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Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane & the Tapestry

The Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane - New Coventry Cathedral

Another of many highlights is the Chapel of Christ in Gethsemane. This is approached by following the aisle from the Baptistery window towards the altar which is at the north end. (Another break with church convention - the altar is traditionally at the eastern end.) It is a serenely beautiful little chapel, seen through a crown of thorns made from iron. It is when you approach this chapel that you become aware just how overwhelmingly enormous the tapestry above you really is. To put this in perspective, the figure of a man shown between Christ's feet is actually six feet high!

Graham Sutherland's Giant Tapestry

The content of the tapestry has also courted controversy over the years. With reference to Basil Spence's own book; "Phoenix at Coventry", the various figures are explained by passages from Revelation as follows:

"....And in the midst of the throne, and round the throne, were four beasts....
And the first beast was like a lion,
and the second beast like a calf
and the third beast had a face as a man
and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle."
This paragraph of course, referred to the four main figures which flank the figure of Christ.

Beneath His feet can be seen a chalice which contains a dragon. This is a reference to the following passage:
"Then another sign became visible in the sky and I saw that it was a huge red dragon....
Now they have conquered him through the blood of the lamb."

On the right between the eagle and the lion is a representation of St. Michael hurling down the devil. This has its foundation in the next paragraph:
"Then war broke out in Heaven. Michael and his angels battled with the dragon...
So the huge dragon, the serpent of ancient times, who is called the devil and satan,
the deceiver of the whole world, was hurled down upon the earth...."

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