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Worship Through Art

Stained glass windows at St Mary's Church, Iffley

Stained glass has been used for hundreds of years across the world, and can be traced back to the 7th century in Britain, where it was used in early churches and monasteries. It became much more common in churches across Europe in the middle ages, where, along with wall paintings (frescos), stained glass windows were the most popular art form.

The windows were created to add a decorative effect to the church, while also giving pictorial versions of famous Bible stories and the life of Christ. The vast majority of people were unable to read in the middle ages, so the only way they had access to these stories was through the images in the windows and on the walls.

However, stained glass windows remain very popular amongst churches today. RE:QUEST recently visited St Mary's Church, Iffley, near Oxford. The church is well-known locally for its magnificent stained glass windows. The following represent just three of them.


Click on each image to magnify it.

  1. Which is your favourite? Why?
  2. Select one image to analyse, answering the following questions:
  • What does the stained glass window show?
  • What might a Christian learn from the window?
  • How might the window encourage or help a Christian?
  • What do you learn about the Christian faith from the window?


1. The Tree of Life

2. Christ, Saviour of the World

3. The Life of Christ