The Resurrection Stained Glass Windows

The window celebrating the Risen Christ and the Good News of Easter is in the transept, which runs east and west. It is on the wall nearest the chapel and was one of the first windows created for the new Christ Church that opened in 1910. It is a large window with three lancets and measures 18 feet 6 inches by 15 feet in total. It was designed and made by Heaton, Butler and Bayne in London in memory of Clarence Melville Hyde who lived from 1846 to 1908. Mr. Hyde and his brother had summer homes in Greenwich, one of which stood where Greenwich Country Day School is located. That area was known as Hyde Park. The Hyde family were among the early Europeans to arrive on the east coast, coming in 1632. Mr. and Mr. C. M. Hyde were active supporters of Christ Church and the rector, the Reverend  Matthew George Thompson, who was the initiator of the design and building of our current church.

There are three main levels of the Resurrection window. Starting at the top, the first is Heaven with an angel  in a small lancet just above the highest point of the middle lancet. This angel is awaiting the ascension of Christ, the subject of another window. God is on a throne at the top of the main, center lancet holding an orb with a cross and a rod or scepter, which are symbols of divine sovereignty, absolute authority, and  the English monarchy. Then there is Christ, risen but not yet ascended, and at the bottom, Earth.  Christ is holding the banner of St. George, slayer of dragons and death, in this left hand and is flanked by angels in the narrower side lancets. Jerusalem is in the distance. In Earth just below Christ are the soldiers guarding his tomb. They look at up the Christ in awe and fear. Below them are Isaiah, Paul and John, each in a different lancet. They are holding a banner with the opening words of The Burial of the Dead from Rite 1: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whoever liveth in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

There are many details that tell us this window was designed in an English studio. The English style of using filigree, horizontal and vertical planes, and vibrant colors, especially the blues, reds and whites, plus the use of flowers signal that it is English. It is the only window in Christ Church that depicts a delphinium, a very English flower. Lilies and daisies are also in the design, signifying resurrection and innocence and purity, respectively. The palm fronds represent triumph and the cedars healing

The level of detail in the windows is also worth noting. English windows are known for their intricate designs. The armor of the soldiers standing watch, the nail marks in the hands and feet of Christ, and the flowers are remarkable, especially considering how far away we are when viewing this window.

May we all celebrate the message of Easter morning this year whether we do in person or via technology with the strong hope that next year we will all be together watching the stone roll away.

Karen Royce