At John 20:22 we read:

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

One wonders how Jesus breathed on the disciples: did He do it by way of exhaling through nostrils, or by way of blowing through the mouth?

How does the Catholic Church visualize Jesus breathing over His disciples post-resurrection ?

  • Since there is no more information about this it is really open for anyone to visualize it any way they want. May 19, 2018 at 15:23
  • The Catholic Church doesn't have official teachings on most verses in the Gospels - why would one believe they do on this one? May 19, 2018 at 16:06
  • Are you asking how the iconographic tradition has depicted it?
    – Geremia
    May 19, 2018 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


St. Thomas Aquinas commentates on that verse, saying:

  1. Jesus makes them adequate for their task by giving them the Holy Spirit, "God, who has qualified us to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:6). In this giving of the Spirit, he first grants them a sign of this gift, which is, that he breathed on them. We see something like this in Genesis (2:7), when God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," of natural life, which the first man corrupted, but Christ repaired this by giving the Holy Spirit. We should not suppose that this breath of Christ was the Holy Spirit; it was a sign of the Spirit. So Augustine says, in The Trinity: "This bodily breath was not the substance of the Holy Spirit, but a fitting sign that the Holy Spirit proceeds not just from the Father but also from the Son." [De Trin., 4, ch. 20]

Thus, it appears that He breated on them in the same manner in which God breathed onto Adam (into his nostrils).

  • Thanks Rev Geremia. That answer takes the scenario to yet another level ! May 22, 2018 at 15:30
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan If this answered your question, will you accept this answer? If it didn't, please let us know how other answers can better address your question. Jul 22, 2018 at 1:26

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