Memorial windows

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Memorials to the Great War include stained-glass windows in churches. These windows, sometimes called "memorial windows", "windows for the dead", "war windows" or "patriotic windows" are a Christian response to the secular war memorials and were installed to commend the dead to the memories and prayers of the faithful and lend religious significance to their sacrifice. Their unusual iconography portrays Biblical characters and saints side by side with a depiction of the fallen soldier, conferring on him the status of martyr.

In the devastated area of the Pas-de-Calais Region, forty-eight churches have this type of window. Seven of them have two windows and some even have three. Famous artists helped to produce them, such as Francis Chigot (Limoges), Jean Gaudin (Paris) and Georges Janin (Nancy).

These monumental images remind us today of the trauma experienced by the local residents. They helped them grieve and express their desire to move on from the tragedy and rebuild the ruins.

Patrick WINTREBERT,
Antiques and Artefacts curator for
the Archives Départementales du Pas-de-Calais
(Pas-de-Calais Records Office)