Our Stained Glass Windows
Stained glass Window of St. Margaret of Cortona located in our choir loft
Stained Glass and the Early Church
Although colored glass has been in production since ancient Egypt, we most commonly associate it with the Medieval Christian church. Many churches and cathedrals throughout Europe portrayed scenes from the Bible in stained glass.
Aside from religious teachings contained with colored segments of glass, there is also hidden color symbolism.
In fact, the term “Poor Man’s Bible,” has come to mean stained glass depictions and other artwork contained within these early churches. They were largely created to illustrate Biblical teachings to a mostly illiterate population. Only the rich and the clergy knew how to read and write during this period.
Above the Altar
The symbols that you see above the Altar represent the Four Evangelists. Christian tradition has long connected the author of the four gospels with the four “living creatures” that surround God’s throne, as described in Revelation 4:7. They are also mentioned in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.
ST. LUKE Winged Ox
The Book of Luke deals with the sacrifice of Christ; oxen were common sacrificial animals.
ST. JOHN Eagle
The Eagle is symbolic of highest inspiration; John wrote his Gospel, 3 Epistles, and Revelation.
ST. MATTHEW Winged Man
The Book of Matthew deals with the genealogy of Christ; the winged man refers to human ancestors.
ST. MARK Winged Lion
The Book of Mark deals with the Resurrection of Christ; it was thought that a lioness’ cubs were born dead and that they were given life from the father lion’s breath.
Color Symbolism Hidden Within
Aside from religious teachings contained with colored segments of glass, there is also hidden color symbolism. The next time you view an exquisite cathedral window, keep in mind these color meanings.
• Red denotes courage and self-sacrifice. Many martyrs are depicted in red or surrounded by this
• Blue is often used to represent heaven or eternity. It is also the color of meditation, contemplation
and loyalty. The Virgin Mary is usually clothed in blue.
• Green is the color of new beginnings and youth. It also symbolizes hope and victory, overcoming
ignorance and indifference.
• Gold is a symbol of God, divinity and the treasures of heaven. It means spiritual achievement and
all that is good. Halos are gold for this reason.
• White is used to portray innocence, joy, purity, faith and piousness.
• Violet or purple is the union of wisdom and love. It is the color of royalty, but also
justice. Glassmakers would also use dark purple in place of black to mean negativity, death and
mourning. When combined with white it symbolizes humility and purity.
Young Children's Room
Another hidden symbol (actually hiding in plain sight) is the light itself. When it hits the glass it reminds us of our inner light. Our spirits and auras are much like that magnificent window. Inspirational and glowing!
Finally, the fragile nature of glass reminds us of life. It too, is very fragile and precious. We must do
the utmost to care for it.