Explore The Church
THE ST NICHOLAS WINDOW
To the right of the Seale Window is a window depicting St Nicholas, to whom our daughter church of St Nicholas at Grève d’Azette was dedicated in 1927. This window was made by John Hall & Sons of Bristol and supplied and fitted by H. A. Anderson of 7 Waterloo Street, St Helier in 1951. Nicholas was a 4th century bishop of Myra in Asia Minor, and so he is shown here with his crook and mitre, the symbols of his office. He was an extremely popular saint in both East and West, and became the patron saint of Russia, children, sailors, unmarried girls, merchants, pawnbrokers, bakers, apothecaries and perfumers. He was also the origin of Santa Claus. Nicholas is often associated with the number three. The three bags he is holding in this window refers to the belief that he gave three bags of gold to three young women as marriage dowries to save them from loose living. The pawnbroker’s sign (three golden balls) also appears to have been derived from this legend. The lighthouse indicates that he is the patron saint of sailors, as he is said to have saved the lives of three sailors near the coast of Turkey. It is appropriate that someone such as this should be patron saint of a church that is so close to the sea. Saints, too, are beacons; beacons of faith.
The Old Testament tells how the land could be both a blessing and a curse for the people of Israel, depending on how they loved the Lord and their neighbours. This window reminds us that the sea has been a source of wealth and prosperity for parishioners down the centuries, but the lighthouse shows that it has also been an ever-present danger.
As we leave St Nicholas, we may wonder what things in our lives have the potential to be both a blessing and a curse, and why that might be.