The theme of the window is unity and light.
God said, ‘Let there be light’ (Genesis 1:V3)
‘Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:V16)
‘Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God’. (St. Benedict 6th century AD)
The central figure is that of a Cistercian monk relating to the ancient abbey and the origins of Christianity in the area where the present St. Mary’s church is situated. The monk holding a lighted lamp (a symbol of life and hope) illuminates the way forward for the Christian family to follow. Christian works and Cistercian vocations of healing (medical advance), preaching (ministry), teaching (education) and service (mission) are depicted as contemporary scenes (right and left lights).
The red cross behind is a symbol of Gods love for a new humanity.
‘One body by the cross’ (Ephesians 2:15-16).
The crown of thorns above is a reminder of Christ’s suffering. The orange sun behind reminds us that Gods love like the sun is old yet new each day. The rays radiate Gods love out and through the Holy Spirit (represented by the dove – right hand light). We in turn can pass on his gospel by expressing God’s love to those around us, ‘love one another as I have loved you’ (John 15:12), represented by people in an embrace of peace through prayer, communion and fellowship (bottom sections of all 5 lights); breaking down barriers whether sectarian, racial or cultural, people and races mixing freely serving each other in diversity and unity.
The gospels inspire and guide the faithful and are symbolised by the four winged creatures, Matthew- the angel-soaring aloft, the human aspect of Christ, Mark-lion, resurrection, Luke-the bull, sacrifice, John-the eagle, the divinity of Christ, derived from the description in Revelation 4:v7 and Ezekiel 1:v5 and after the book of Kells illustrations, these remind us of the gospel message.
The dove of the Holy Spirit and the dove of peace (right and left) throw light upon the world in the form of the rainbow becoming, through prayer, a principle of unity and light. The rainbow is a symbol of Gods covenant with His people, His rainbow promise (Genesis 9 11-13) colours blending as one. A well of living water represented by the two local rivers – the Enler and the Glen – join at a place where we constantly quench our thirst. St. Mary’s church is at the Comar, meaning the confluence of two streams (translating to Comber).
Two lilies in the tracery are a symbol of the blossoming of St. Mary’s parish, while in the centre, top right and left tracery the symbols of the pointed compass the sword and two crosses relate to the Benedictine origins of the Cistercians and to St. Patrick who arrived in the area in 432AD.
The egg shape behind the central cross represents the tomb and Christ’s resurrection from the dead in a broken world, light emerging from darkness, while the butterflies (tracery extreme left and right) emphasise resurrection and renewal.
The movement and energy of the design is generated from the cross outwards to draw together all the elements of the narrative.
Local references are included, flax flower and linen (millwork), wooden barrel (whiskey distilling), barley (agriculture). The nearby Nendrum site is represented by the tower and sun dial, the sun dial reminds us of the nine Cistercian prayer times of the monastic day, while the bell and crosier of Mochaoi of Nendrum symbolises the call to Christians through the centuries, past, present and future, to join in unity through the light of Gods love.