Today the fragrance of spring is shed forth, and the new creation shall rejoice. Today the locks shall be lifted from the doors with the faithlessness of the beloved Thomas, as he shouteth out, Thou art my Lord and my God.
-Orthros of the Feast
On the second Sunday of Pascha, we inaugurate the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, and the occasion whereon the Holy Apostle Thomas touched the Savior’s side.
If the seals of the Virgin’s womb and of the grave did not hinder Thee,
How could the seals of the doors hinder Thy might, O Savior?
This day is called New Sunday, Thomas Sunday or Anti-Pascha. The last term means “in place of Pascha”, because Thomas did not hear of Christ’s Resurrection and disbelieved it. We remember his doubt but do not repeat it. After this Sunday, the Church dedicates Sunday to the Resurrection.
As the Disciples were gathered together on the Sunday following the Resurrection, Jesus entered and greeted them in His usual way, saying, “Peace be unto you.” Then He showed them His hands, feet and side. Jesus ate before His Disciples and reassured them of His Resurrection. However, Thomas was not with them at that time, and insisted upon seeing the Savior’s scars— the print of the nails in His hands and feet, and the spear in His side—before he would believe that Jesus was risen. The Master told Thomas to see and feel. Then Thomas immediately cried out, “My Lord and my God!” But Jesus tells His Disciples, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” This also clearly illustrates the two Natures of Christ: the human and the divine.
By the intercessions of Thine Apostle Thomas, O Christ our God, have mercy on us. Amen. (Synaxarion of the Feast)