19 - Thomas Sunday
Albair Gamal Mikhail
December 30, 2003
The rite of the Feast of Thomas Sunday.
Thomas Sunday takes place on the eighth day of the Feast of the Resurrection, and it is one of the Seven Minor Feasts of our Lord. On this day, the Lord of glory appeared to His disciples while they were gathered in the upper room in the presence of St. Thomas. However, Christ appeared to them in the absence of St. Thomas a week before. The disciples repeatedly informed St. Thomas about the appearance of the Lord Christ to them, but he refused to believe them, as he said: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn. 20:25). For this reason, the Lord of glory appeared on the eighth day following the day of His resurrection, and told St. Thomas: “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe” (Jn. 20:27). The result was awesome: it resulted in the confession of St. Thomas that Christ is the Lord and God, as he cried out saying: “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).
Truly, Thomas is a characterization of a great deal of people who have willingly submitted to worldly concerns; hence, they do not believe unless they see or hear. For this very reason, the Lord of glory is encouraging faith in these people. He even came especially to remove their doubts and strengthen their faith. The Church celebrates this important event because it is considered a day when the truth of the Resurrection is clearly affirmed. Initially, even the disciples, after they witnessed Christ, thought that He was a phantom or a spirit; however, after He proved the reality of His resurrected Body, they believed. Importantly, the Church looks at this day as a confirmation of the resurrection of the Lord of glory; hence, the church uses and considers it a vital aid to every person who requires seeing before believing.
As for the rite of this day, it is the same rite as the days between the Feast of the Resurrection and the thirty-ninth day of the Holy Fifty Days. However, the Doxology of St. Thomas is chanted after the Doxology of the Resurrection, and the hymn of :wmac is chanted after the Praxis reading, or during communion after Psalm 150. The Gospel Response specifically for the feast is chanted, and during the Divine Liturgy the Adam Espasmos particular for the feast is chanted.
May the blessings of this holy day be with us all. Amen.
Mikhail, Deacon Albair Gamal, The Essentials in the Deacon’s Service, (Shobra, Egypt: Shikolani, 2002), p.733. Translated from Arabic by Bishoy K. R. Dawood, edited by Alexander A-Malek.