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Dorcas

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Raising of Tabitha

Section of Healing of the Cripple and Raising of Tabitha by Masolino da Panicale, 1425.

Dorcas (also known as Tabitha) was a disciple who lived in Joppa, referenced in [1] of the Bible. Acts recounts that when she died, she was mourned by "all the widows ... crying and showing (Peter) the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.".[2] This may indicate that Dorcas was a widow, or at the very least that she joined the widows in their works of charity. The disciples present called upon Peter who came from nearby Lydda to the place where her wake was being held and raised her from the dead.

This narrative concerning Tabitha/Dorcas indicates her prominence in community at Joppa. This might also be indicated by the fact that Peter took the trouble to come to her from a neighbouring city, when requested by the community members.

The name Dorcas is Greek translation of the Aramaic name Tabitha, meaning "gazelle". One species of gazelle is now known as the dorcas gazelle. She is commemorated with Lydia of Thyatira and Phoebe on January 27 in the Calendar of Saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and on October 25 in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Dorcas, along with Lydia of Thyatira and Phoebe, is honoured with a feast day on the liturgical of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America on January 27.

Depictions of Dorcas in art are very rare, but she is represented in a window in the apse of Christ Church, Bath; in a window on the south side of St Peter's Church, Caversham; in the sacristy of Calvary Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh); in Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff; in St Leonard's Church, Bridgnorth;in a window in Castleton Parish Church, Derbyshire; and in an oriel window at the Head Office of Retail Trust in north London. Dorcas and Cornelius are represented on the stained glass windows above the altar in the Emmanuel Anglican Church in Lawson. (NSW Australia). The Ladychapel of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin has a window of her with the legend: "Dorcas this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds".

See also

Verses

  1. Acts 9:36-42 (Link)
  2. Acts 9:39 (Link)

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