The Parish Church

of

St John 

the Evangelist

Storridge

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STAINED GLASS

 

The Parish is proud of Storridge church’s east window. More arresting than some Victorian stained glass, it is full of biblical symbolism. Frederick Preedy, the Worcestershire architect who designed the church, also designed this 3-light window. Both window and church are among his very best.

 

THE UNUSUALLY WIDE CENTRE LIGHT depicts Christ crucified, but his arms appear outstretched as if welcoming and embracing. His face was described by a former rector as lovely – sad but not perplexed, because he knows what he is doing, and how it will lead to salvation for mankind. Unusually, he has a nail in each foot, both nailing the head of the serpent which led Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). The cross itself is a tree of life from which hang twelve fruits. This is a reference to Revelation 22:2: "The tree of life... yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

 

At the foot of the cross are 5 figures. Saint John the Evangelist, the patron saint of Storridge Church, sits holding a book - the Gospel that he wrote. The female figure with the green halo is Saint Mary Magdalene, above whom stands Saint Paul. In his right hand is the legend (in Latin, like all the inscriptions in the window) which translates: "Christ our Passover is Sacrificed for us". The point of his sword is pinning down the serpent’s tail, as if to shield us from its lashings as the serpent dies.

 

Opposite St Paul is a Roman soldier. Some people believe that the centurion in charge of the crucifixion was converted and became a great Christian. Preedy links him with Cornelius, a centurion whose story is in Acts 10. Opposite Mary Magdalene is the prophet Isaiah (or possibly the Ethiopian in Acts 8), holding the legend of Isaiah’s prophecy: "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter".

 

Beneath the central scene, in Latin, is written "I saw the tree of life bearing twelve fruits" beneath which is written the promise of Christ, "Et ego si exaltatus fuero a terra omnia traham ad me ipsum" in English (John 12:32), "and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all mankind unto me". It is symbolised during Holy Communion by the elevation of the consecrated bread and wine. The portrayal of his arms against the cross also suggests this drawing in of men and women to him.

 

THE LEFT SIDE-LIGHT shows Christ’s grieving mother, Saint Mary, while THE RIGHT SIDE-LIGHT depicts Saint John the Evangelist. Both are under canopies above which are angels playing harps. At the bottom of these side-lights, in Latin, is written "Jesu to you be the glory" [left side] "who was born of a virgin" [right side].

 

THE TWO ROUNDELS above Saint Mary and Saint John show the word "Alleluia" and angels wafting incense – an indication of mid-19th century interest in earlier religious practices. 

 

THE TOP ROUNDEL represents Christ himself, sometimes called the Lamb of God. The sacrificial lamb stands on an altar placed on the holy mount from which flow four rivers symbolising the four evangelists.

 

© Storridge Parochial Church Council, 2013