Saint Paul's Monaco

Sanctuary Symbolism 


Below the east windows is the sanctuary.  The main symbol of this meeting place with God is the Holy Table, where the priest stands to lead the Christian community in its offering of thanks and praise to God for Christ’s sacrifice.  In the 1990’s a free-standing table was introduced to permit the presiding priest to face the congregation at Communion services. The original altar is still used in celebrating other offices.

The wood-panelling behind the altar, has a decorative frieze of lozenges containing a representations of what are known as the Instruments of the Passion of Christ. These include the crown of thorns, the hammer and nails, the spear and sponge, and other items mentioned in the story of Christ’s crucifixion. (One curiosity among the images on display -- in Monte-Carlo of all places –- is that the markings on the dice should be incorrect!) They  are well placed around the altar-table where the death and resurrection of Jesus are recalled and celebrated in the Holy Communion service.

Silver & Brass

The altar Cross bears this inscription: "To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Brownell Cornwallis who died in Port Said June 5th 1916 acting as Assistant Military Censor. This Cross is given by his mother Mrs. Charles Holland." The candlesticks, in the same style, bear no name, but both bear the same inscription also found in stone on the altar: "I am the Light of the World". One candlestick has "Very God" and the other has "Very Man" inscribed on its base. Candles are used in worship to symbolise His Presence ‘wherever two or three are gathered together’.

Beneath the altar Cross is the monogram ‘IHS’, representing  the name of Jesus – either its first three letters in Greek (IHS), or the initial letters of three different words: Iesus Hominum Salvator:  Jesus, Saviour of Mankind. There is another monogram beneath the shelf of the altar, in the centre: the first two letters (XR) of the word Christ in Greek, intersecting or imposed one upon the other. Flanking this, one on each side, are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha (A) and Omega ( W), used in the Christianity to denote God's eternity and infinitude.

A balance of sacramental signs and Word proclaimed

Kieran at the Lectern 

To the right of the altar sanctuary stands a marble lectern, where members of the congregation stand to read the passages of scripture, and prayers of intercession  appointed for services of the day.

The Pulpit

To the left of the altar sanctuary stands the pulpit, from which the Gospel of Jesus is proclaimed, and interpreted through the preaching of sermons and homilies.  The three figures in niches on the pulpit represent St. Paul and two of his companions Timothy and Silas. They were not made for the places where they now stand, but were introduced at an unknown later date.

People lovingly remembered

The pulpit originally stood on the right, where it would have been easier read the words engraved now on the side facing the wall: "To the Glory of God this pulpit and lectern are given as a thank offering for many blessings by Richard Pryce Mitchell and Susannah Mitchell, February 19, 1925."  We learn more about Richard from the brass on the Prayer Desk, which says:   “In Loving Memory of Richard Pryce Mitchell M.D. who for 50 years practiced in Monte-Carlo.  "He went about doing good." (Acts 10:38) He founded the Pryce Mitchell Charity for the Poor of this neighbourhood, from which (contrary, perhaps, to first impressions) members of this congregation have benefited.

 Icon of Saint Paul

On the ‘eastern’ face of the arch between the Sanctuary and the Chapel of Our Lady (the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus) is a renaissance style icon of St. Paul. On the ‘western’ face of the arch is a tablet to the memory of Rear Admiral Sir S. Eardley Wilmot 1847-1929, with these words from Ps 107:30 ; "He bringeth them unto their desired haven":  a nautical Christian interpretation of death.

 In the Lady Chapel itself, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a wall-safe called an Aumbry. There is an East window given in memory of Anne, beloved wife of Frank Wyatt-Smith, who died April 1st, 1936. It depicts Mary Mother of Jesus, crowned in Glory, praying for us and with us, ‘that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ’.

Above the chapel’s communion rail, on the right, is a tapestry rendering of the icon of Our Lady of Vladimir, stitched in his last year of infirmity by Maurice Ametis, Verger of St Paul’s from 1926 until his death in 1993. His father Marius  preceded him as Verger at St Cyprian’s from 1898 until St Paul’s was built. Father and son are both commemorated in a brass plaque to the right of the entrance, in the place where both stood to welcome generations of worshippers as they arrived.

On the north wall is a memorial to Montague McLean Bairstow, a founding benefactor of St Paul’s, and husband of the famous authoress, Baroness Orczy, who wrote the  spy novel: ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’. A sculpted bust of her is in the hall two floors down. She was one of the founders of the Church’s English Library which lives there.