Even without the banner declaring his identity Saint Andrew can be recognised by the X-shaped Saltire cross he holds in front of him. Saint Andrew was martyred by crucifixion, apocryphally on an x-shaped cross because he believed he was not worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus. The bushy beard and somewhat unruly grey hair are also associated with him, as is the Gospel Book he holds in his right hand. The word ‘apostle’ come from the Greek aposolus which translates as ‘one who is sent away.’ The role of the Twelve Apostles was to spread the teachings of Jesus and Andrew’s dedication to this led to his association with the Gospel Book.
The centre light depicts Saint Peter and he is easily recognised by the keys he holds. These are the Keys of Heaven that Jesus promised to Peter as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 16:19. These keys gave Peter the power (and responsibility) to open the gates of Heaven to the deserving and lock out those who were undeserving of entry. Peter was listed as the first of the Apostles and the keys are seen as symbolic of his authority. Peter is regarded by the Catholic Church as the first Pope. As an apostle Peter spread the teachings of Jesus and so he is also portrayed holding a book. Peter met a similar fate to his brother Saint Andrew in that he was also crucified and he chose to be crucified upside down as he too believed himself unworthy to die in the same way as Jesus.
The figure in the right hand light is Saint John, recognisable by his youthful features and the book and quill in his hands. The scroll above his head proclaims him to be both an Apostle and an Evangelist. This follows the teaching of the early church that John the Apostle who followed Jesus and John the Evangelist, author of John’s Gospel, were one and the same.
The book John holds contains a Greek phrase transliterated into Latin ‘Verbú caro factú est’ which translates as ‘the Word was made flesh.’ The opening verse of John’s Gospel proclaims that ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Later verses in the same chapter go on to state that the word is Jesus and the quote in the window, from verse 14, teaches that Jesus was God made human so that he might live among us.