St. Thomas: Interior
When you first enter the church it is the Reredos which strikes you. But look around,
the Church has many treasures.
The entry, or narthex, was redone was a thank offering for peace after
The floor is of inlaid marble and at the center is a large mosaic showing
the glove and cross with tan marble continents and bits of glass for seas. "Peace on
earth to men of goodwill" encloses this.
The oak ceiling is supported by six stone corbels. The inner four
represent the four seasons and those at the corners, the four ancient Greek elements,
earth, air, fire and water.
|World War 1 Memorial
from the nave is the WWI Memorial sculpted by Lee Lawrie. At the top, the Archangel
Michael drives his lance into the dragon, which represents evil. Below is an exceptionally
strong relief of American soldiers going from America, represented by St. Thomas Church on
the left, to France, represented by Rheims Cathedral on the right. The names of those who
served in the war are cut into the wall below. The colored shields on the stone are of the
branches of the armed services and those on the door are of the Allied Nations.
On the north wall
is a small altar of marble with alpha and omega and a triangle, the symbol of the Holy
Trinity. Above is a Prayer for Peace flanked by the Archangels Michael (with the sword)
and Gabriel (with the trumpet). On the altar rests a book with illuminations listing the
names of parishioners who served in the war.
|The Adoration of the Magi
the foot of the gallery stairs hangs a painting attributed to Peter Paul Rubens, who died
in 1640, called "The Adoration of the Magi." Above, in the bell tower, is a
chime of twenty-one bells which are played before all major services, pealed at weddings,
and tolled at funerals.
St. Thomas' main altar is relatively plain. However the wall behind the altar
(the reredos) makes it much more prominent. Bertam Goodhue was responsible for
the figures and their placement and Lee Lawrie designed them. Just above the altar, St.
Thomas kneels before Christ. The other apostles are in panels on each side. Above are nine
Old Testament prophets with their foretelling of the coming of the Messiah. Christ, the
Virgin Mary, and St. John, the beloved disciple, are high above the empty cross. Twelve
apostles, with John the Baptist, Paul, Mark and Luke, appear in groups of four, upper and
lower rows. Other figures are early saints, martyrs, bishops, and missionaries. The wall
behind the altar, the reredos, is in a way the complete history of Christianity from
promise and present day. The High Altar is draped with hangings from the church collection
and are changed for feast days and other liturgical seasons of the year. For example, the
advent wreath in the pictures.
Preaching is done
from a pulpit of carved oak. It shows nineteen famous preachers from many different times
and places. On the canopy above is a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, source of
inspiration to preachers. In the stone column to the right of the pulpit is a Latin cross
made of stones from the Greek Chapel of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
Beneath the pulpit is the Parapet wall make of mosaics of unpolished colored stone.
The reading stand
is carved of oak. At the bottom are four Old Testament figures, Moses with the law,
Elijah, Job, and mostly hidden, Isaiah. The four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
are at the upper level. Just behind the Lectern to the left is the great chancel organ.
Consisting of six divisions, the instrument features a Trompette-en-Chamade under the rose window. There are four manuals, 138 ranks and some 9050 pipes,
ranging in size from 3/8" to 32'.
NewYork | St. Thomas Main | Exterior | Interior |