Marriage of Tobias and Sara
This roundel originally came from the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. This was built by Louis IX of France to house the Crown of Thorns, which Jesus Christ had worn at the time of his Crucifixion. The king acquired part of this priceless relic in 1238. The Sainte-Chapelle was begun in 1241 and dedicated in 1248. It has been described as a huge reliquary in stone. Architecture, sculpture and stained glass combine to produce an effect of astonishing richness. The vast glazing programme has suffered, however. During the first half of the 19th century much glass was removed and many panels were sold to private collectors. Fortunately, some have come into museum collections.
Originally, this medallion belonged to the window devoted to the Story of Tobias, on the south side. It shows Tobias and Sara being joined in marriage by Sara’s father, Raguel, who stands behind her. Taking his daughter’s right hand and putting it into the right hand of Tobias, he gives the couple his blessing.
The Book of Tobias recounts how Tobias’s son, also called Tobias, with the aid of the Archangel Raphael, was able to restore his father’s health and wealth. Raphael, in disguise, leads Tobias to the lands of his kinsman Raguel. Raguel gives his daughter Sara in marriage to Tobias, but warns him that Sara’s seven previous husbands had all been devoured by demons on the wedding night. With Raphael’s aid, Tobias prepares a potion, the smell of which drives out the demons. He and Sara are then able to consummate their marriage successfully.
The Catholic church considers the Book of Tobias (or Tobit) to be a canonical book of the Old Testament. The Protestant reformers in the first half of the 16th century considered it to be non-historical and thus non-authoritative. They removed it from their official new bibles and labelled it ‘Apocryphal’.