Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Great East Window: Te igitur Pater

photograph courtesy of Henry where there are more pictures of our wonderful glass.

Window of the Apocalypse: a secret
Those of you who read this blog regularly know my secret vice, celebrating Mass facing east. I have only started doing it at the main altar this year, and it is only since the clocks have changed and light floods through the east window that I have realised what my predecessors would have seen. Previuosly it had always been dark.
It is a visualisation of an event in the Apocalypse, the Father is enthroned above all with a background of fiery winged cherubim, seraphim zoom around in an almost demented exultation, the four beasts in pairs are either side, the Apocalypse, has them crying out "Amen", at the centre of everything is the slain triumphant lamb in glory, on either side are the elders with harps, below the Blessed Virgin kneels with the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Fr Oldiham, the first parish priest and builder of the Church kneels on her right in a green chasuble, behind him is the Church.
I do not know if it is by accident or design, but if you stand where the priest would have stood before the altar was chopped of and moved (to the marble step of the old communion rails would stood, grrrrrrr). The canopies of the reredos obscure all but the figure of the Father, so the priest would have glimpsed this when he raised his eyes to heaven, when the priest was standing at the foot of the altar, he would have seen the Lamb. All of it contained in this strange triangular shape, which could be an architectural necessity or a deliberate reference to the trinity.
I noticed only a couple of weeks ago that the six angels bearing the symbols of the passion in the spandrels of the sanctury arches look or at least appear to look at the place sacrifice, just before the tabernacle.

Our daughter parish the Sacred Heart in Hove has many shared decorative elements, I presume they used the mason or builders. It is obviously large and was more expensive, and is possibly more beautiful but I think it lacks the theological sophistication of Fr Oldiham's mind.

click picture to enlarge

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