In the prayer area just outside of the Lady Chapel is a new icon of St Augustine of Canterbury holding Canterbury Cathedral which is his symbol in art. St Augustine was sent by the Pope to bring Christianity in the Roman form to Britain, there already being Celtic worship before his mission. The mission landed in Kent and Augustine established his base in Canterbury. The icon is the work of Herciu Alin-Gabriel who is a young artist now based in Romania. Herciu worked this icon especially for our church and we are very grateful to him.
Also in the prayer area is an icon of St Luke, the patron saint of the sick, the suffering and the medical profession. This was painted by the Revd Cecile Schnyder when she was the vicar of St Clement w St Peter Dulwich and Chaplain to James Allen's Girls School. In the choir stalls on the organ side is an icon of St Cecilia which is by the same artist. Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians and is usually depicted playing an instrument, in this icon she is playing a portative [portable] organ. Cecilia was born in Rome around 200AD and was martyred in Sicily between 222-235AD. She gave her life for her Christian faith during the persecution of Turcius Almachius. These two icons were acquired at an exhibition and presented to the church by the Revd Canon Colin Luke Boswell.
In the Lady Chapel there is a sculpture of St Augustine of Canterbury that was installed in the church of St Augustine of Canterbury, Honor Oak Park on St Augustine’s Day [May 26th] 2021 and blessed by Reverend Canon Colin Luke Boswell, Priest-in-Charge.
The sculpture was carved from English limewood in the style of an ‘Isle of Lewis’ chess piece by the Revd Dr Michael Brooks, an Associate Minister of this church, during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21. The sculpture is finished with Danish Oil.
The octagonal stone base was supplied by WT Lamb & Sons Ltd and was quarried in Caen, Normandy which is the source of the limestone that was used to construct Canterbury Cathedral when rebuilding commenced in 1070 following a fire that destroyed the Anglo-Saxon cathedral. The shape of the base is chosen because of the mediaeval understanding of an octagon as a mid-point between the circle that represented Heaven, and the square that represented the Earth.
Fr Colin writes, ‘We were delighted that during our celebration of Holy Communion on the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury our patron saint we were able to bless and dedicate a lovely sculpture of St Augustine. We prayed that we would as a church be mindful of the mission that brought St Augustine to England and that we also will have a zeal for sharing the good news with others as we work to establish God’s kingdom where he has called us to worship, witness and serve’.