Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
The Great Rose Window at the Cathedral is the largest stained glass window in the United States. It contains more than 10,000 pieces of glass. Located on the Western facade, it looks across the vast Nave to the High Altar in what is the longest uninterrupted vista ever to be found in a cathedral.
The central figure of Christ, at 5' 7" high, is enriched by the symbols of the seven gifts of the Spirit and by a choir of angels that radiates from the center. Symbols of the beatitudes unite the concepts of Heavenly Love and Wisdom with Virtue.
The Portal of Paradise is the central entrance of the Cathedral. Its statuary flanks the three-ton Bronze Doors. Carving of these figures was recently completed. From 1988 to 1997, a procession of 32 matriarchs and patriarchs from the Old and New Testaments slowly emerged. Sculptors worked on blocks of limestone already in place. Sculptor Simon Verity, of England, headed the project. He was assisted by the French sculptor Jean Claude Marchionni.
The statuary joins John Angel's Trumeau carving of St. John the Divine, who gazes upward toward the statue of Christ in the Majestas over the entrance. Statuary of the North Portal was also created by John Angel. The statuary of the South Portal remains unfinished.
St. Ansgar's Chapel is dedicated to those of Scandinavian descent. It is named after the ninth century archbishop Ansgar, a Frenchman who made many missionary tours to Denmark and Sweden. He eventually became known as "The Apostle of the North." Built in 1918, the chapel was designed by Henry Vaughan, who also designed the chapels of St. Boniface and St. James and was the original architect of Washington National Cathedral. The architecture is reminiscent of fourteenth century English Gothic style. St. Ansgar's has its own Aeolian-Skinner organ with 1,069 pipes.
St. Boniface' Chapel is dedicated to people of German decent and is the center for contemporary art exhibits at the Cathedral. St. Boniface was baptized "Winfrid" in seventh-century England and was an evangelist to Germany. Known as a doer of good, he was renamed Boniface (boni facio) by the pope. He was later slain and eventually gained his title of Apostle of Germany. The windows of St. Boniface Chapel, however, focus on British Saints and missionaries in all parts of the world. The architect was Henry Vaughan who also built St. Ansgar's and St. James' Chapels and was the original architect of Washington National Cathedral. The chapel was built in 1916.
The Chapel of St. James is named after St. James the Apostle, the patron saint of Spain. The chapel highlights the contributions of Spain to the Christian tradition. Several famous writers, mystics and artists are found in the chapel's left window: Cervantes, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, El Greco, and others. With a seating capacity of 250 and its own Aeolian-Skinner organ of 857 pipes, it is often used for weddings, funerals, and small worship services and concerts. It was built in 1916 by Henry Vaughan who also built St. Ansgar and St. Boniface chapels and was the original architect of Washington National Cathedral. The chapel is the gift of Elizabeth Scriven Potter in loving memory of her husband, Henry Codman Potter, seventh Bishop of New York, whose tomb and recumbent effigy are housed in the chapel.
The easternmost bay of the north aisle celebrates events and people in American history. The sinking of the Titanic is depicted in the lower right hand corner of the stained glass window. The window was given by the family of John Jacob Astor, who died on the Titanic. It was created by Ernest W. Lakeman.
Other scenes from American history are depicted in the stained glass, including Christopher Columbus; the Declaration of Independence (1776); Francis Scott Key, who wrote The Star Spangled Banner during the war of 1812; Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase (1803); Benjamin Franklin; Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (1863); and the signing of the armistice after World War I (1918).
Pictures and information were provided by The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine
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