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Bossanyi Window

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These four windows were installed in 1960 in the south eastern transept, the previous ones having been destroyed in WWII. These dramatic windows take their name from the designer, Ervin Bossanyi, a Hungarian who had suffered in both World Wars; his work is internationally famous (Image 1).

 

The lower left window is titled ‘Salvation’ and has many symbolic references (Image 2). From the top; IHS is the Greek for Jesus; the two doves on the roundels are heavenly messengers taking the news of liberation to the world; on either side the two prison gates have been flung open by the angel above, metal and chain fragments fly at the impact, a reference to WWII  (Image 3). The small padlock on the centre left just below a glazing bar has a swastika for a key hole, another WWII reference (Image 4). Between the doors the liberated prisoner is being greeted by his wife and daughter. Two other prisoners are below, one holding a bible showing his faith. There are many other references such as the candle bringing light and guidance and a serpent symbolising corruption and temptation.

 

The lower right hand window is titled ‘Peace’ and shows Christ and is similarly full of symbolism. Again from the top: the two lozenges show ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’, the beginning and the end of all. The triple halo above Christ’s heads shows power, love and grief; Christ’s hands are over large showing generosity whilst the red holes are the stigmata, from the nails of the cross. The children of different nationalities represent the people of the world and their brotherhood. Each child has a word in Chinese, Greek, English and, Sanskrit, each meaning brother or sister, they are difficult to see without binoculars (Image 5)

 

Among other symbols included are: the dove, a sign of peace, Wheat suggesting bountifulness. The central two children offer flowers to Christ, the left flower is a (western) water lily whilst the right one offers a (eastern) lotus (Image 6)

The upper left window represents Christ walking on the water and the right window shows St Christopher and both these smaller windows have symbolic references.

 

What to see:

 

  • In the left window, the small padlock on the centre left just below a glazing bar has a swastika for a key hole, a reminder that Bossanyi lost many of his family in the Holocaust (Image 4)

  • In the right window, the triple halo above Christ’s heads shows power, love and grief; Christ’s hands are over large showing generosity whilst the red holes are the stigmata, from the nails of the cross (Image 7)

 

Sources:  see standard cathedral sources

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