The twelve thin stained glass windows which are such a feature of the nave, flanking the image of the crucifixion above the altar, depict Jesus’s twelve apostles.  Although of course they are not the exact same twelve that Jesus knew – given the events just before Jesus’s death, one of them, Judas, was not likely to get his own window.  So Judas is replaced with St Matthias, who was nominated to replace him as the twelfth apostle after the death of Jesus.  All the saints have been placed in the church so that their eyes are turned towards Christ in the centre.

From left to right the windows are: St James (the younger) and St Simon, St Bartholomew and St Philip, St Andrew and St Peter,  St James (the older) and St John, St Thomas and St Mathew, St Jude and St Matthias.  (Click to zoom).

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In the centre is the larger Crucifixion Window – showing Christ with Mary (his mother) at his feet, Mary Magdalene and St John the Evangelist:

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The saints are shown with an object to help identify them, some associated with their professions.  Given my profession as an architectural historian, my favourite is St Thomas, the patron saint of architects, (better known as Doubting Thomas), who is shown with a set square, as seen below:


These windows are almost as old as the church – the central crucifixion window was installed at the time the church was opened in 1866, and these apostle windows not longer after.  Tradition says that Caroline Abraham donated the crucifixion window and Bishop Abraham all the others, although there appears to be no documentary evidence of this. The designs were probably drawn and the windows manufactured by Lavers and Barraud of London.

For more views of some of the windows in the church, see this video on Youtube.  Images by Elizabeth Cox and Paul Scott, (Paul’s images used with permission and are copyright: ).

Source: Information from Heritage New Zealand