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St. Thomas placing his finger in Christ's wounded side.
Icon of St. Thomas putting his finger into the side of the risen Christ. Also called "The Touching of Thomas".
Icon holy cards are 3" x 5", a convenient size for use as gifts or bookmarks. The backs are blank except for a faint colophon at the bottom, leaving plenty of room for custom imprinting with your own message.
This icon focuses on the post-Resurrection meeting between Thomas and the Lord, derived from the account in St. John’s gospel (20:24-29). The traditional depiction of this icon shows the eleven apostles in the upper room with the Risen Jesus appearing at its center, with his tunic pulled aside for the doubter to see the wound.
Traditionally located on the festal tier of the Russian Orthodox iconostasis, this icon is noted for a certain delicacy that is not often seen in the restrained Russian style. Unlike the West that frames the incident in the negative by using the title Doubting Thomas, the traditional Eastern title frames it in a positive light: The Faith of Thomas Strengthened or The Credulity of St. Thomas.
The icon Doubting Thomas is in a close-up format, simplified of all the extraneous details of a group setting, focusing only on Thomas and Jesus. This close view is found in iconographic tradition but less frequently than the group scene. It is a design composition that became very popular in the West during the Baroque period.
This icon by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB, was the model for the Conception Seminary College Iconography class in the Fall semester of 2012, in which six seminarians from different dioceses completed individual icons of this subject.
The Risen Christ is dressed in the typical garb of his earthly sojourn, red and blue, representing his human and divine natures, respectively. His tunic is pulled away, exposing the wound in his side to the doubter, Thomas.
Christ's halo, the iconographic symbol for sanctity, is inscribed with a cross (the nimbus) and the Greek letters omicron, omega, nu, spelling "HO ON." This translates as "The one who is," a reference to the scripture text, “The one who is, who was and who is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) The abbreviated Greek form of the name Jesus Christ, "IC XC,” appears around the head of the Lord.
In accordance with iconographic canons, St. Thomas is depicted as a youthful, clean-shaven apostle. He wears a red outer garment, representing both his passionate, uninhibited mode of expression and his human nature that demands proof (1 Cor. 1:22). In group scenes Thomas, like the other disciples, typically is not shown with a halo, even though as a canonized saint he could rightly be depicted with one. In this case the gold background of heavenly light suffices.
The unusually long finger of St. Thomas is the focus of the image, calling attention to the change in his faltering faith as he encounters the glorified Savior. The Apostles are our link to Christ. Despite their privilege of seeing the Lord in the flesh, we are no less honored for, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29).
This icon is for everyone who has struggled with doubt or those who may need help sustaining their faith. May contemplation of this holy image strengthen the faith of all who gaze upon it.