April 10, 2010

Orthodox Bulgaria Marks Sunday of St. Thomas

April 10, 2010

Bulgaria marks on April 10, the Sunday after Easter or Sunday of St. Thomas, also known as Second Sunday or Antipascha.

Historically, this day in the early Church was the day that the newly-baptized Christians removed their robes and entered once again into the life of this world.

This day is also known as Antipascha. This does not mean "opposed to Pascha," but "in place of Pasch," i.e., at the other end of Bright Week.

Liturgically, the Church remembers the Apostle Thomas' vision of Christ after eight days.

Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for disbelieving Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in John 20:28.

On the eight day Christ said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 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 believe" (John 20:26-29).

In Bulgaria, on Sunday of St. Thomas women dye eggs one more time and give them away for the souls of their dead relatives and friends. The belief is that this giving away of colored eggs will prevent the latter from reincarnation.

The Second Sunday in Bulgaria is also the name day of Toma, Tomislav, Tomislava.