Stained Glass Windows
Part 2 - The Four Evangelists
"The Four Evangelists"
Location: Rear of Church, Flanking Pipes of Organ
At the ordination of a priest, the Bishop asks the ordinand questions found in the part of the service called “The Examination.” Before beginning the list of questions, the Bishop addresses the ordinand and issues a charge: “You are to preach.” Specifically, the Bishop tells the ordinand that, “As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Because of this charge made to every new priest, it is appropriate that the two stained glass windows at the back of the nave, which are effectively hidden from the view of the congregation, are the very ones that the members of our clergy see facing them every Sunday when they stand in the pulpit. These two tall narrow windows are in the gallery flanking the pipes of the organ. They commemorate the four Evangelists – the writers of the Gospels – whose names roll, in order, off our tongues so easily after years of repetition: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
These are also the plainest of all the stained glass windows in the building: generic figures of four men, each holding a bound volume, with a quill pen in hand. Above each one’s head appears his name, prefaced with the word “Saint,” and behind each head is that device used by artists when depicting saints: a glowing disc referred to as a “nimbus.” The plainness of these windows is emphasized by the absence of the traditional symbols that appear so often in stained glass representations of the four evangelists -- the four winged creatures mentioned both in Ezekiel 1:4- 10 and Revelation 4:6-7.