“This is a pulpit!” – Jonah’s

I am currently writing a week’s devotions from the Book of Jonah for the Bible Society.

At the Australian Bishops’ Meeting last month we studied the Book of Jonah and the study guide featured the photograph of a stunning pulpit in Poland styled after Jonah. See below.

We were all very impressed at the symbolism of the preacher of God’s word coming forth from the mouth of a mighty fish – just as the reluctant Jonah was sent forth from the mouth of a mighty fish to preach God’s message of repentance and reconciliation to the rebellious people of Nineveh.

The pulpit mouth features lots of prophets speaking from the opened Word of God accompanied by angelic messengers.

We enjoyed the fish’s teeth although one of our number commented that whales do not have teeth! But, Hey! this is one special fish! [Correction re whales’ teeth: See Comment #3 from John Tongue]

The Dean of Hobart will be pleased to know that while I am very impressed with the imagery of this pulpit I am content for St David’s Cathedral to retain its beautiful pulpit.

Maybe on a special occasion we could decorate the Cathedral pulpit so that the preacher emerges from the experience of death as the inside of the fish is traversed (Cathedral pulpit steps are climbed) before coming forth to speak God’s message? Echoes of Good Friday to Easter Sunday? – Matthew 12:38-40  Enjoy!


“This is a pulpit!” – Jonah’s — 8 Comments

  1. Bishop John,
    Many Whales DO have teeth. It’s only the “Baleen Whales” that do not.

  2. To brothers, Gijsbers as witty as ever and the Dean pondering episcopal extravaganza and Cathedral embarrassment, I add the following note.

    In the Bible Studies, which were very well prepared by Meg Warner, the pulpit is described as a highly ornate baroque example of the Eastern European tradition of ‘whale puplits’. FYI & fun!

  3. Dear John, an apology – an edit is clearly due. Thank you.
    I knew you know about birds, wine, theology, … and now I add fish – Ah! – a whale is a fish?

  4. I’ve happened to come across your website while looking for images of this pulpit. I was in Poland just recently and saw it but only from a distance and in the gloom (through a barred gate/door)- the church seem to be only fully open on Sundays. It is indeed quite an amazing sight. By the way the whole carving extends upwards about an equal amount again from the spout which is surmounted by various figures I couldn’t quite make out.
    I was wondering re a comment above about the tradition of whale pulpits in Eastern Europe – does anyone have any more information on this?

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