Thomas Aquinas

A brief biography.


Thomas Aquinas was born in 1224 or 1225, at Roccasecca, near Aquino, on the road from Roma to Naples, where his parents were in possession of a modest feudal domain on a boundary constantly disputed by the Emperor and the Pope. His father was of Lombard origin; his mother was of the later invading Norman strain.

Thomas was placed in the monastery of Monte Cassino near his home as an oblate. when he was still a young boy.

In 1239, after nine years in this sanctuary of spiritual and cultural life, young Thomas was forced to return to his family when the Emperor expelled the monks because they were too obedient to the Pope. Thomas was then sent to the University of Naples, recently founded by the Emperor, where he  encountered the scientific and philosophical works, translated from the Greek and the Arabic. In this setting Thomas decided to join the Dominicans in Naples.

His superiors assigned him to the University Saint-Jacques in Paris, but his parents abducted him and he was a year in captivity by the family. Finally liberated Thomas was in Paris in the autumn of 1245.

There he meet the Dominican scholar master Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus) and studied the works of Aristotle.

During the summer of 1248, Aquinas left Paris with Albertus, who was to assume direction of the new faculty established by the Dominicans at the priory in Köln. He remained there until 1252, when he returned to Paris to prepare for the degree of master of theology. After taKing his bachelor's degree, he received the licentia docendi ("license to teach") at the beginning of 1256 and shortly afterward finished the training necessary for the title and privileges of master. In 1256 he began teaching theology in one of the two Dominican schools incorporated in the University of Paris.

Thomas at the papal Curia and return to Paris.

In 1259 Thomas was appointed theological adviser and lecturer to the papal Curia, then the centre of Western humanism.  From 1265 to 1267 he taught at the priory of Santa Sabina in Roma and then, at the request of Clement IV, went to the papal Curia in Viterbo. Suddenly, in November 1268, he was sent to Paris, where he became involved in a sharp doctrinal polemic that had just been triggered off, around  the works of Averroës.

Last years at Naples.

At Easter time in 1272, Thomas returned to Italy to establish a Dominican house of studies at the University of Naples. This move was undoubtedly made in answer to a request made by King Charles of Anjou, who was anxious to revive the university. After participating in a General chapter, or meeting, of the Dominicans held in Firenze during Pentecost week and, having settled some family affairs, Thomas resumed his university teaching at Naples in October and continued it until the end of the following year.

In January 1274 Thomas Aquinas was personally summoned by Gregory X to the second Council of Lyon, which was an attempt to repair the schism between the Latin and Greek churches. On his way he was stricken by illness; he stopped at the Cistercian abbey of Fossanova, where he died on March 7, 1274.

Thomas Aquinas was canonized a saint in 1323
by Pope John XXII (1316-1333), officially named doctor of the church in 1567, by Pope Pius V (1566-1572), and proclaimed the protagonist of orthodoxy during the modernist crisis at the end of the 19th centurycosmic and anthropological realism of Aquinas.




The Disputation of the Sacrament (Italian: La disputa del sacramento), or Disputa, is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (Raffaelo Santi 06.04.1483--06.04.1520)It was painted between 1509 and 1510 as the first part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. At the time, this room was know as the Stanza della segnatura, and was the private papal library where the supreme papal tribunal met (Adams 344).

Raphael has created a scene spanning both heaven and earth.

Above, Christ is surrounded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and various biblical figures such as Adam, Moses and Jacob. God sits above Jesus, depicted reigning over the golden light of heaven. Below, on the altar sits the monstrance.
altar is flanked by theologians who are depicted debating Transubstantiation. Christ's body is represented in the eucharist, which is discussed by representatives of the Church; among them are Pope Julius II, Pope Sixtus IV, Savonarola and Dante Alighieri.
Pope Sixtus IV is the gold dressed Pope in the bottom of the painting. Directly behind Sixtus is Dante, wearing red and
sporting a laurel wreath (symbolizing his greatness as a writer.
In the left hand corner, there is a bald figure reading a book

leaning over a railing.
This is Raphael's mentor and famous renaissance architect Bramante.
At the bottom of the painting three Dominicans are represented:
at the left Fra Angelico, in the middle Thomas Aquinas
and at the right Savonarola.

Ajman 1972, Mi 1891.



On top of the stamp of Andorra the wrong notice: Sant Tomàs D’Aqui. The post office department of Andorra wished to honour the chronicler of Charles Magnus, Tomas d' Aqui (ca. 730-19.05.804), who lived some time in Andorra.



Thomas Aquinas, painting by Otto van Veen (1556-1629).


The figure on the stamp is Thomas Aquinas, after an engraving by C. Boel, based on a painting by the Leyden artist Otto van Veen (1556-1629), preserved at the Dominicans in Gent.  It was used for the frontispiece of the illustrated book about Thomas Aquinas, that was published on initiative of Miguel Ophovius, O.P., prior in Antwerpen, in 1610.




Andorra, French Administration 1982, Mi 330, Sc 303.

                       Postmark Principat d' Andorra 4.12.1982.





Thomas Aquinas after a unknown artist.


Antigua and Barbuda 2000, Mi 3239, Sc 2385,h. 








On the facade of the church Santa Maria Rotunda of  the Dominican
priory at Wien
(1670) Dominican saints, so Thomas Aquinas.

Austria 1966, Mi 1202, Sc 757.









The statue of Thomas Aquinas decorated the monument of
Cardinal Désiré Joseph Mercier (21.11.1851-23.01.1926).
promoter and professor of the Thomistic philosophy at the University
of Louvain.

Belgium 1932, Mi 338, (idem 340); Sc B 119 (idem B 120).





Haut-relief 1654, by un unknown artist, on the front of the Capilla del
Rosario, Bogotá, with Maria, Dominic, Thomas Aquinas
Catherine of Siena,
and Cristóbal of Torres, O.P. or Pius V, O.P.


Colombia 1938, Mi 390; Sc 458.






On the facade of the Capilla del Rosario, Bogotá, haut-relief
(1654) by an unknown artist, with Madonna del Rosario, Dominic,
Thomas Aquinas,
Catherine of Siena and Cristobal of Torres or
Pius V, O.P.

Colombia 1954, Mi 712, Sc 632.





Colombia 1959, Mi 847, Sc C316.






Painting of Thomas Aquinas by Gregorio Vasquez de Arce y
Ceballos, preserved in the University of Bogotá.

Thomas is presented with his hymn Pange lingua, to be read
with a loupe. On the postmark the text: facientes veritatem.


Colombia 1982, Mi 1597, Sc 902.

       Postmark Bogotá 06.08.1982.






Antigua Universidad de Santo Tomás.


Costa Rica 1981, Mi 1135, Sc C847.







Over the Vltava River (Moldau) in Prague, Czech Republic, is built by order of Emperor Charles IV the Carlsbridge by Peter Parler (1330-13.07.1399); first stone, 09.07.1367. On this bridge the statue of the Madonna with Child on the globe, Saint Dominic with cross and Thomas Aquinas with a book.

This statue is made by Matteus Wenzel Jäckel (1655-1738) in 1708, and a gift of the Dominicans of the St. Aegid-priory in Prague.
The authentic group is replaced by a copy in 1961. There are
many stamps of the Carlsbridge, but it is difficult to clearly see
the named group.

Czechoslovakia 1957, Mi 1004, Sc 787.





Charles V ordered the Spanish Dominicans in the Dominican Republic to found a University, on 28 October 1538. Seal of the University Santo Thomas Aquinas in Santo Domingo.


                                     Dominican Republic 1938, Mi 352, Sc 340.





 On the seal Thomas Aquinas on his chair.

 Stamp honouring 5th centenary of the University.

 Seal of the University of Santo Domingo.

 Stamp to honouring 440th Year of the foundation.


Dominican Republic 1978, Mi 1213, Sc RA85.





Etienne Dauphin opened a lyceum in an old country-house  in Oullins on 20 October 1836. The provincial of the French Dominican Province, Henri-Dominique Lacordaire (12.5.1802-21.11.1861), bought this Lyceum and baptized it Saint Thomas d' Aquin, 1850.


France 1986. Postmark Oullins 18.10.1986.





Front of the Lycée, Collège St. Thomas d 'Aquin Veritas.  56, Rue du Perron 69600 Oullins.

France 1990. Postmark Oullins 09.11.1990 .





Painting by Fra Angelico : Madonna della Stella, EM 29, before 1434. Tempera on panel, 84x51 cm., as a whole; 60x70 cm. as a picture. On the predella of this painting Peter Martyr, Saint Dominic and Thomas Aquinas.

Gambia 1991, Mi 1290, Sc 1168.



To celebrate the 7th centenary of Thomas Aquinas' dead (7.3.1274).


Germany 1974, Mi 795, Sc 1134. Postmark 1974 Bonn 15.7.1974.





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The Virgin of the Catholic Monarchs, ca. 1493, 123 x 112 cm. by an anonymous Castilian painter now preserved in the Prado Museum, Madrid.
On the left Thomas of Torquemada (+1498) with the model of the church
of the Dominican priory Saint Thomas Aquinas at Avila.

Grenada 2000, Mi 4455, Sc 3005.


As painter is named Michel Sittow (Zittoz), 1469-24.12.1525 from Reval  (Tallin), pupil of Hans Memling and appointed court painter of the Catholic Kings in 1492. Far right Peter Martyr of Verona. The panel is preserved in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

                                                              Guyana 1987, Mi 1830, Sc 1789.


Tapestry by P.P.Rubens: Saint Clare among the Fathers of the Church. ca 1623, 86 x 91 cm. Rubens designed twenty cartons for tapestries about The triumph of the Eucharisty over the idolatry, dedicated to the church of  the monastery of the Sisters Clare in Madrid. Thomas with book and before him Clara of Assisi with monstrance. On the left Gregor the Great, Augustin and Ambrosius: after Thomas Norbert, who opposed  the errors of Tanchelm (+1115). Preserved in Museo del Prado in Madrid.


Grenada Grenadines 1996, Mi 2217, Bl 345; Sc 1811.




700th Anniversary of Thomas Aquinas' dead, 7 March 1274. Painting, 1344, by Francesco Traini (ca 1321-ca 1365), for the Dominican church
Santa Catherine in Pisa, and preserved in this church.

Thomas with his book Summa contra Gentiles, with the text:Veritatem meditabitur guttur meum et labia mea detestabuntur impium. Proverbia 8,7.


Italy 1974, Mi 1467, Sc 1164. Maximum card.




7th Centenary of the dead of Thomas Aquinas in the abbey of Fossanova on 7th March 1274.

Italy 1974, Mi 1467, Sc 1164. Postmark  Fossanova 25.10.1974.


Exhibition in Priverno, about Thomas Aquinas on paintings
and in the iconography
, October 2001. Postmark possible derives from Francesco de Zurbaran’s Triumph of S. Thomas,
Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes, Sevilla.

Italy 2001. Postmark Priverno 20.10.2001.



Painting by the Italian artist Macrino d’ Alba (Gian Giacomo de Alladio
or de Fava
), 1465/70 - ca. 1528. Madonna with Child, Angels, Francis of Assisi and on the right Thomas Aquinas.   
City-Hall of Alba.


Italy 2001, Mi 2797, Sc 2432.     




Postmark of the parish of Thomas Aquinas in

Faggiano 13.12.2005.

Italy 2005, Faggiano



Thomas Aquinas with a typical nimbus.  In his right hand the monstrance and in the linker a book. On de chest the  golden sun. In times past sacrificed personages has an aureola or aureole (diminutive of Latin aura, "air"): a  radiance of luminous cloud which surrounds the whole figure. When the aureola it appears merely as a luminous disk round the head, it is called specifically a nimbus. The nimbus in Christian art first appeared in the 5th century. The form of the nimbus around the head of Thomas may be derived from the painting by Domenico Morone (1442-1508): 'Dispute with the scholars', preserved in the collection of Chaladon in Paris. All the saints, depicted by Domenico Morone, wear a nimbus with a high border. Thomas is the patron of the village Belcastro with 1394 inhabitants (2006).

Italy 2006. postmark Belcastro 21.03.2006.
'Thomas d' Aquino Patrono' of the village
(Italy 88050), Belcastro (Catanzaro, Calabria).

With thanks to José and Regina Bogaert-VanWayenberge.



Tapestry after design by P.P.Rubens The institution of Corpus
Domini for the church of the monastery of the Clare Sisters in Madrid.


Malta 1980, Mi 607, Sc 567.







The Saint John's Cathedral in 's-Hertogenbosch has a stained glass window with Saint Thomas and Saint Bonaventura, by L.C. Hezenmans, of the atelier of Jean-Baptist Capronnier (1814-1891), 1878.

On the window Thomas with the first line of his hymn Lauda Sion Salvatorem, for the Liturgy of Corpus Christi, 1263.

On the north-side of the Cathedral a statue of Thomas Aquinas, with a dove at his ear and a book with the first line of the hymn: Lauda Sion Salvatorem.

Netherlands 1985, Mi 1219, Sc B614.




In the book Secunda secundae, 9, 188, article 6 of his  theological work Summa Theologiae, Thomas Aquinas paraphrased the ideal of the Order of the Preachers: Contemplari et contemplata aliis tradere. Meditate and passing on the fruits of meditation. 

On this stamp of the series creatief met zegels, everybody can
a picture or own logo or text.


Netherlands 1998, Mi 1668-1672; Sc 1007 a-e.






Monsignor Ferdinand Kieckens founded the Saint Thomas College

on Curacao in August 1886.


Netherlands Antilles 1986, Mi 601, Sc 573.






Thomas Aquinas. Right.

Fresco by Fra Angelico. EM 101. The Crucifixion (1441/1442),
550 x 950 cm.
On the right Saint Dominic and Saint Thomas.

Museo di San Marco, Chapter Room, Firenze.


Nicaragua 1968, Mi 1479, Sc C649. With overprint Mi 1485,
Sc C655.




In Manila the Dominicans founded on 28 April 1611 the University of Santo Tomas, a famous institute till today.

Click for the history of this University HERE.


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50th Anniversary of the graduate school, Thomas College, joined with the University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Manila, 1938-1988.
the building the statue of Thomas Aquinas.


Philippines 1988, Mi 1923, Sc 1988.





Many villages and cities on the Philippines haves the name  

                  of the chapel or church, founded by Dominican missionaries.



  Santo Tomas, Pangasinan,
  established by the Dominicans.

  Postmark 15.8.1935.




Santo Tomas in the province Batangas, Luzon, founded by the Augustinians with patron Saint Thomas Aquinas !  




Postmark Batangas, 11.11.1935, and 18.02.1994.  

Other cities named Santo Tomas in the district Isabela.

Cities Santo Tomas, in the districts of La Union, Pampagna, were named after Thomas de Villanova, O.E.S.A.




Panel by Francisco de Zurbaran (5.11.1598-27.8.1664): The visit of Saint Thomas Aquinas to Saint Bonaventura, 226 x 256 cm., 1629, for the Colegio
de S. Bonaventura in Sevilla.

It was preserved in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin and was definitive destroyed in 1945.


Sierra Leone 1992, Mi 1794, Sc 1487A.





The Architect Martin of Solozano began the construction of
the priory Santo Tomás in Avila
in 1453, resulting in a
Isabelline Gothic style, which occasionally housed
the royal
families during the summers.  

In the center of the church the alabaster tomb of the only son of the Catholic Monarchs, the Prince Don Juan (1478-1497), made by Domenico Fancelli in 1512. The high altar is the creation of Pedro de Berguguete (ca 1450-1504) with panels about Thomas Aquinas' life, painted 1494-1498. In the choir of the church the prior Tomas of Torquemada, O.P. (1420-1498) chairs the Spanish Inquisition.

                Spain 1972, Mi 2007, Sc 1739. Maximum card.






                          The cloister of the priory.
                      Spain 1972, Mi 2008, sc1740.                                                               

Front of the church.  Spain 1972, Mi 2006, Sc 1738.



The 150th anniversary of the Saint Thomas College in Matara,
Sri Lanka, founded in 1844.
The Coat of Arms with the text: perseverando vinces.

Sri Lanka 1994, Mi 1045, Sc 1092.

In Colombo, Sri Lanka, Peter Alcantra Pillai (1904-1964)
founded the Aquinas University.
Sri Lanka 1985, Mi 701, Sc 754.



Panel by Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-1494),
Virgin on the Throne with Child and Saints,
158 x 197 cm., 1482/84.
On the right Thomas Aquinas with
his book Summa contra Gentiles and the text: Veritatem meditabitur guttur meum et labia mea detestabuntur impium. Proverbia 8.7. Galleria degli Uffici, Firenze.

Uganda 1996, Mi 1773, Bl 267; Sc 1455.








In January 1274 Thomas Aquinas was personally summoned by Gregory X to the second Council of Lyons, which was an attempt to repair the schism between the Latin and Greek churches.

On his way he was stricken by illness; he stopped at the Cistercian abbey of Fossanova, where he died on March 7, 1274.     


Vatican City 1974. Postmark Fossanova 14.09.1974. KimCover 511.





Thomas Aquinas was born in the castle of the family Aquino in Roccasecca, in the Campagna Romana, Italy, ca 1224-1225.

Vatican City 1974. Postmark Rocca Secca
                       14.09.1974. KimCover 515.







Thomas Aquinas, scholastic philosopher, after a painting by an

anonymous artist, today preserved in the library
of the priory San Marco, Firenze.

Vatican City 1974, Mi 640-642; Sc 555-557. KimCover 464. Visit of Pope Paul VI in Aquino.
On the cover the basilica S.Thomas Aquinas.        






Gian Lorenzo Bellini (07.12.1598-18.11.1680) built on the
Saint Peter's Square the Colonnade, 1665-1557.
Thomas Aquinas is the 70th statue at the right.


Vatican City 1980, Mi 772, Sc 674.








Visit of Pope John Paul II to Denver (USA) August 1993.            
On the stamp the Seminary Saint Thomas in Denver.


Vatican City 1994, Mi 1131, Sc 966.








Charter and Coat of Arms of San Tomé de la Guayana.


Venezuela 1969, Mi 1794, Sc 945.










In 2004 the parish Thomas Aquinas in Faggiano, Italy,
received a relic of Sant Lucy of Syracuse, the virgin.
The first anniversary was remembered by a

postmark on 13 December (her day of death) 2004.

Italy 2005, postmark Faggiano, 13.12.2004.
Parish  St. Thomas Aquinas.





In Panana-city, district Caledonia, is situated the Hospital Santo Tomás, dedicated to Thomas of Villanova, (ca 1487-08.09.1555; O.E.S.A.), not to Thomas Aquinas.

Panama 1942, Mi 322, Sc 347.







4th Century of the parish church of St. Thomas Aquinas

in Mangaldan.


Philippines 2000, Mi 3152, Sc 2676.




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