A risen Christ hides in plain sight

Designed and produced by Irish artist Wilhelmina Margaret Geddes, St. Bartholomew’s East Memorial Window commemorates soldiers killed during the First World War. Photo: Barry Walker
Published March 1, 2023

The Anglican Journal continues Capturing the Light, its series of readers’ photo and text submissions on stained-glass windows. Send us a photo of a stained-glass window that has been especially important to you, and tell us why. Photos should be high resolution files in jpg format. Please email them to [email protected]. Submissions are subject to editing.

This image of the resurrected Christ forms part of the East Memorial Window. Can you find it in the photo above? Photo: Kevin McQuinn

Since 1972 I have worshipped at the Church of St. Bartholomew in Ottawa’s New Edinburgh neighbourhood and have enjoyed the beauty and wonder of the East Memorial Window. Only now do I have a more complete understanding of its genesis and message. Commissioned by Canada’s 10th Governor General, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, to commemorate the members of his staff at Rideau Hall who fell in the Great War, it was unveiled in 1919 by the then Prince of Wales. It had been designed and made by the young Irish artist, Wilhelmina Margaret Geddes (1887-1955), who titled it The Welcoming of a Slain Warrior by Saints, Champions and Angels.

The years took their toll on the window, and the parish launched a major capital campaign in 2021 to finance its refurbishment. On Sunday Nov. 6, 2022, almost 103 years to the day after its original unveiling, Canon David Clunie rededicated the restored window at a moving and well-attended Remembrance service. In parallel with the restoration, a team of parish volunteers researched, wrote and produced a 50-minute historical documentary video, In the Company of Angels, about the window, the life of Wilhelmina Geddes and the significance of Canada’s memorials from the Great War.

Remembrance services at St. Bart’s have often featured sermons about the sacrifice of Canada’s veterans and the East Memorial Window. In the last decade, through his own reflections and insights, Canon Clunie helped us discover and see more clearly the resurrected Christ on the banner of St. Longinus. It is “hidden in plain sight” on his standard in the centre panel of this magnificent window. Many more elements, both religious and mythical, are included in Geddes’s masterful work. Now fully restored, the window is preserved so that generations to come may enjoy discovering its beauty, complex iconography and meaning. It is a memorial which portrays for all time grief and sacrifice in periods of war, as well as the redemption represented by Christus Rex.

Meriel Beament Bradford
Church of St. Bartholomew


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