The Old Testament book of Tobit tells the story of how St Raphael the Archangel travelled with Tobias on his journey to and from what is now Iran. He served as his guardian angel, protecting him on the dangerous journey, healing his father Tobit from blindness and introducing him to his wife Sarah.
St Raphael, which means “God heals”, is described as “one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord.” (Tobit 12:14,15). He is shown here with a traveller’s staff and bag. Tobias – despite being described in the book of Tobit as old enough to marry – is pictured as a boy. He is also shown holding a fish, which he used in the two healing miracles of the story.
This stained glass scene is found in the East Window of St Raphael’s church in Kingston. Its style is highly unusual and unique. It was installed when the church was built in 1848 and is thought to be of Italian or French origin, although the artist is unknown. The scene is flanked to the left and right by images of the Agony in the Garden and the Annunciation.
See the full image:
Where to find this work of art
St Raphael’s, Kingston
Read the relevant passage
On a similar theme
- From the Old Testament: St Raphael, St Michael and St Gabriel are honoured in the Church as archangels.
- From the New Testament: In the story of St Peter’s rescue from prison, we learn how his guardian angel led him to safety.