Sunday, September 16, 2007

St Andrew Norwich - Green Man

Seen in the Parish Church of St Andrews in Norwich. A tiny Green Man on the Victorian Stone reredos which is a surprise to say the least. I cannot think of any other Green Man within the Sanctuary area of any church anywhere else.

Forget contemporary new age drivel about Green Men. In medieval symbolism the Green Man was not a man but a beast without a soul, a creature who was wholly subservient to every gross need and drive. He is completely without intellect, compassion or guilt. He is a monster that takes what he wants, when he wants it.

The oak leaf strewn face was a popular design with both Gothic revival and Arts and Crafts designers but they knew exactly what the symbolism meant. Christianity is heavily dependent on symbols (the Cross, The Dove, etc. ) and they fill our churches -so why did the Victorian mason decide to put this one by the altar?

It is tiny, being only a few inches tall. All the other panels in line have the oak leaves but not the face. If you do not know it is there you will not find it. (If you do go in search of it: you will find it immediately behind the cross and to the left.)

Hidden or not. Every Sunday the congregation kneel in prayer before the Cross and a tiny stone carving of a rapist. Which is weird

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