The two side panels contain a series of Christian symbols, including the Alpha and Omega characters in Greek, which refer to God’s self-description in Jeremiah: “I am the Alpha and the Omega”, Chi Rho, which in Greek stand for Christ Reigns, and IHS, a traditional abbreviation of Jesus’ name in Greek. (for more info on Christian symbolism, see http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/symbols.htm.
Below the symbols runs the text, “GLORY BE TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, AND TO THE HOLY GHOST”, and on the other side, “AS IT WAS IN THE BEGINNING, IS NOW AND EVER SHALL BE. WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN”, the traditional ascription of praise of the Christian church.
The central scrolling text reads, “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty”, a quotation from Isaiah 6. The panels on each side of the central piece read, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving… and into his courts with praise,” a quotation from Psalm 100.
The Madonna and Child painting is the crowning piece in the set, connecting to the name of the church itself (St Mary the mother of Jesus). It is by an unknown artist, and is possibly a copy of another famous painting. Visible in the foreground are a vase with flowers, and in the background a ship, possibly referring to the traditional occupation of the village of Cove Bay. The decorative painted arch framing the painting was re-painted by a member of the St Mary’s community.