Symbolism in the Windows

Information adapted from Marilyn Jackson's notes in Through a Glass Brightly —

The Heritage Windows of St. James Anglican Church

by the late Reverend Canon John D. Caird

  1. Star of David: 2 interwoven equilateral triangles. The 6 points represent the 6 days of Creation, and this star is on the coat of arms/flag of Israel.

  2. Tablets: symbolize destiny: recording of past deeds and foretelling of the future. Two tablets may also represent the Ten Commandments, depicting stability, reliability, immortality, and strength.

  3. Crown: The crown is a symbol of royal authority, and is often used for Christ, the King of Kings.

  1. Fleur de Lis: symbol of Mary; with 3 petals, it symbolizes the Trinity.

  2. Harp: a symbol of music and worship, and of David. It represents a bridge between heaven and earth, denoting the kind of harmony that should characterize our relationship with God and one another in unity of faith.

  3. Five-Petal Rose: Christmas rose, a symbol of the nativity and messianic prophecy. The symbol for love that transcends death and the resurrection.

  1. Thistle:  thistle represents defiance and austerity, symbolizes the sufferings of Christ and the martyrs.

  2. Menorah: a symbol of Old Testament worship. The 7 flames are considered symbols of the 7 gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, fear of the Lord and delight in the Lord. The 7 gifts given to the Lamb are power/strength), wealth, wisdom/knowledge, might, glory and blessing (grace and prayer). Gifts are bestowed at Confirmation with the laying on of hands.

  3. Lantern:  Christ as the Light of the World.

  1. Shell: a symbol of St. James, it denotes a pilgrimage, as pilgrims use it as a scoop for water and plate for food. It also represents baptism, regeneration, birth, life, love, and marriage and is often used during baptisms.

  2. IHS: the first 3 letters of the Greek spelling of Jesus (‘Iota, Eta, Sigma’); another interpretation is ‘Iesu Hominium Salvator’: Jesus, Saviour of Men.

  3. Serpent and Tau Cross: Tau cross (the Greek letter tau) represents the Tree of Life, stands for regeneration, hidden wisdom, divine power and rule. Serpent entwined around the tree of Life represents Christ as wisdom. Also seen as the bronze snake that Moses raised in the desert.

  1. Beehive: the Christian church, the community of those who work together for the benefit of all.

  1. Scale of Justice: represents balance, harmony, equality, and law, order and truth. The emblem of the Archangel St. Michael, who is supposed to weigh the souls of men at the last day.

The Good Samaritan

Jesus Visits Mary and Martha

All the aisle windows contain these elements:

‘Cloverleaf’: could be interpreted as a trio of trefoils, the sign of the Holy Trinity

Quatrefoil, Messianic Rose: which betokens the Ascension; the 4 leaves refer to Christ’s command to take the Gospel to the four corners of the earth.