The Cathedral’s Stained Glass Windows

“Praise Him!”

The art of the stained glass window reached its golden age with the discovery of the gothic arch and the creation of the great gothic churches of the medieval era. The weight of the roof was passed onto the pillars and buttresses, so walls were relieved of the burden, and could be pierced, almost replaced, with great walls of glass. The result was to fill the nave of the church with dazzling hues, and to provide artists with an unparalleled opportunity to create great murals of light and colour unlike anything seen before.

For the Church, in an era before widespread literacy, this was an opportunity to tell the stories of the faith; images of Christ, the lives of the saints, and the stories of the Bible were spread before the faithful as an inspiring and dramatic sanctuary within which to celebrate the mysteries of the Faith and the Sacraments.

So the stained glass window became a part of the spiritual heritage of Christendom. The custom and the heritage are continued at St. Michael’s in several windows that span the history of the building, from 1913 to the most recent installation in 2000.

The Light of the World

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20) This window is based on the painting of this name by the Pre-Raphaelite William Holman Hunt (1827-1910), which was immensely popular in the late Victorian period. Notable in this window is that the door has no visible handle, suggesting that it is necessary for the individual on the other side to act, to admit Christ into one’s heart. Here Christ appears as King, and carries the Light of Truth. The window was given in memory of Frederick Arthur Taylor. He was actively involved in the building of the present church and laid the cornerstone in 1911. A plaque commemorating this is let into the stone wall at the entrance to the church grounds.

Christ and the Children

“Let the little children come to me. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it”. (Mk 10:14-15) This window was dedicated in 1970 in loving memory of Cecil Bolton.

St. Cecilia: Martyr

St. Cecilia’s origins are very obscure. While she is believed to have lived in the late Roman Empire, the church does not mention her until the 9th Century. She is credited with converting her husband Valerian to the Faith, and like him, being martyred for that Faith. She is regarded as the patron saint of music, because she heard heavenly music at the time of her marriage! She is usually depicted with an organ or pipes, as in this window. The window was installed in 1948 in memory of Reverend C. E. Davis, the second rector of St. Michael and All Angels. He was a priest and musician. During his tenure the church had a renowned choir for men and boys. Her feast day is November 22.

St. Luke: Evangelist, Physician and Martyr

St. Luke, author of the Third Gospel, is depicted holding the scroll of his Gospel, and also the mortar and pestle symbolizing his profession. The window was presented to the Cathedral by Brian McCarthy and his family in memory of his wife Julie, a nurse, and a long-time member of the parish. It was dedicated on Advent Sunday, November 30, 1997. St. Luke’s feast day is October 18.

St. John: The Beloved Disciple

The window depicts St. John, author of the Fourth Gospel, holding a chalice. St. John was Jesus’ beloved disciple, brother of St. James. He stood at the foot of the cross with the three Marys. Jesus gave his mother into John’s keeping. It is believed he was martyred with St. James.

In legend, an attempt was made to poison St. John, but when he made the sign of the cross over the chalice, the devil, in the form of a snake or dragon, fled from the cup. His feast day is December 27.

This is the oldest window in the Cathedral, having being installed in the previous building in 1910, and then moved to the present building at its dedication in 1913.

The Great East Window

Supper at Emmaus

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” (Luke 24:30-31)

The window is in four panels. In the centre two we find Christ and his two hosts, at the moment of the breaking of bread. In the left panel is St. Michael, and in the right St. Patrick.

This window was dedicated in 1946 by Archbishop W. R. Adams in memory of The Venerable Thomas Greene, a long serving rector of the parish. The Venerable Thomas Greene was Irish, hence St. Patrick in the window.

The window has particular significance to the faithful as a reminder of the breaking of bread that takes place in the Eucharist celebrated at the Communion Table below the window, and of Christ’s mystical presence in that Eucharist.

The Resurrection

The text below the window reads, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Christ in white is portrayed in glory in front of the tomb, with his right hand, showing the wound, raised in blessing. Some of the shroud still surrounds him. Note the sleeping soldiers behind him. In the distance are the three crosses, now empty. In his left hand he holds a banner, symbolic of victory, emblazoned with a cross in red, the colour symbolic of his sacrifice, and prefiguring the fire of Pentecost.

This window was dedicated in 1979 in loving memory of William and Dorothy Jackson by their son Canon Alan Jackson and daughter Dorothy Davies.

The Okanagan Annunciation

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin [whose] name was Mary.” (Luke 1: 26-27)

In the central panel we see Mary in the garden with the Holy Spirit descending upon her in the form of a dove and beam of heavenly light. In the left hand panel is the Archangel Gabriel, the Heavenly messenger. One of the seven Archangels, Gabriel ranks second only to Michael. On the right, is a stand with a scroll open to Isaiah 7:14 – “A young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel.”

The Annunciation is one of the most popular themes in Christian Art. This version of the story uses local flora and scenery to locate the event in the Okanagan Valley. Common to all three panels is Lake Okanagan and its surrounding hills. In the right-hand panel we see an apple tree as the Tree of Life, and as a reminder of the local industry. Across the bottom of all three panels are scattered the golden flowers of the Arrowleaf Balsam Root, which are so much a part of the Okanagan springtime.

While the window is a magnificent representation of the Biblical story, it functions spiritually as a reminder of God’s entry into our lives in the “here and now”. In this sense it matches the East Window that it faces, which also focuses on Christ’s presence “here and now” in the Eucharist.

A fund to create this window was started by Scott Pittendrigh, a former member of the parish, in memory of his mother Kay Pittendrigh. It was supported by many, many other people over time, with the centre panel being installed in October of 1994, followed by the left panel in May and the right panel in November of 1995.

Sing Praise to God!

The commemoration of the Annunciation is March 25.

Installed in 1998 – 2000, this series of four windows in praise of God as seen through the natural Creation draws its inspiration from the Song of Three, found in the Apocrypha. In Jewish custom the Song was traditionally inserted between Daniel 3:23 and 3:24, and is presented as a song of glorification of God by the three faithful who were cast into the furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. Anglicans know it as the Benedicite Omnia Opera, a part of Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer.

“Let the earth bless the Lord, let it sing praise to Him and highly exalt Him forever.”

Each window expands on a line in the Song:

Bless the Lord all that grows in the ground
Bless the Lord . . .all that swims in the waters
Bless the Lord all birds of the air
Bless the Lord, all wild animals and cattle
Bless the Lord all that grows in the ground
Bless the Lord . . .all that swims in the waters
Bless the Lord all birds of the air
Bless the Lord, all wild animals and cattle