Stand by the railing of the High Altar

You are now at the far end of the church, also known as the East End because Christian churches have traditionally been oriented towards the East to face Jerusalem. This is not always the case for more recent buildings such as Christ Church which is oriented towards the North West, to follow the city grid.

The altar and the stone reredos were built as a memorial to Cathedral members who died in World War I. The names of those who died in World War II were added later.

The altar which is made of Caen stone and marble is usually covered by an altar cloth so you can’t see the ten inlaid stones forming a cross.

Four stones come from holy places in Jerusalem, including the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives, one comes from the catacombs in Rome where Christians were persecuted, four others represent the spread of Christianity, coming from Ireland, Iona, Canterbury and Annapolis Royal, the oldest North American settlement. Below this last stone is a small quantity of Flanders mud scraped from a photograph picked up on Passchendaele Ridge in 1917.

The seven scenes in the reredos portray the Annunciation, the Visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ, the Crucifixion, the Entombment, the Resurrection and the Ascension.

The seven figures above are:

St George (patron saint of England),
St Martin of Tours (on whose day the armistice was signed and who is the patron saint of soldiers),
St Lawrence (on whose day Jacques Cartier first entered the St Lawrence River),

Our Lord in Glory,

St John the Baptist (patron saint of Canada),
St Nicholas (patron saint of sailors), and
St Michael the Archangel, (protector of airmen).

Above the reredos, the five panels in the East Window, the first stained glass to be placed in the Cathedral, depict Christ and the Four Evangelists. The window was erected in memory of the Honourable John Richardson who died in 1831 and of Sarah Grant his wife.

Now walk back towards the crossing (stand just in front of the nave altar).