Friday, December 7, 2012


I think three riddles have been solved concerning the church buildng at St. Sebastian. The first concerns the following three windows.  They are definately connected.  For the longest time I could not really tie them together mostly because of the middle window.  I think this first of the three mysteries have finally been solved.  Before I give what I think to be the answer however, I want to give you one last go at it.  I don't want to sway what you think by giving my answer too quickly.  My thoughts next week.


Anonymous said...

Hmm...I will go with each Person of the Trinity...although I can't make out what is depicted in the first window at all.

MaryofSharon said...

As a student of your window symbolism analyses, I remember you discussing these windows before, but when I look at your original post back on September 18, 2009, it doesn't look like you and your readers came to any final conclusions.

My first clue was that you had rearranged the order of the windows, so I figured there might be a reason for that.

Then I figure that since these windows are in the back hallway of the church between the two sacristies, no one except the servers and the priests actually get to see them, so I'm guessing that they might be exclusively for the benefit of priests.

Those white things at the top of each picture from which the red cross descends, remind me of bishop's miters, which would make sense since a priest is ordained by and makes his vows to a bishop. (Or the white could just be a background for the cross?)

When I look at the third window, I see hands bound in stoles. To me, it just looks symbolic of a priest being bound to obedience. It's really beautifully depicted. The hands look like they are being offered not coerced.

Then for the second window, I looked up the symbolism for the unicorn. Some of your earlier commenters thought it had something to do with Mary or Jesus, but I read that a unicorn is a symbol of chastity (of which of course Jesus and Mary are exemplars).

So we have 1) ? 2) chastity and 3) obedience.
Ah ha! The three evangelical counsels!

Thus #1 would have to be poverty, even before you figure out what the images are. (I don't quite get this because diocesan priests don't take vows of poverty anyhow, but it just has to be poverty.) One of your commenters back in 2009 saw the cloak, the staff, the money, etc on that first one and tied it to Luke 9 where Jesus tells his disciples as they prepare to go preach, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic." That may not be a vow of poverty, but it certainly means letting go of attachments to material things for the sake of the Gospel.

So there you have my guess.

Do you think the windows represent the counsels of perfection, the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience of a priest made to his bishop?

Anonymous said...

I think the three windows depict the conversion and ministry of Saint Paul.