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Window 13: Saints Peter & Andrew

The thirteenth window in the Creation and the New Creation series of windows at the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee.

The fishermen, Peter and Andrew, being commissioned by Jesus (Matthew 4.18-20). Detail from Window 13: Saints Peter and Andrew in the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee, Scotland. Designed and made by AJ Naylor.

The fishermen, Peter & Andrew, being commissioned by Jesus (Matthew  4.18-20).

The vibrancy and abundance of Spring has come to an end. In this window, Summer, with olives, golds and yellows, is taking over, reflected in the changing colours in the Celtic-style latticework background pattern.

There is an air of ordinariness to this window in contrast to the flamboyance of Spring. This is reflected in a key event in Jesus’s ministry, featured here and in the Events in Jesus’s Ministry theme (forthcoming): the calling of the first apostles. It is portrayed in a painting of the apostles Peter and Andrew fishing from their boat on the Sea of Galilee, based on a medieval design. Variations of this story are found in all four gospels. The Matthean account reads, ‘Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him’ (Matthew 4.18-20 NASB).

Here, these two ordinary men, going about their daily business of fishing, look startled at being commissioned by Jesus. They look over their left shoulders in the direction of the voice calling them from the bank of the lake. From our perspective they are looking directly towards the altar, where Jesus Christ is present in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Andrew the fisherman becomes St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. This connection is indicated in that when the boat dips as the waves swell and subside, its mast forms a white cross set against a dark blue background – the national flag of Scotland. Perhaps more importantly, the mast and furled sail, in the shape of a cross, also foreshadows Jesus’s crucifixion which is to come.

Window 13: Saints Peter and Andrew  in the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee, Scotland. Designed and made by AJ Naylor.

Window 13: Saints Peter & Andrew.

Having chosen Peter and Andrew, Jesus went on to call James and John to follow him. Later in each of the gospel narratives, in what has been called the Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles or the Great Commission, Jesus selects twelve apostles from among his followers to be the primary teachers of his gospel message. It has been pointed out that all twelve chosen by Jesus were ordinary, even ignorant and lowly, men to demonstrate that the work of the Gospel was the work of God and not of humanity.

 

The twelve apostles are represented in the transom of this window as twelve green quarries (diamonds) in a latticework pattern against a variety of blues and clear tones. They are green to indicate fresh life in an emerging church, like new leaves or buds on a tree. Among them is the Holy Spirit, represented by a dove drawn in the style of Picasso, another connection between this window and Window 5 in which the Holy Spirit hovers over the waters of Baptism.

The transom with 12 green quarries, representing the 12 apostles, and a Picasso-esque dove as the Holy Spirit. Detail from Window 13: Saints Peter and Andrew in the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee, Scotland. Designed and made by AJ Naylor.

The transom with 12 green quarries, representing the 12 apostles, and a Picasso-esque dove as the Holy Spirit.

This scene of the fishermen in their boat connects back to Window 5: Baptism in several ways. The implied Scottish saltire just mentioned echoes the one in Window 5 that appears in a subtle play of light and dark in the Celtic latticework pattern in the transom. Both windows also feature water and fish: in Window 5, Scottish salmon can be seen leaping upriver beneath the water that

symbolises Baptism and here in this window, the two fishermen are in a boat on the sea of Galilee with little fish swimming around their net.

One of the twelve apostles was Judas, famous for betraying Jesus to the Roman authorities in the garden of Gethsemane. While Judas’s name, even today, is used synonymously with treason and betrayal, there is a sense in which his action was a necessary, though terrible, part of the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection. This paradox is contained in the fact that in this window, he is represented on the one hand by only half a quarry, but on the other hand he is located right at the top of the transom.

The theme of ordinariness continues at the bottom of the window. The flowers of Spring have gone and in their place are some simple grasses on a backdrop of olive-greens and golds. The birds here are not the more colourful birds we have met so far, such as the blue-tit and goldfinch, but plain sparrows – a house sparrow and a tree sparrow – reflective of the simple and unexceptional apostles Andrew and Peter.

The theme of ordinariness continues in the plain house sparrow and tree sparrow (plus a little honeybee). Detail from Window 13: Saints Peter and Andrew  in the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee, Scotland. Designed and made by AJ Naylor.

The theme of ordinariness continues in the plain house sparrow and tree sparrow (plus a little honeybee).

In the bottom right-hand corner of the window is a delicately painted mountain hare, the first mammal of the windows (apart from the little mouse and shrew hiding among the flowers in Windows 11 and 12). This animal belongs to the Days of Creation theme that runs through these windows and represents the sixth day on which God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind’ (Genesis 1.24). The mountain hare was chosen to represent the creatures of the land because in the UK, it is native only to the Scottish Highlands (but has been introduced into other parts and so can also be found in parts of the north of England).

Wanting to incorporate art from many different sources, Dad based his portrayal of the mountain hare on a painting by the Chinese artist Ts’ui Po (Cui Bo) painted in 1061. In the original, the hare is looking up at two jays in a tree and Dad has adapted it slightly by turning its head to look towards the altar, reflecting Andrew and Peter’s turned heads. While the jays are not visible in Dad’s reproduction of the hare, their invisible presence links this window to the three jays in Window 7: The Scottish Window.

The photo of the hare used here was taken taken shortly after the windows were installed. It shows the movement, detail and lovely colours of the hand-made glass really well. Every piece of glass in these windows is similarly hand-made, each one carefully selected to suit each theme.

Several honeybees are dotted around, including a golfing bee – another reference to one of the most important games in Scottish sporting culture and symbol of the priesthood in these windows.

Mountain hare, representing the creation of the animals on the sixth day of Creation. Detail from Window 13: Saints Peter and Andrew  in the church of Saints Leonard and Fergus, Dundee, Scotland. Designed and made by AJ Naylor.

Mountain hare, representing the creation of the animals on the sixth day of Creation.

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