Fairhaven Memorial Church

Stained Glass Sanctuary Windows
designed by Robert Reid

American Impressionist Painter, 1862-1929

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The side windows

 

 

 

 

                        

            

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

                        

 

The Sermon on the Mount

 

 

INTERESTING FEATURES AND SYMBOLS USED IN THE WINDOWS

In the windows representing the Beatitudes are some portraits from life. The central figure in clerical robe in the center panel of "Blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness", portrays the features of Dr. Robert Collyer. For many years he was pastor of the Church of the Messiah, now the Community Church, in New York City, and a very close friend of Mr. Rogers. He selected the verses upon the windows and walls of the parish house, and no doubt exerted a strong influence otherwise in the erection and design of the church.

The two girlish figures in the outer panels of "Blessed are the pure in heart" bear the likeness of a daughter and a granddaughter of Mr. Rogers - that at the right his daughter, Millicent, and at the left his granddaughter, Beatrice M. Benjamin. Millicent Rogers died at the age of eighteen. Her father built the Library in her memory and gave it to the town in the name of her brother and sisters. The granddaughter was fourteen years of age when the windows were made.

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The symbols of the twelve apostles in the aisle windows show some distinctive characteristic or the instru­ment of their martyrdom.

On the north side, the Crossed Keys symbolize St. Peter. Two keys denote his power to bind or to loose; or again, one as the key of Heaven, the other of Hell. When a third key appears it symbolizes his power over the Earth also. Tradition says St. Peter was given the key to Paradise with the power to grant or refuse admission.

Next is St. Andrew, showing the Transverse Cross, which tradition tells is like upon which he died. Owing to its peculiar shape he was fastened to it with cords instead of nails, and he was then scourged to death.

St. John shows the Chalice with the Serpent. He is often called St. John the Divine, beloved of the Master, from whom his life seems to have been inseparable ever after he was called. John was one of those who witnessed the transfiguration. He leaned upon the bosom of our Lord at the Last Supper. He stood by the Cross in that last hour, and received his charge concerning Mary. It was St. John, with Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who laid the body of our Lord in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. It was not until after the death of Mary that he travelled afar. He went with Peter through Judea, preaching the Gospel and converting many. In Asia Minor he founded seven churches at Ephesus. He was a vigorous preacher, and was bitterly persecuted by Domitian, and legends tell of many miraculous escapes from death at his hands. Regarding his symbol, the cup with the serpent, it is stated that Domitian, after many futile attempts to put John to death, caused poison to be put into the sacramental cup. When he took the cup, the poison came out in the form of a serpent, and John drank the wine unhurt, while the poisoner fell dead at his feet. The Apostle was afterwards accused of magic and exiled to Patmos, where he is said to have written Revelation. Mter the death of Domitian, he returned to his church at Ephesus, and there at the age of ninety he is believed to have written his gospel. He is thought to have died there a natural death at the age of probably a hundred years. An old eastern legend tells that St. John did not die. It attributes to him a miraculous ascension, founded no doubt upon the words of Jesus to Peter, John XLL, 21,22 St. James Major, the Shell. Tradition tells little of St. James Major during his life, and the stories are contra­dictory. Reports of miracles performed by him and in his name after his death are numerous. He was much with our Lord, and witnessed many of the eventful scenes of his life. He established the Christian faith in Spain, and is the Patron Saint of that country. On ac­count of his frequent pilgrima"ges into Judea he was call­ed the Pilgrim Apostle, and as such is often shown with the pilgrim staff and wallet. Bitterly persecuted by the Jews, he was put to death by Herod. 

St. Philip, the Triple Cross. Beyond the fact that Philip was the first called to follow the Saviour, little is told of him in the Gospels. Tradition states that after the death of Christ he preached in Scythia twenty years. Going to Hieropolis in Phrygia, he found the people there wor­shipping a huge serpent or dragon, deeming it a personi­fication of Mars. Taking pity on their ignorance, Philip held up the cross and commanded the serpent to disap­pear. Immediately it glided from beneath the altar, send­ing forth so dreadful an odor that many died, among them the son of the King; but Philip restored him to life. The King and his son became converts. The priests of the Serpent crucified Philip, and stoned him on the cross. His symbol, the Cross, varies in form. It has three signi­fications. It may represent the power of the cross which he held before the dragon, or his martyrdom, or his mission as preacher of the Cross of Christ.

St. Bartholomew, the Knife. After the ascension of our Lord, St. Bartholomew wandered through India carrying the Gospel of St. Matthew. He preached in Armenia and Silicia. He suffered a horrible death at Albanopolis, being first flayed and then crucified. His symbol is a large knife. Sometimes he has his own skin hanging over his arm.

On the south side of the church, beginning at the east­ern end, the first figure is St. Paul. His symbol is the Downturned Sword. Stories of his life have furnished inexhaustible subjects for church art. Two swords are often assigned to him; the one upturned or held aloft signifies his fight for the faith; the downturned sword is the symbol of his martyrdom.

St. Simon, whose symbol is the Saw. One tradition tells that St. Simon was one of the shepherds to whom the birth of Jesus was revealed. The legends are rather contradictory, but all agree as to the manner of his death, t?at he was sawed into pieces.

St. Matthew, the Open Book. Early traditions placed St. Matthew first among the Evangelists, as the author of the first gospel. Later traditions contradict this. He is often given a large purse as his symbol, signifying Levi, the tax-gatherer. The Scriptures tell that when Christ called, Matthew immediately left all else to obey; and he made a great feast in his house, at which Jesus with his disciples sat with publicans and sinners to the horror of the Jews. Mter the separation of the Apostles, Matthew preached twenty-three years in Egypt and Ethiopia. The manner of his death is doubtful. The Greek legend says he died peacefully, but the western traditions say be suf­fered martyrdom in the time of Domitian.

St. James Minor, the Scroll and Fuller's Club. This saint frequently was called St. James the Just. His mother was a sister of the Virgin Mary; thus he was cousin to the Saviour, but often was styled "the Lord's brother". He is said to have borne a striking resemblanCe . to Jesus, so close that they were at times mistaken for each other, and it was this circumstance which made necessary the kiss of Judas. The epistle of James be­speaks the piety and love for which he was venerated. He is distinguished as the first Christian Bishop of Jeru­salem. The Jews hurled him from one of the terraces of the Temple, and as he fell his brains were beaten out with a fuller's club, which instrument of his death is his proper attribute in works of Church art.

St. Jude, the Halbred, or Spear. St. Jude, Thaddeus or Lebbeus, is said to have been a brother of St. Simon. They went about together preaching the Gospel in Syria and Mesopotamia, and were martyred in Persia, St. Jude being pierced with the spear. He is often shown with arrows in his body, as one tradition declares he was shot with arrows after being pierced with the spear. 

St. Thomas, the Builder's Rule, or Square. St. Thomas was a Gallilean fisherman. He appears to have been affectionate and self-sacrificing. "Let us go also that we may die with him." But so great was his incredulity that he has always been remembered for that rather than for his other characteristics. According to tradition, he travelled very far into the East, founded a church in India, and met the three Magi, whom he baptized. The legend, according him as a symbol the builder's square, is that when Thomas was at Caesarea, he had a vision in which Christ appeared and told him that Gondoforus, King of the Indies, had sent his provost to find an archi­tect to build him a palace more gorgeous than that of the Roman emperor. Jesus desired St. Thomas to under­take this labor. Gondoforus gave Thomas much treas­ure and after commanding the building of the magni­ficent palace, went to a distant country and remained two years. Thomas did not build a palace, but gave all the riches with which he had been entrusted to the poor and sick. When the King returned he was very angry and ordered that St. Thomas should be cast into prison, there to await the most tortuous death his mind could conceive. At this time the brother of the King died Four days later, runs the legend, he sat upright and spoke to the King, saying, "The man whom thou wouldst tor­ture is a servant of God; behold, I have been in Paradise, and the angels showed to me a wondrous palace of gold and silver and precious stones; and they said, 'This is the palace that Thomas the architect hath built for thy brother, King Gondoforus'." Whereupon the King has­tened to the prison to liberate Thomas. The Apostle said, "Knowest thou not that those who would possess heavenly things have little care for the things of this earth? There are in Heaven rich palaces without number, which were prepared from the beginning of the world for those who purchase their possessions through faith and charity. Thy riches, 0 King, may prepare the way for thee to such a palace, but they cannot follow thee there."

The windows in the south porch bear the symbols of the Evangelists. Individual application of these would be:

St. Matthew, The Cherub, which most resembles a human being, was given to St. Matthew because he speaks more of the human than of the divine nature of our Saviour. St. Mark. The Winged Lion was accorded to St. Mark because he speaks of the kingly qualities of Christ. The king of beasts is a type of the royal dignity of Christ which St. Mark makes so apparent. According to an oriental tradition, young lions are bom dead and after three days are made alive by the breath or the roar of the sire; thus they are an emblem of the Resurrection, of which St. Mark is called the historian.

St. Luke. The Winged Ox. The ox was assigned to St. Luke because he especially sets forth the priest­hood of Christ, and the ox is symbolical of sacrifice.

St. John. The Eagle, an emblem of the lofty flights of John's inspiration.

Thus they represent the fourfold character of Chri as man, king, high-priest, and God. Shown together as the four beasts of the Apocalypse, they are regarded l shadowing forth the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrectio: and Ascension of Jesus.

Other small windows bear the lily, cross, crown, and other motifs.

 

 


Sayings on the Parish Wall Windows

Index Page: Memorial Church webpage 

  Exterior Sculptures     Building Exterior    Stained Glass Windows    Interior

ArtEncyclopedia: Robert Reid


Christmas at the Memorial Church        Fairhaven        DanaMorris.net

 

 

 

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