Posts Tagged ‘first day of the week’

Thomas Sunday – The day of Disbelievers

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Reading Time: 4minutes

Thomas-sunday-the-day-of-disbelieve-Thomas-reaching-to-Jesus-wounds

A week passed since we Christian celebrated Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Each year on first Sunday after Easter in orthodox Church is celebrated the so called Thomas Sunday. So why is it called Thomas Sunday and why it is the day of disbelievers?
The root of this ancient Christian feast comes after commemoration of Christ desciple St. Thomas who disbelieved the testimony of ( 10 apostles ) and the Virgin Mary  that Jesus Christ is Risen from the Death.

The disbelieve of Thomas was logical and human cause even though Thomas was with the Apostleswith Christ for 3 years, saw all Jesus miracles and shared the Secret Supper (Last Supper), and even knew in advance (heard by Jesus on Last supper) that Jesus will betrayed mocked, hanged on the Cross and Rise from the death on the third day, he disbelieved.

Thomas Sunday (Sundy of Thomas) is "the day of Disbelievers", because all are disbelievers in moments of their life not only those who believe God but all the humanity!  Even the most faithful Christian, be it a deacon, monk or priest has difficult moments in life where God's existence or providence for one's faith is seriously questioned.
The fallen nature of man is such that the initial belief in God given to man in Eden (Paradise garden) is broken, and only in Jesus's name through the Gift of Faith given by the Holy Spirit, believe in God is restored.

Thomas very much like unto everyone of us doubted the rumors of Christ resurrection and said he would only believe in Resurrected Christ only if he sees his hands nails print and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds to test he is not seeing a Ghost but Christ is alive in a body after his death.

Here is the Gospel reading re-telling the story in short:

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

“But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-26)

And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)

We Christians should be joyful for have not seen Christ in Flesh but have believed for we are blessed for his believe without seeing.

By same faith in God without seeing him even in old times the Jews were led by the Lord God in the desert have won wars by their believing without seeing God, prophets has prophecised, Simeon (The God receiver) hold The Savior (Christ) in his hands, by faith David won the battle with Goliath, by faith we understand the universe was formed at God’s command, by faith we know that the visible came out of the invisible.

o Kyrios mou kai o Theos mou (Greek) – My Lord and my God (Jn. 20:28) this declaration of faith clearly shows an unexpressable excitement of Thomas and his unexpectency to see Christ resurrected. Here it is interesting that here the son of God Jesus Christ is called by Thomas exactly how Jewish used to call God Yahweh (One and Only God) in the Old testament.

Today the evangical story is very accurate for our generation – a generation of disbelievers, even we who say we believe often doesn’t justify our believe with our deeds, we say we believe but we don’t keep God’s commandment “to love God and our neigbor like ourselves.” Often only difference between believers and disbelievers is on Sunday we believers visit Church and “play Christians”, but even but in daily life our deeds are same like unbelievers. Often many are disbelievers not because they reject God but because they never heard the Gospel or misheard it, also we disbelieve because we’re very much like st. Thomas, we often say “I will believe in God if I see him”, but even Thomas who saw God before the Crucifix and knew him disbelieved – a proof that often seing once could still leave space for doubt. The glorious event of Christ showing himself Alive to Thomas was made by Christ to establish the Church and strengthen faith of first Christians in resurrection. Nowadays there are plenty of people who question God’s existence saying that they will believe if they see but they’re not given to see the resurrected Christ because God knows that even if we see the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected we would try to rationally explain the phenomenon with holograms, modern technology or science.

Thomas Sunday is not only a day of Thomas disbelieve it is a day of disbelieve of all humanity. , St. Thomas should be an example even to all of us Christian disbelievers and non-believers that even if we disbelieve and doubt and strive to see God, He is powerful to come and appear Resurrected in His Glory to our souls.
Let us therefore have the Wisdom of the Holy Apostles and say together with them “Lord, Increase our faith.” Luke 17:5

A preaching words Paschal greeting for Great Saturday and the Resurrection day by Byzantium Emperor Theodore II Ducas Laskaris

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Reading Time: 4minutes
Theodore Ducas Lascaris coin Christian Seal

Below’s text is a Paschal greeting of the Byzantium Emperor Thedodore Ducas Lascaris, the text is really beautiful, I’ve translated it from Bulgarian translation which was translated from Greek, the general idea of the text is clearly observable. I’m really sorry if the text has translation mistakes. Have an enjoyable reading!

“Christ is risen from the death”, that are the words of the Angel; this saw the women; this testifies Pilatus stamps, this is what the empty grave of the Saviour proclaims; this is what testifies for the moved tomb (about 2 tons) stone; the guardians lay bare by their own speech; the grave guards acknowledges and takes the money; the High Priests [Anna and Caiphas] show off they’re guilty; Pilatus is feeling guilt; the centurion on the curtain tear down does believe; the sun has prooved the Godly essence of Christ darkening itself during the crucifix; the resurrected bodies of the many dead saints does testified about the truth; the whole nature confirmed the Resurrection, which has happened in the end of the Saturday, in the beginning of the [first day of the week].

Rejoice oh Man: Christ has Risen from the dead; the testimonial is truthful; Rejoice for you have been freed; hell is bound up, Rejoice!; It’s the day of the Resurrection, rise up your voice; The master of our salvation has risen up from the dead; rejoice oh heaven and earth, see through the resurrection a harmony between holy Angels and humans has been established; rejoice oh you plants; the execution of Christ has been on a Cross, but through the Cross the Resurrection has accomplished; Adam has been risen up again; Eva has been released from the chains; Christ has preceeded over the prophets; The Kings Solomon and David are salute with victorious songs!

Rejoice oh man the darkness has lessen [in the world] the light has come; the shadow has fade away quickly; grace come in; the spring of life has rised. Does somebody needs to hear about God? Doesn’t everybody know, that he rose up from the dead? Why Pilatus is riotous; Chaiphas thinks where to have the assembly of the Jewish elders. Rejoice oh also you robber, and enter in paradise, when everyone is gathered there; here is the firy sword has turned it’s back; the grandparent has been released; rejoice oh you children of him. From Eva has the has the falling come, from the immaculate Theotokos – the rising up; through disobey death has come, through humility of the Son of God has the resurrection was given as a gift. Through a woman the fall up come, and through a woman is the resurrection preached.

Christ is Risen from the death!, let the clouds flow the rain of joice, let the plants draw a fresh leaves and the earth does bring forth fruits.

The creator of all has Risen from death and you rejoice; virtuous branches bring forth your fruits.
Who is not joious today; who is not feeling sweet joy, who is not rejoicing?

Risen up from the death, Christ destroyed kingdom of hell, He is Risen and destroyed the devil; he has risen and erased sin; he has Risen and decreased the idol-mania; He has risen and chased away dilusions; he has risen and rescued Adam; he has Risen and made the engles motionless for evil; He has risen and rescued Man; He has risen and joined the heaven ones with the earth ones, ruling himself as a King of the whole world and most-supreme ruler of all; angels and man, elements, elemental force something unseen so far by the demons.

Therefore rejoice with unspeakable joy; rejoice oh you who hear that Christ is Risen from the death; who does not obey to the first and the last in accordance with the God driven voice (Revel. 22:13), who is not glorifying him? The darkness has been crucified, we’re free from the chains; we’re risen to the upper (heavenly) kingdom.

It’s the day of the Resurrection; who is not picking up a spiritual guitar, to sing up many times a repeating song, with songs, psalms and great joy and with a piercing melody to cry out?: “He is risen from the death” Christ has risen from the death

Let all demons phalanx run far away; and the ruler of darkness with his army let enter the Tartara (hell), because the master of life has Risen and the evil one’s kingdom is robbed.

Let noone all you who are truthful be on the feast with poor garments; let we the Orthodox, does dress our corporeal and spiritual eyes with the shiny garments of goodness; let we the orthodox christians, be dressed up shiny; the enemy [the devil] is dead; the Bishop of Bishops has Risen; yesterday’s sorrow has turned to joy, what is keeping us to sing together with the pupils, to sing up victorious songs together with the Maryies? The Godly home-building is achieved: the descendance of [the Holy Spirit], the conceal, the birth of a Virgin, the baptizmal, the Godly signs, the suffering and Resurrection; Christ has risen from the death, rejoice ohh all you nations.

Likely we on Great Sunday with a divine hymn do glorify the risen from the death Master Christ – truly Risen, truly without doubt.
And for us oh God where from will there be mercy sent for our petitions.

Theodore II Laskaris head painting
Paschal Greeting Text by Byzantium’s Emperor Theodore II Ducas-Lascaris (1254-1258 AD)
Translated from Bulgarian (Original text translated from Greek by Alexey Stambolov)