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Religious Life

The Purple Window - God the Son

Purple is the color for Advent and Lent. Being seasons of penitence, the symbols in this window depict the suffering of Christ and events associated with his crucifixion.

10. IXOYC - The Fish - These letters (iota, chi, theta, upsilon, sigma) are the initial letters of the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior". The letters themselves spell the Greek word for "fish". This was a secret sign used by the early persecuted Christians to designate themselves as believers in the Christ.

11. INRI - These letters are the initial letters for the Latin inscription placed on the cross: "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum", Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. (John 19:19) This was the The Purple Window - God the Sonsuperscription placed by order of Pontius Pilate in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, on the upper part of the cross on which our Lord was crucified.

12. The Chi Rho with the Alpha and Omega - The letters XP (chi, rho) are the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ". The letters A and (alpha, omega) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The symbol for Christ is within the symbol for eternity (the circle), and so signifies the eternal existence of our Lord. This symbol was used chiefly in Egypt and found in many Alexandrine Bibles. This device appears frequently in modern Christian art. It signifies that the eternal Christ is the beginning and end of all things. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." (Revelation 22:13)

13. The Crown of Thorns - The ring of thorns symbolizes the mock crown placed on the head of Christ prior to his crucifixion. "And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' " (Matthew 27:28-29)

14. The Flowering Crocus - The crocus, seemingly dead, bursts to life in a very short time. The flower blooms in a matter of hours after having the appearance of lifelessness for a long period. The image, then, is one of new life literally bursting the seams of the old.

15. The Grapes and the Sheaf of Wheat - A bunch of grapes signifies the wine of the sacrament of the Holy Communion. The sheaf of wheat signifies the bread of the Lord's Supper.

16. The Cross and the Chalice - This symbol signifies the agony in Gethsemane recalling the words of Jesus in his prayer, as recorded in Luke 22:42, "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."

17. The Seamless Robe - A symbol of Christ's passion, referring to his garment for which the soldiers at the foot of the cross cast lots. "When the soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier. But his tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, 'Let us not tear it but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.' This was to fulfill the scripture; 'They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.' " (John 19:23-24)

18. St. Luke - The winged Creature with the Head of An Ox - Luke is symbolized by the ox, the animal of sacrifice, since his Gospel stresses the atoning sacrifice of Christ. The sacrifice and passion of Christ are important themes for Luke.