Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Stained Glass Project: The cowardly dragon

As a kid I always loved dinosaurs, monsters, dragons, all that stuff. That's something that didn't wear off as I got older.

Going to church at Our Lady of Czestochowa in Nanticoke was something like being inside of a storybook, with the figures on the stained-glass windows like huge, illuminated illustrations. One of my favorites has always been the rearmost pair of windows on the left side of the church, featuring St. Leo and St. George.

Now, everyone knows who St. George is: knight in shining armor, patron saint of England, fought a dragon. (In reality almost nothing is known about him for certain, but that's myth-making for you!) And it's obvious St. Leo is someone important, and from his pointy hat and walking stick he's probably a bishop. (Actually, the crozier he's holding is one that would be carried by the Pope at a specific time in history; he is in fact Pope Leo, as explained here.)

(...hmmm. Seems that what I'm saying right now isn't a sudden realization, but actually a thought I considered and discarded years ago. Anyhow...)

So, bottom line: there's no real reason for there to be a dragon in the window with St. Leo. He wasn't associated with one, or with anything resembling one, especially one that would be literally hiding behind his skirts. But St. George was. And he killed it, with the spear he's holding, which is noticeably free of dragon gore. So now I have decided, after all these years, that this pair of windows is truly a pair of windows, and the dragon hiding behind St. Leo is actually hiding from St. George!

This wouldn't be the only visual joke in these windows. I believe the rector of the church at the time of its construction, the man responsible for building the church and having the windows installed, is also depicted in another window purportedly of his namesake saint.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Huh. The dragon does look a bit scared, doesn't it? I guess the title does the dragon justice!