August 2014 - St. John New Brunswick
We made a short stop in St John on a rainy day. However, the rain held off as we strolled around downtown.
I am lucky to have a very patient husband who is willing to wait while I visit churches.
The style of architecture of the present building is Victorian Gothic, and typifies the architecture introduced in New Brunswick by the Bishop of Fredericton, John Medley, an early advocate and pioneer of this style. Medley wanted Church buildings that proclaimed the glory, beauty and mercy of God.
The church was designed by W.T. Thomas of Montreal and the contract price for both church and school house was $55,985. The walls are built of limestone of rough ashlar, laid in regular courses, with freestone trimmings on a heavy base of granite. The pillars in the nave are formed of one piece of polished grey granite, with carved capitals surmounted by freestone arches. The interior woodwork is of black ash with black walnut moldings. A severely plain exterior is relieved at the West entrance by handsome granite steps and a richly molded archway terminating in a cross over the doors.
The bell tower and steeple rise to the majestic height of 210 feet and is topped by a weathervane in the form of a six foot long wood gilt fish. The fish was the early symbol for Christianity, and is still used today.
The tower contains a clock and a ring of nine bells, a gift installed in 1882 by the City of Saint John. The clock was constructed to chime the quarters and strike the hours on the bells. By means of a carillon, tunes were played on the hours of three, six, nine, and twelve. On the largest bell, which weighs 19 cwt., is cast the following inscription:
“In Memoriam the Loyalists 1783: Faithful alike to God and the King”
From here the sermon is preached (the priest or preacher addresses the congregation and interprets the parts of the Bible which have been read from the lectern). The pulpit is made of Ohio freestone (sandstone). It is original to the building and weighs three tons, being supported by iron girders in the basement.
The organ pipes you see in the church are no longer functional. They are left over from a Casavant organ installed in 1882. After this organ apparently “fell apart” during a funeral service in 1974 it was sold to St. Dunstan’s Basilica (post to come shortly) in Prince Edward Island, where it was restored, though recently replaced It was replaced by an Allen electric organ which plays faithfully, though it is in the late autumn years of its useful life.
The lectern, in the shape of an eagle, was made by Messrs Cox and Sons in London, England. It is from here that the Holy Scriptures are read. It is partially of brass. It rests upon four lions, symbolizing Christ. The eagle (the symbol of John the Evangelist) rests upon an orb, symbolizing the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. In the ancient world the eagle was thought to be the only animal capable of gazing into the sun without blinking. John’s Gospel, more theological than the other three, can be said to look into the deep things of God, who is often symbolized by the sun. Thus John’s symbol is the eagle. One may also notice that he is the only person in the centre panel of the altarpiece who is looking directly at Christ. Incorporated into the bottom of the lectern are the symbolic animals of the other Gospel writers: the Man (St. Matthew), the Lion (St. Mark), and the Ox (St. Luke). The lectern swivels to accommodate the
Bust of Queen Victoria: Given to Trinity upon Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating the 50th year of her reign.