The First Paschal Evening was a momentous one for the followers of Christ. The Lord had suddenly appeared among them, in spite of the locked doors, and He spoke to them, ate with them and breathed the Spirit upon them. They were filled with great joy. All the darkness of Holy Friday and Saturday had been transformed into the brightness of the Resurrection. All the SADNESS was now GLADNESS.
But the Apostle Thomas was not present for that first evening. When the followers of the Lord later found him, they exclaimed: “We have seen the Lord!” Thomas refused to believe that Jesus had risen, saying, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and my hand in His side, I will not believe.
He was at least HONEST with his doubts, and then took the pains to resolve them. He did not stay away from the apostolic group. He joined the Lord’s followers as they met again a week after the Resurrection. Again, Jesus suddenly appeared to the group. This time Christ called Thomas to Himself, asking him to see the wounds of the nails, and saying: “Behold not faithless, but believing.” Thomas was astonished, convinced, and proclaimed: “My Lord and My God!”
The icon captures the moment of faith as Thomas reached out to the wound in our Lord’s side. The Risen Lord stands before the closed doors, an element in the scene used by the iconographer to dramatize the incident. In the background are the walls of Jerusalem. On either side of the door are the apostles of the Lord. Each year, on the Sunday following the Resurrection, the Church remembers this loving conversion of Thomas from UNBELIEF to BELIEF.
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin - Cliffwood, NJ