STAIN GLASS WINDOW

Stain Glass Window

EVEN COLOURS IN GLASS WINDOWS HAVE A MEANING

Not only the patterns but also the colours used have meaning in the glass window which is installed behind the altar of St Jerome’s Church, Punchbowl.

The blue glass sloping from the Cross to the base of the window gives the effect of rays, and these represent the rays of graces descending from the Cross to the faithful.  Interposed around the blue glass is red glass, meaning love, blood, suffering and martyrdom.  This red glass also forms the Cross. The glass used in the window is pure glass and not artificially coloured, and has been imported from France and assembled in Australia.

The window frame is made of steel to a specified size and shape and alone has an approximate weight of one tonne. The glass has been set into this frame with concrete and not lead as usually used, and the combined weight of glass and concrete is approximately 3½ tonnes.

Included in this window is the shape of a Cross which has no figure incorporated in its design. Entwined around this Cross is a vine or tree.  This vine or tree symbolises the Tree of Life and is an age-old symbol with two meanings:

 

TREE IN GLASS

The theme of the window is the “Christian Tree of Life”.  The “Tree of Life” is an age-old pre-Christian symbol.  It entered a Christian symbolism through the New Testament in which the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden was associated with Original Sin.  At the same time the tree is a symbol of human desire to grow to perfection and to bring fruits of sustenance.  In Christian symbolism the Cross of Golgotha became the new Tree of Life which cancelled out Original Sin make in this sense Christ the New Adam.

The Tree of Life shown in brown coloured glass is made in the form of a cross with the stem or trunk and the branches forming the cross-section. At the top of the cross two letters are shown – “XP”, which are of Greek origin and translated from the letters “PHP” which mean “Christ becomes the new Tree of Life”.  This vine or tree entwined around the Cross represents also life and grace.

The two letters which have been incorporated on either side of the crossbar of the Cross are Alpha and Omega, the first and the last letters of the Greek Alphabet.  The Hebrews used these letters to symbolise the fullness “The Eternity of God”.  The Christians inherited this tradition and used ALPHA and OMEGA to express their belief that in Jesus the Son of God is to be found all grace and truth.  It also has the meaning that the Mass begins and ends with the sign of the Cross.  Also that Christ is the beginning and end of life.

 

CONCRETE GLASS

The window has been executed in comparatively new technique of concrete glass of which this is one of the first ever made in Australia.  The material is inch think column slabs of glass imported from France which is set into reinforced concrete almost like a broad translucent mosaic.  To make these glasses sparkle, the inner surface of some of them is faceted; therefore the technique is at times called faceted glass mosaic, too. 

The window was designed by Sydney architect Mr Sydney Hirst and was assembled by Mr Stephen Moor.