Silos-Thomas-2The Apparition of Christ to Saint Thomas is rarely depicted in Romanesque sculpture. A short distance south of pilgrimage road near Burgos in Castile, the cloister piers of the Benedictine Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos all feature large scale images of the Resurrected Christ.

On the north eastern corner the Journey to Emmaus is twinned with the Apparition of Christ to the Apostle Thomas. This story is told in only one of the gospel texts, the Gospel according to St John in Chapter 20, 24-9.

Silos-Thomas-4After the Crucifixion, and the subsequent Discovery of the Empty Tomb, the risen Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and then on the same day to an assembly of the disciples inside a house where they have collected for fear of persecution.

Only Thomas is absent and when told of the Resurrection he declares that only by placing his own hand inside the wound in Christ’s side will he be convinced of the Resurrection.Silos-Thomas-3

It is eight days later that Christ appears again before the assembled disciples and offers his wound to Thomas.

Christ then says to him that he can believe now he has seen for himself but that, “blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed”.

This episode is extolling the virtues of faith. At Santo Domingo de Silos the image, taken from a Byzantine original source, depicts the scene taking place before the other Apostles.