March 25th is the Feast Day of St Dismas, the Good Thief.
Dismas and Gestas are the names given to the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus. The pair are referred to in the Gospel of St Luke (23:39], but are not named: 'And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise' (KJV).
In depictions of the crucifixion which include the two thieves, Dismas will always be portrayed on Christ's right side.
St Dismas is the patron saint of criminals, condemned men and, of course, thieves.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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