St Thomas: belief, assurance, love.

I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to make an icon of St Thomas the Apostle, at the moment when he greets the risen Lord in the locked room – based on the fresco by Panselinos, my great inspiration, from the Protaton on Mt Athos.

There is a very comprehensive discussion of this icon here and one of the Festal hymns is quoted:-

“With his searching right hand, Thomas did probe Your life-bestowing side, O Christ God; for when You did enter while the doors were shut, he cried out unto You with the rest of the Apostles: You are my Lord and my God.”

(from the Hymns of the Feast)

I may have said this before but it bears repeating. St Thomas did not doubt Christ’s Resurrection because he had no faith. On the contrary, his uncertainty had two reasons. One, that Our Lord might be shown to be physically resurrected, not just in a vision for the faithful and that it be recorded in the Gospel. Secondly, that we might see in Thomas the depth of love and grief and fear and hope we would all experience. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe, but he didn’t dare to believe that he might once more see his Master. His cry from the heart “My Lord and My God!” wrends the heart even now.

Throughout this icon’s making I have held the commissioner in my prayers, as he makes his way towards the ministry. I continue to pray for him and wish him χρόνια πολλά – many years – in God’s service.

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