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On 23d of December after Divine Liturgy we will celebrate Rite of Blessing of Icon of Holy Apostle Thomas, Heavenly Patron of Church in China.
The Risen Lord appeared to his disciples after his resurrection. Young Thomas was not among them when Christ first appeared and announced that he would only believe if he can touch the wounds of the Master (John 20:19-31). For that, many called him “Doubting Thomas” for ages hence forth. The Lord knew of his utterance and appeared the second time, asking Thomas to touch his wounds. When we behold the icon we do not see a Doubting Thomas, instead we see Christ responding to one of his discipline with faltering faith and assisted him to proclaim his divinity passionately and explicitly. Our icon sets out a Reassured Thomas.
This icon also embraces beyond those present at the scene. Christ had said: Blessed are they that have not seem and yet believe. We witness the mercy and forbearance of the Saviour extending to those who encounter crises in faith as well as those who are able to “not seen and yet believe”, and we stand blessed for our faith in the Saviour.
The Church will place a small piece of relic of St. Apostle Thomas into the icon (left lower corner). The relic once belonged to Bishop Dositheus (Ivanchenko)
The iconographer Mrs Cinde Lee from London has offered to our Church this work and wishes to convey appreciation towards Mr Aidan Hart of Shropshire, UK, whose icon was use as the prototype of the one now in Sts Peter and Paul, and to Elena Antonova of the Prosopon School in Moscow who supervised the writing of this work.