The Trinity and the Stained Glass Windows of the Abbey Church

East Window of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church

East Window of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church

Monks are often asked to explain the meaning of the stained glass windows in the abbey church here, as the three main windows are meant to express in abstract form each person of the Trinity in glorious color.  Yesterday on Trinity Sunday, Father Mathias preached on the Trinity using the windows behind him as inspiration for his text.  Here is an excerpt from his homily:

“The monks already know this but for those of you who don’t, the windows in the church’s nave depict the Trinity. The window behind me, the East window, depicts creation; it depicts order out of chaos. The jumble of colors in the center of the window is surrounded by order; the corners of blues, of yellows, of reds, and of greens show the order out of chaos. Everything goes where it’s supposed to go as ordained by the creator. Only God can do that so that window represents the 1st Person of the Trinity, what we traditionally call God the Father.

South Window of Saint Anselm Abbey Church

South Window of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church

The window to my left [the South window] has lots of blue and some reds and yellows in it. The blue waves represent the flowing waters of Baptism (which represents the 2nd Person of the Trinity), and the other colors represent the coming of the Holy Spirit (the 3rd Person), which is depicted in the window to my right [the North Window]; lots of red to denote tongues of fire.

North Window of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church

North Window of the Saint Anselm Abbey Church

So as you enter the abbey church, the Divinity of God, the Trinity, is beautifully illustrated in color. As you stand in that middle aisle, you are “surrounded” by the Trinity. And as the sun forces its way through the colors, the church gets filled with the ever-changing, blended colors of God. You are bathed in God’s light, so to speak. No statue can represent or tell that belief. No words can explain it. But now that you know what the windows represent, you can feel it as you stand there gazing in silence.”

[These stained glass windows were designed by Dutch artist Joep Nicolas (1897-1972) in the mid 1960s.]

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One Response to The Trinity and the Stained Glass Windows of the Abbey Church

  1. Thank you so very much for this enlightening lesson. I’ve often stared at these beautiful windows and wondered about their meaning, never thinking that I would be privaleged to hear them described in such detail on Trinity Sunday. The Abbey Church is a spectacular place filled with God’s love. Thank you again for generously sharing this beautiful space for all to worship and enjoy.

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