St. Thomas was born in Galilee around the first century B.C., and the Bible does not give further details about his early life. A bird hunter accidentally shot him with an arrow in 72 A.D. in Mylapore, India, near Chennai, where he died.
Thomas was one of the original 12 apostles. He earned the nickname Doubting Thomas based on his behavior outlined in John 20:19-29. He was not among the apostles that the resurrected Jesus appeared to, and he did not believe the other apostles when they told him that Jesus had risen. Jesus specifically asked Thomas to touch his wounds from his crucifixion, and he became the first person in the Bible to acknowledge Jesus' divinity when he exclaimed, "My Lord, my God!" after touching the wounds.
The apostles cast lots after Jesus' death to decide who would minister where, and Thomas drew India. He sailed to India around 52 A.D. and landed in the port city of Muziris, which was in the modern Kerala state near North Paravur and Kodungalloor.
Thomas preached Christianity to the Parthians and founded churches along the Periyar River. He had around 17,000 converts to his Church of the Syrian Malabar Christians, including people from the four principal castes. He ordained elders and teachers at each location, and they were the first ministers of his church.