It is located in Mylapore, initially built during 16th century by Portuguese explorers. Santhome church also known as Santhome cathedral basilica and international shrine of Saint Thomas cathedral basilica, sits on the tomb built over the mortal remains of one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Saint Thomas had come to India in AD 52, was martyred in AD72 and buried in this very site then known as Mylapore, Santhome assumes its name from Saint Thomas. This is one of only three Basilicas in the world to be built over the tomb of an apostle of Christ, San Thome and is dedicated to St. Thomas, who travelled to India in 52 AD. The other two basilicas in the world other than Santhome cathedral that have been built over the tomb of an apostle one of them being St. Peters Basilica in Rome and the other being Church of St. James the great in Santiago de compo stela , Spain.
One of city’s landmarks, located to the south of Marina Beach, the Santhome Cathedral has seen several renovations with the foundation stone being laid in July 1523 for the first time. The present structure was constructed in 1896 in accordance to the Gothic style of architecture. A statue of Virgin Mary, imported from Portugal is also housed here.