Mystery of shot glass on Troy church window lingers


TROY, N.Y. (WRGB) - A small shot glass is the center of a mystery behind a stained glass window at Troy church. St. Joseph’s is hoping the public can help solve it.

“You do see a bit of an enigma here, right?” Sacristan Paul Coffey says, pointing at the glass. “I mean, I’m not making this stuff.”

The glass in question is in a beautiful stained glass window in a separate room off the main hall of St. Joseph’s Church in South Troy. It’s situated on a table before Jesus and two kneeling men. Jesus, with halo, is standing and making a hand gesture possibly giving a blessing. The glass is on the table in front of him next to a golden goblet.

The church opened in the early 1850’s as a Jesuit Missionary Church and today is Roman Catholic and known for its famous stained glass windows. Many are Tiffany originals installed in the early twentieth century.

“We have the largest installment of Tiffany windows in one site in the world,” Coffey explains.

The window with the shot glass is not an original Tiffany and dates back to the 1940’s. But like all the windows in the church, it’s based off a famous work of art depicting a scene from the Bible.

Coffey says he noticed the strange glass when some restorative work was being done to the window panes a few years ago.

“During the process of studying the window, it jumped out at me. What was that shot glass doing there?” he says. “I researched glass and turns out glass didn’t come into vogue or popular use until the first hundred years of the Roman Empire.”

Besides the presence of glass being historically inaccurate, Coffey says he also doesn’t recognize the scene from the Bible. The identities of the two men are unknown. Furthermore, he says it would be odd for a recently resurrected Jesus to be traveling the countryside with a shot glass and golden goblet breaking bread with strangers.

“They’re either errors, contradictions or our understanding needs to be expanded,” he says.

The answer can be found in finding the original painting this window is modeled after.

“All of our windows are artistic rendering of fine art masterpieces,” he says. “So, I think the impetus for what’s in this glass image lies with the image he (the artist) was copying.”

Do you recognize the image in St. Joseph’s stained glass window? If you do contact Paul Coffey:

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