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Thomas, Saint

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Thomas, also called Didymus (twin), was one of the twelve *apostles. He is popularly known as “Doubting Thomas” because of his prag- matic disbelief in (1) the *Resurrection of *Christ and (2) the *Assumption of the Virgin *Mary. In both cases (the former canonical, the latter from apocryphal sources), Thomas was not present when Christ first appeared after his *death and when the Virgin ascended to *heaven. Thomas needed to be personally convinced of these events, which proof Christ effected by prompting Thomas to touch the wound in his side and which the Virgin offered by throwing down her belt from heaven. The former story (from *John 20:19-29) was especially popular in medieval art; Thomas the skeptic stands before Christ, who displays his wounds and encourages or even guides Thomas in the convincing physical contact.

Apocryphal tales concerning Thomas, illustrated especially in the Gothic period, recount his travels to and missionary work in India. One legend describes how he was commissioned by King Gundaphorus to construct a palace, received payment in advance, and gave the money to the poor. He then told the king that the palace had been built in heaven, which event was attested by the king’s dead brother, who miraculously returned to life. Thomas is thus the patron of architects and can be identified in art by his attribute: the architect’s T-square. Additional legends tell that he was martyred near Madras in India by being stabbed with lances.

Thompson, Clara Mildred (1881–1975) - Franklin Delano Roosevelt/Reconstruction History [next] [back] Thomas-Graham, Pamela - Group president for Liz Claiborne, Career, Sidelights, Selected writings, Novels

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