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Pope's speech that offended Kerala's Christians amended
November 29, 2006 18:21 IST
With Pope Benedict XVI's remarks about St Thomas having created a storm among the Christian community in Kerala, the Vatican has amended the Papal speech on the Apostle and recognised his visit to southern India.
The Pope's remarks that St Thomas had preached Christianity in 'western' India, from where it spread to other parts of the country, had created a controversy among the community, which believes that St Thomas came to this part in A D 52 and established seven and half churches. They regard the Apostle as their 'Father in Faith'.
The amendment, which has been made in the official website of the Vatican, states that 'St Thomas first evangelised Syria and Persia and then went on to western India from where also he finally reached south India'.
The Pope had, in a recent pronouncement at St Peter's square in Vatican, spoken of St Thomas, the Apostle, seemingly taking away from him the traditional title 'Apostle of India'.
Addressing a vast crowd, he is said to have stated, 'Thomas first evanglised Syria and Persia and then penetrated as far as western India from where Christianity reached also south India'.
Though the Pope did not actually use the expression 'Apostle of Pakistan', what he said may have seemed to imply it, George Nedungatt, a faculty member of the Oriental Pontifical Institute, Rome, said in an article in Satya Deepam, a mouthpiece of the Syro-Malabar church.
The article had stated that the Pope's predecessors had on several occasions referred to St Thomas as the Apostle of India.
However, differing from this view, Pope Benedict feels the area St Thomas evangelised was not South India, but what he called 'western India' corresponding roughly to today's Pakistan, the article had stated.