Rome, yet so as to make excursions into other fields as well.78
John again, who had been somewhat tied down to Ephesus because of the charge of the Blessed Virgin entrusted to him by our Lord, after the demise of the Blessed Mother of God, is known to have travelled to Italy and to have gone to Rome, where both Peter and Paul had taken up the government of that Church, and there, at the ‘Porta Latina,’ became a confessor of the faith by undergoing the ordeal of being plunged into a caldron of boiling oil.79 As these had done, so other Apostles, Thomas among them, must have acted.
It should therefore not appear surprising if ancient tradition reports Thomas to have preached to many nations. Barhebraeus (Chron.Eccl., iii.4-6) records the tradition of the East: ‘He evangelised many peoples, the Parthians, Medes, persians, Carabeans [read Karmanians], Bactrians, Margians, and Indians’. Sophronius the Greek (apud Hieron. De viris illustr., Appendix v.) has the following: ‘The Apostle Thomas, as has been handed down to us, preached the gospel of the Lord to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, Magians (or Margians).’
St. John Chrysostom has the following significant passage (Hom. 62, alias 61, Oper., ed. Montfaucon, Parisiis, 1728, tom. viii. p. 370): ‘They (the Apostles) all feared the attack of the jews, most of all Thomas; hence he said, Let us go and die with him. Some say he wished to die, but it is not so, for he rather spoke through fear. But he was not rebuked; his weakness was yet tolerated. Eventually he certainly became the most adventurous and irrepressible. It is, indeed, wonderful, that he who before the crucifixion was feeble, after the cross and faith in the resurrection, should be the most fervent of all. So great is the power of Christ! He who was afraid to go to Bethania with Christ, he, deprived of the presence of Christ, travelled almost the whole inhabited world -outoz tòn criston ouc orvn okedòn thn oikonmenhn diedrame [lit. he, not seeing Christ, almost all the inhabited world traversed]; was in the midst of the most bloodthirsty races, who sought to take his life,’ &c. This implies that this Doctor of the Church was fully cognisant that, according to the tradition handed down, Thomas was the most travelled of all the Apostles; this the quotations adduced specify in detail, and they should go a long way to uphold the traditional record that has come down to us.
While these sheets were passing through the press an additional piece of traditional evidence, anterior to any quoted above, comes to hand furnished by the Gospel of the XII. Apostles, recovered from different Coptic papyrus and other texts. This apocryphal Gospel cannot be placed among those St. Luke had in view when he wrote: ‘Many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration of the things which have been accomplished amongst us’ (luke i.i), for it makes free use of the texts of the four canonical Gospels, leaning chiefly on that of John, and also refers to the Apocalypse, in its rendering of the history of the last three years of Jesus. It was thus of a later date; the chief narrator of events is a pseudo-Gamaliel. Though no precise date can yet be fixed for this compilation, not unknown to early Christian writers, it will probably not be later than the second century. Our quotation from the text is taken from M. Eugène Revillout’s paper (Revue Biblique, 1904, April and July numbers, p. 324). The second fragment of the text contains a special blessing bestowed on Peter, and subsequently on each of the other Apostles. As the full text has not yet appeared, we avail ourselves of what the writer has reproduced in the article. After giving textually the words of the blessing bestowed on Peter, he says : Après il donne une bénédiction spéciale à chacun des apôtres. Notons seulement que, pour saint Thomas qui doutait toujours, il est annoncé que sa foi serait désormais un aigle de lumière qui volerait dans tous les pays jusqu’à ce qu’ils croient en leur Sauveur, &c. The text contains many extra-canonical statements; and what is produced here is a post-factum statement, embodied in the words of the blessing, of what Thomas was to have done as an apostle, viz: ‘To the doubting Thomas it was said that his faith would henceforth be an eagle of light that would fly to all countries until the peoples would believe in their Saviour.’ This would not have been written of Thomas unless tradition had already reported that he had visited nearly ‘the whole inhabited world’ in the course of his apostolic career. The passage, in other words, reflects a much earlier tradition of fact, of which Chrysostom has left the written record which has been quoted above.
We will now sum up the traditional record of the Apostle Thomas : (1) He would have preached through the whole of that tract of country lying south of the Caspian Sea—the ‘Mare Hyrcanum’ of his days—east of the mountain range of Armenia and of the Tigris, down to Karmania in Southern Persia. (2) It would be during this first apostolic tour that he came in contact with the north-western corner of India at Gondophares’ court. (3) After the demise of the blessed Virgin Mary, when, according to ecclesiastical tradition, the second dispersion of the Apostles took place,80 Thomas commenced his second apostolic tour. Probably from Palestine he travelled into Northern Africa, and thence, preaching through Ethiopia, he passed on to Socotra, where he must have stayed some time to establish the faith. Going thence, he would have landed on the west coast of India. It is not necessary to hold that he first landed at Cranganore; he may have landed previously anywhere to the north of the present Mangalore, if it so pleased him. But, in any such case, the fluvial configuration of the land between Mangalore and Calicut would, in all probability, have rendered travelling by land along that coast impracticable at that age, and would have compelled his taking to sea again to make a landing farther down the coast. At any rate, as in those days Kodangulur—the MwziriV emporión—of the Greek and Roman geographers, was the principal port of the coast, it would be precisely there that he would land—and this is what the traditions existing in Malabar demand. (4) From Malabar the Apostle would find no difficulty in crossing over to the Coromandel coast. He might easily travel by any one of the several passes across the Ghauts known and regularly used by the natives in ancient times for intercourse between both coasts, as being the shorter and the less dangerous route for such communication. (5) It would be on the Coromandel coast that he ended his apostolic labours. This is upheld by the joint traditions of the Christians of the Coromandel and the Malabar coasts.
The foregoing brief sketch will enable the reader to see how the various traditions regarding the Apostle mutually hang together. We have only to remark, further, how unreasonable it is to suppose that traditions converging from various points, and mutually self-supporting, can be the outcome of legendary imaginings. It is for those who contest them to prove that they are inconsistent with any known facts, and consequently baseless. Until then, they hold the field.
V.—The Question of Calamina
The name of Calamina is found in some of the writings which bear reference to the Apostle Thomas, and the same writings mention it as the place of his martyrdom, with the added information that it is situated in India. The reader will scarcely need to be told that geography knows of no place—past or present—bearing the name, and that India ignores it. It becomes, therefore, a literary puzzle, the solution of which, though not necessary to establish the fact that India had received the faith from the Apostle, yet asks for a plausible, if not satisfactory, explanation. It is this obvious desire that we will attempt to meet.
It should be borne in mind that the name does not appear in any of the older writings treating of the Apostle. St. Ephraem, from whom we have quoted largely, the ancient Oriental and Western Liturgies, or the Fathers of the Church, whose witness is given in Chapter II., never mention it; neither do the Acts of Thomas, or the versions of the same. Chronologically, the earliest mention of Kalaminh, or Calamina, occurs in Greek writers and their Latin translations of a later date, and the desinence of the word discloses a Greek, not an Oriental form. It appears first in a group of mostly anonymous writings in Greek, which give a brief summary of the doings, preachings, and deaths of the Apostles. These stories, when closely examined, are found to bear a family resemblance in shape and detail to the entries given in the Synaxarium of the Greek Church for the 30th of June, on which date is kept the feast of the ‘Commemoration of all the Twelve Apostles.’ For a specimen of these, see either the extra vol. of November, published by the Bollandists, containing Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, or the Menologium Graecum, edited by Card. Albani, Urbini, 1727 ad diem, compare the same with the list of Dorotheus or Oecumenius, &c. It should be noted, however, that neither of the above Greek liturgical books makes mention of Calamina.
From this class of writings we quote the following : (1) Sophronius, whose short accounts of the Apostles in Greek are appended to St. Jerome’s book, De viris illustr.; the authenticity of the MS discovered by Erasmus, whence these additions have come into Jerome’s text, has not only been questioned but openly denied; but it has lately been re-discovered (an. 1896) at Zurich, and is a MS of the thirteenth century, it is the same from which Erasmus had published the Greek extracts in 1516; but the MS does not bear the name of Sophronius; this the first editor, Erasmus, must have by conjecture suggested, as one Sophronius, a friend of the Doctor, had translated into Greek some of his writings; the name is here retained to specify the text (see Bardenhewer, Les Pères de l’Eglise, i. p.13, and ii. p. 390): ‘Thomas the Apostle, as has been handed down to us, preached the gospel of the Lord to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Carmanians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians, and the Magi. He fell asleep in the city of Calamina of India.’ Then comes (2) pseudo-Hippolytus,81 On the Twelve Apostles, where each of them preached and when he met his death, p. 131: ‘And Thomas preached to the Parthians, Medes and Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians and Margians, and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Calamene, the city of India, and was buried there.’ (3) Dorotheus82 writes: ‘Thomas the Apostle having preached the Gospel to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Germans [perhaps Carmanians], Bactrians and Magians, suffered martyrdom at Calamite, a city of India so named.’ (4) An anonymous, published with the works of Oecumenius,83 says: ‘Thomas the Apostle, as the tradition of our elders discloses, preached the Gospel of Christ to the Parthians and Medes, the Persians and Germans [read Carmanians], the Hyrcanians and Bactrians: he fell asleep in the city of Kalaminh—Calamina, India.’
From these writings apparently the name has been taken up by some later Syrian writers:— (1) Barhebraeus (Chron. Eccl., tom. i. col. 34), giving a summary of the preachings of the Apostles, says:‘Thomas preached to the Parthians, the Medes, and at Calamina, a town of India, was crowned with martyrdom, whence his body was removed to Edessa.’ A similar passage of his is given by Assemani, Bibl. Or. iv.p.33, from another work, Horreum Mysteriorum: Comment. in Matth. (2) An anonymous Syrian writer84 says: ‘The Apostle Thomas preached..... in India interior, and taught and baptized and conferred the imposition of hands for the priesthood. He also baptized the daughter of the King of the Indians. But the Brahmins killed him at Calamina. His body was brought to Edessa and there it rests.’
The name has also made its way into the later Martyrologies. It may be remembered that the old Western Martyrology, known as the Hieronymian, makes no mention of Calamina, but it is found in Baronius’ revision or edition of the Roman Martyrology.
We may therefore infer, in a general way, that between the latter end of the seventh and the middle of the eighth century the name Kalaminh came into vogue, and got inserted into the narratives concerning the Apostle Thomas. At that stage it would be restricted to Western Asia, to generalise the term; for in the sixth century neither Jacob of Sarug, a.d. 521-522 in the East, nor in the West does Gregory of Tours in a.d. 590, nor even Florus, who, A.D. 830, enlarged Bede’s Martyrologium, make any mention of the name.
How did this fictitious name originate? and how did it get connected with the Apostle? Had it any connection with India, that in the minds of these writers it should be the place of his martyrdom in that country?
We venture to offer the following as a solution of the riddle. The word ‘ Calamina,’ as it appears to us, is a composite term, consisting of the words Kâlãh, the name of a place, and Elmina, which in Syriac denotes a port. The two words joined together with a necessary elision gives the product Calamina, or Calamine, signifying originally the ‘ port of kâlãh.’ That there existed in the vicinity of India a port bearing the name of Kalah is historically beyond doubt. The present form of the conjunction of the two terms is not of Semitic origin, for the words would then hold reversed positions, and would have assumed the form ‘Elminah-Kalah,’ by the same rule that the Aramaic form of the names of towns with Beth have Beth preceding the noun governed, but must be of Greek or Latin origin (see Assemani, Bibl. or., iv. p. 730, for a long list of so governed names). This of itself implies that the term ‘ Calamina’ is not of Aramaic or Semitic origin.
The origin of this compound name may be explained in some such way as the following. Suppose a Christian of Greek origin anxious to learn something of the story of the Apostle Thomas, or of his Relics, inquired of an eastern Syrian traveller, whence were the Relics of the Apostle brought to Edessa? and received in reply the answer that they had come from Kalah [the port] ‘Elmina’ in the Indies; it would be sufficient to start the report that they had come from Cala-mina in India. As a further inference it would easily follow that that was also the place of his martyrdom. The name may have at first originated in this manner, and so got spread among Greek-speaking Christians, and thence passed into written records.
The earliest distinct mention of Kâlãh, to give it its full guttural Aramaic sound, occurs in a letter of Jesuab of Adiabene (see Assemani, Bibl. Or., iii., 113ff.), Patriarch of the Nestorians, a.d. 650-660. In his letter, No. 14, to Simeon the Primate of Persia and Metropolitan of Ravardshir (ibid., p. 127) he says: Quum per legitimos traductores, perque canonum semitas donum Dei fluxerit fluatque; en plenus est orbis terrarum episcopis, sacerdotibus et fidelibus, qui tanquam stellae caeli de die in diem augentur. At in vestra regione, ex quo ab ecclesiasticis canonibus deficistis, interrupta est ab Indiae populis sacerdotalis successio; nec India solum—quae a maritimis regni Persarum usque ad Colon, Khalam [lege], spatii ducentorum super mille parasangarum extenditur—sed et ipsa Persarum regio vestra, divina doctrinae lumine, quod per Episcopos veritatis refulget, orbata et in tenebris jacet.
To understand the full importance of this passage of Jesuab, it should be borne in mind that the Metropolitan of Persia, then bishop of the see of Ravardshir, was in open revolt against the authority of the Catholicus, or patriarch, of the nestorians; that from ages past, even at the date of the Council of Nice, a.d. 325, India had been dependent upon the Metropolitan of Persia.85 Later, in the days of Cosmas Indicopleustes, the bishop and the clergy used to come to India, as also to Socotra, from Persia and were ordained there; the passage will be found in the next Chapter (pp.224,225); this cannot be gainsaid. Owing, then, to the revolt of the Metropolitan, the supply of the clergy for India was cut off, and became diminished even in Persia, as the contents of the letter fully disclose. This is the burden of Jesuab’s complaint. Incidentally he mentions Kalah as the extreme eastern terminus of his jurisdiction in the direction of India and beyond India proper.
Colonel Yule, who quotes part of this extract, was not conscious that the translation given by Assemani was misleading; and thereon he further built a wrong inference of his own (see his Cathay, &c., vol.i.p.72, note). The scholar who detected the error was Gildemeister (see his Scriptorum Arabum de locis Indicis loci et opuscula, Bonnae, 1838, p.60). The passage, though, was well known to Orientals, among whom this extract of the letter ranked as a classical passage, and used to be assigned to students of the language for study. It was thus that it came to be pointed out to the writer by a Syro-Malabar priest of his late Vicariate Apostolic on that coast, when he first commenced his researches in the history of the Church in India.
There are two places, the reader should know, on behalf of which the name Kalah is claimed by scholars. It may be that both at different times and for different reasons had a claim to the name. But the evidence for the verbal appellation that has come down to us is conclusive for a place on the Malay Peninsula, which was so named either because it was adjacent to the tin mines of that coast, situated a few miles to the north of Penang, and now worked by Chinamen—or because it was the port whence the mineral named Kalai, tin, was exported. The name occurs in the narrative of the Arab travellers of the eighth-ninth century, first published in a French translation by the Abbé Renaudot, Paris, 1718, also rendered into English and published in London. The Arab text was edited by Reinaud with a new translation and notes, published in two small volumes, Paris, 1845. In vol. i.pp. 93-94, the text says: Le roi du Zabedj compte encore parmi les possessions l’îsle de Kalah, qui est située à mi-chemin entre les terres de la chine et le pays des Arabes. La superficie de l’îsle de Kalah est, à ce qu’on dit, de quatre-vingts parasanges. Kalah86 est le centre du commerce de I’aloes, du camphore, du sandel, de I’ivoire, du plomb I’alcaly. Yule comments (Cathay, vol. i. p. cxci., note): ‘M. Reinaud objects "to the lead called al-qula’-i" being translated tin, though all the light he throws on it is a suggestion that it is brass, which Cosmas says was exported from Kalliana [Bombay]. Yet qula’-i is the word universally used in Hindustani for the tinning of pots and pans, and I see F. Johnstone’s Persian dictionary simply defines it as tin. This product sufficiently fixes Kalah as in or near the Malay Peninsula. Edrisi also places the mine of qala’-i at that place.’ Another important passage bearing on the question is to be found in the narrative of travels left by Ibn Mehalhal, who in a.d.941 travelled overland to China and returned by sea.87 He says, leaving China, ‘he arrived at Kalah. It is the first Indian city, and the last for those sailing thence; they cannot pass it or they would be lost. On arriving there I explored the place. Kalah is a great city with high walls and many gardens and water courses. In the vicinity I saw mines of lead called qala’-i, which is found in no part of the world but at Qala’-h.’ Consult also Yule and Burnell’s Hobson-Jobson, or Glossary of Anglo- Indian Colloquial Words, &c., London, 1886, at the word ‘Calay.’
The other place for which, among others, M.Reinaud claims the name of Kalah is Point de Galle (l.c., vol.ii.p.48, note 171 et alibi; see also Géographie d’ Aboulféda traduite en Français, vol. i., Paris, 1848, introduction, pp. cclxviii-cclxix). The whole of the south-east coast of Ceylon was known formerly as the ‘Galla country’: the first word, with a slight Oriental guttural sound added, becomes ‘Kalah.’ The reader will find in Tennent’s Ceylon, 3rd ed., London, 1859, vol. i.pp. 582-606, the main arguments in support of the claim either of Point de Galle, or rather of some ancient port on that coast now forgotten—whence, for example, the Chinese Pilgrim, Fa Hian, sailed direct to China. We append the Chinese pilgrim’s narrative to enable the reader to form his own opinion. Samuel Beal, in his edition of the Travels of Fa Hian and Sung-Yun, Buddhist Pilgrims from China to India (London, 1869, p. 165), assigns the year a.d. 400 for the journey; and the passage relating his departure from Ceylon is thus rendered: ‘Fa Hian resides in this country (Ceylon) for two years (and having obtained certain sacred books in Pali) he forthwith shipped himself on board a great merchant vessel which carried about two hundred men; astern of the ship was a smaller one, as a provision in case of the larger vessel being injured or wrecked during the voyage.’ This will establish the existence of a port, an entrepôt of commerce, between western and eastern Asia, where large Chinese ships were found trading, at the opening of the fifth century on the Galla coast. This or any other port of the Galla country could also have offered a point d’appui for the introduction of the composite term ‘Calamina.’
Before closing this inquiry we must for a moment return to the Nestorian Patriarch’s statement regarding Kâlãh. The passage in English would read thus: ‘The flow of sacerdotal succession to the peoples of India has been cut off since you (the Metropolitan of Persia) fell away from the observance of the canons of the Church; and not only to India—which extends from the shores of the kingdom of Persia even unto Kâlãh, a distance of twelve hundred parasangs,’ &c. This gives the marine distance at which Kâlãh was placed from the shores of the Persian Gulf. If the point of departure be taken from the old land station of Ormuz, and following closely the coast line, we measure from that point the distance to the Kâlãh of the Arab geographers on the Malay Peninsula, passing through the Gulf of Manâr by Jafnapatam, and across the Bay of Bengal, to the south of the Nicobars, on to the present Qualah of the Malay Peninsula, placed somewhat to the north of Penang, we obtain, roughly, 58 degrees. To convert these into land miles we take the more or less generally accepted term of 69 English statute miles to a degree; this gives us 4002 English statute miles. If we now look at Jesuab’s figures of 1200 parasangs, we have three and a quarter miles (3 1_4) to a parasang, with a remainder of but 2 miles.
But what is a parasang? The only clear definition generally accepted is that it implies ‘the distance a horse is accustomed to travel by road in Persia in one hour.’ Taking into consideration the roads, if roads they may be called, the condition of the ordinary caravan mount, and the weight of personal belongings carried by the animal together with his rider, it does not seem likely that the distance travelled would be over 3 1_4 miles. Colonel Yule, in fact (Cathay, vol. i. p.53, note), converts the parasang into English miles at roughly that figure. There is no reliable, much less standard, gauge to go by in converting the parasang into an European measure. It should be realised, to begin with, that Jesuab’s measurement is only a fair Arab calculation of the distance, that which our maps show to be 58 degrees, between Ormuz and Qualah. As these two fit into each other, by the rate of conversion adopted as a common measure, we come to the conclusion, by a fairly average measurement, that Jesuab’s Kâlãh is the same as that mentioned by Arab geographers, and was consequently known already and frequented by Persian traders by the middle of the seventh century. So that, whilst in the days of Cosmas Indicopleustes the Nestorian clergy had penetrated as far as Ceylon, a.d. 530-545, and Cosmas says he was unaware (see p.199) that there were any farther east, we are able to verify on the authority of Jesuab, that they had, with the development of trade, penetrated as far as the Malay coast. Might not this also offer a fair basis to fix a date for the introduction of the word Calamina into hagiographical literature?
To test this point we propose to place together all the data we have adduced, and see what result they offer.
A. — Kalah or Calamina not mentioned by —
(1) Jacob of Sarug (Poem, The Palace that Thomas, &c.),
(2) Gregory of Tours (Gl.Martyr.), a.d. 590.
(3) Florus of Lyons (Bedae Martyrol.), a.d. 830.
B. — Kalah or Calamina mentioned by —
(1) Jesuab, a.d., 650-660.
(2) Syr. MS (Brit. Mus.), a.d. 874.
The above are dated records. Now as to the undated:—
(1) Calamina is found mentioned by a series of Greek writers, who have only left lists of the Apostles’ doings, &c., all anonymous. These, Mgr. Duchesne, aptly classifies as ‘Catalogi Apostolorum.’
(2) And by Syrian and Latin writers of the ninth and tenth centuries.
We think it may be safely inferred that the origin of the word ‘Calamina’ should not be placed earlier than Jesuab’s date; it had not yet been introduced in 830 when Florus made his additions to Bede’s Martyrology. This brings us down to the second quarter of the ninth century for Latin writers. Later, it crept into the smaller Latin Martyrologies.
If we accept a date from the middle of the seventh century to the middle of the eighth, a.d. 650-750, for the introduction of the word in the writings ‘Catalogi Apostolorum,’ we may perhaps not be far wrong. A closer date could only be worked out from some external circumstance, such as a dated MS, but no inference can be drawn from style, as the lists consist of only short paragraphs for each Apostle. The origin may even be later, between 750 and 850; and if the Syriac MS date be taken as a gauge for its introduction, the latter period would suit better. Mgr. Duchesne ventured an opinion (Martyr. Hieron., ut supr. p.lxxviii.) that the ‘Catalogi’ writers appeared ‘vix ante saeculum vii,’ that would be A.D. 601. This appears to be too early.
to be continued............
(Please click for next portion)
Book 1| Book 2 | Book 3| Book 4