This scene is based on the episode from the Gospel of John (John 20: 24–9), in which the raised Jesus appeared to his disciples and Thomas, who after touching the Savior’s wounds believed in His true resurrection.

On the first evening after the Resurrection, when the doors of the house where the disciples gathered were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus appeared and convinced his disciples he had truly risen. When Thomas came, other disciples said to him “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them: "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” Eight days later, when His disciples were in his house, Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came, stood among them and said: “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas: "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." According to tradition, apart from Christ and Thomas, the icon represents the apostles who had seen the risen Christ (John 20: 19–23).

Christ is depicted in the central part of the icon, against the locked doors. On either side of him, in compact groups, stand ten apostles. To the left of Christ is the Apostle Thomas holding out his hand to Christ and touching his pierced side.

Among the earliest icons depicting this scene is a late 15th century tablet icon from the St. Sophia Cathedral in Novgorod (the Novgorod State United Museum), an icon by Dionysius dated 1500 from the Holy Trinity Church of the Pavlo-Obnorsky Monastery (State Russian Museum), an icon from the Morozov collection (ca. 1500, State Tretyakov Gallery), an icon from the Tikhvin Monastery dated to the 1560s, from the State Russian Museum collection, an icon of the second half of the 16th century from the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Suzdal.

The event is commemorated on the first Sunday after Easter (Sunday of St. Thomas).

Zhanna G. Belik,

Ph.D. in Art history, senior research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum, custodian of the tempera painting collection.

Olga E. Savchenko,

research fellow at the Andrei Rublyov Museum.


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