A Parish of the Diocese of Canterbury under the Episcopal care of the Bishop of Richborough.
4. The Crossing and Sanctuary LocaleBiznet
Virtual Tour of St.Peter’s
The Crossing and Sanctuary
As you leave the North Transept and Lady Chapel you now enter the 'Crossing' or the central part of the Cross-shape of the Church. The Crossing is dominated by the great wrought iron Rood Screen, which separates the main part of the Church from the Sanctuary. The screen weighs over one ton and was purchased in Dover in 1872. It is both welded and riveted together, which is very unusual for wrought ironwork of the period. The screen is topped by 24 candles and by a crucifix. These are famous as they became one of the main elements for which Father Ridsdale and the Churchwardens were prosecuted in the famous 'Folkestone Ritual Case' , making St. Peter's Church, Folkestone, famous across the nation.
The central gates are usually open, but please DO NOT ENTER the Sanctuary, where the Holy Sacrament is reserved, unless you wish to pray. Please remain at the bottom of the stairs.
The Crossing is where the action of the Christian Community constantly flows. It is here that people kneel to be confirmed, married or to be blessed, as we undertake our Christian journeys in the heart of the Church or where communion is distributed during High Mass. From here you can look to the North or South Transept Chapels, to the Sanctuary at the East end and down the nave to the organ loft and West end. Or you can look up into the Church tower, or flèche.
As you look up, you will notice four shields, illustrated with the symbols of St. Peter, the Rooster (his denial of Christ; Matthew 26); the Crossed Keys (his authority; Matthew 16:19); the Fish with coin (Christ working miracles through lowly fishermen; Matthew 17:24); and the inverted cross (the sign of his Martyrdom).
As you look into the Sanctuary you will notice the High Altar. The 3 inch thick oak altarpiece, in the perpendicular, Gothic style, was erected in 1894. The Holy Tabernacle in which the Most Holy Sacrament of our Lord, is reserved, was donated by the Trustees of the recently closed Convent of Presentation in Hythe. It was formally used for giving Communion to patients at St. Saviour's Hospital there. It replaces an earlier Tabernacle, which was ruined by water damage during the 1996 fire. The cost of renovation was paid for in memory of Father Dennis May, by his family. The wooden stalls on either side are reserved for Servers and the Clergy.
The Sanctuary Lamp, which is always lit before the High Altar, signifies that this is a place of the Divine Presence. The tradition of such lamps reaches far back into the history of Judaism (Exodus: 27:20) and is described in the Roman Missal, as a light "... to indicate and honour the presence of Christ"
The Sanctuary windows are the best preserved Victorian glass in the Church. Straight ahead of you above the High Altar is the main East Window. In the centre sits Christ the King, in Benediction (giving Blessing). To the left is St. Peter, carrying the keys. To his right is St. Paul, carrying the sword of Martyrdom. The top panel depicts Peter being given the Keys to the Kingdom by Christ. The window is inscribed with the words of St. Matthew 16:19: Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclisiam meam (You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church). The depiction of St. Peter and St. Paul in the window is a recognition of the earliest Saxon Churches in Folkestone, which were dedicated to these two saints and lost to the sea.
To either side of the main East window, the windows also depict scenes from the life of St. Peter. To the left, in the North-east corner, depicts the reinstatement of Peter after his denial of Christ, in which Christ gives him his great commission. The window is inscribed, Pasce agnos Meos - Feed My sheep (John 21:15). To the right, in the South-east corner, the window depicts a scene where Peter starts to drown after failing to walk on the water and cries out to Christ. The window is inscribed, Domine salvum me fac - Lord save me! (Mathew 14:30). Taken together the two windows depict the all too human Peter with his frail faith, who was nevertheless trusted by Christ to found and lead His Church.
The windows in the South wall of the Sanctuary depict Michael the Archangel and St. Sebastian. These were heavily restored after the 1996 fire by the Canterbury Cathedral Glass-works Company.
The Archangel Michael is seen as The Protector and leader of the forces of God against evil in the days leading up to the Final Judgement, when he will carry the souls of the departed for Judgement before God. The window is inscribed with the words of prayer from the Litany of Saints: Saint Michael, Ora pro nobis - St. Michael, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian was an early Saint and Martyr who was killed during the Emperor Diolcetian's persecution of Christians, around 288 AD. The window is inscribed: A Thank Offering. A.H.,
The detailed history of the wonderful Victorian glass which still remains in the Church is the subject of ongoing research
Before you leave the Crossing area, note to your left, the fine statue of St. Peter, Patron of our Church i.e. the Saint for whom the Church is named. Peter is a wonderful Christian role model for the average person, as he struggled so hard to follow his teacher, Jesus, and constantly seemed to fail. Yet he continued trying and achieved spiritual greatness. His humanity makes him easier to understand and to emulate than many other saints.
As you leave St. Peter, walking to your right, you will pass the carved wooden pulpit on your left. This is from where the Priest traditionally delivered his sermon to the congregation, although it is only used on formal occasions today. It is engraved around the bottom, with the words:
In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen
(In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen),
which are the words of prayer to God in the 3 persons of the Holy Trinity, which the Priest uses at the start of every Sermon.
Above the pulpit is a small statue of St. Barnabas, one of the early Fathers of the Church, which originates from Germany.
Once you have finished looking at this, we will finish the tour of the Crossing and Sanctuary and move into the South Transept Chapel, to your right and ahead.