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The windows and the light

Builders of churches usually pay great attention to windows, for light is a symbol of God. In St. Nikolai's the light increases as one approaches the altar, because the expanded distance between the columns allows more light from the main windows to enter the nave. On bright days the sun paints colourful patterns on the floor, the pillars and the people. The brightness in the chancel creates a festive atmosphere as we gather to celebrate Holy Communion. The resurrection of Christ is the theme of the altarpiece. In the window above a rosette depicting the Lamb of God symbolizes sacrifice, his innocent suffering, his death and victory over death. The other windows are more simple, coloured stained glass and lead, mainly without figurative elements, though in the arches there are motifs of leaves and flowers. The windows date from 1569 and were substantially restored in 1893/4 when extra tracery and glazing were added. Stained glass window of the south chapel consists of the coats of arms of 54 Flensburg families (including the clergy of St. Nikolai's) to mark the Church's 550th anniversary in 1940. Few of these heraldic elements are historic and ancient; the majority were invented for this occasion. Before the days of electricity candlelight would have supplemented the natural light. The candelabra on the pillar opposite the pulpit shows a beautiful angel carrying two coats of arms. The chandeliers in the aisles and in the memorial chapel next to the entrance are also worth attention. They date from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the craftsmen used a technique called »Gelbguss« to make the brass shine like gold.

The design shows alternating garlands of candles (now replaced by lightbulbs) and ornamental wreaths being topped by symbolic figures (double-eagle, bird). There are also two candelabras without crowning from the 19th century. A visit to St. Nikolai's church at night makes you feel quite different. Only dim light enters from the square and street outside. The majestic pillars and vaults then offer a feeling of warmth and being sheltered. It's a good time to light a candle and to absorb the calmness of the sacred place, contrasted with the noises of the city filtering in from outside.