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Religious Life

The Red Window - God the Holy Spirit

Red is the color for Pentecost, that season in the Christian year when the Church focuses on the Holy Spirit. The afternoon sun sets this window ablaze and its brilliant colors illuminate the nave. The theme of this entire window is indicated by the descending dove.

19. The Descending Dove - Perhaps the most familiar of the symbols of the Holy Spirit, the dove reminds us of Christ's experience at his baptism: "And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove." (Mark 1:10)

20. Chi Rho - This monogram uses the letters X and P, the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ".

The Red Window21. IC XC - This monogram, including letters of the Greek NI KA alphabet and the Greek cross, is used today on the Eucharistic bread of Holy Communion in the Orthodox Church. The letters stand for "Jesus Christ, the Conqueror or Victor".

22. The Cross and the Crown - These two symbols signify the reward of the faithful in their new life in Christ. "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2:10)

23. The Seven Doves Surrounding SS-Sanctus Spiritus - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are enumerated in Isaiah 11:2-3; the spirit of wisdom and understanding (intellectual gifts), the spirit of counsel and might (moral gifts), the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (spiritual gifts), and the spirit of delight in the fear of the Lord. The "SS" in the center of the doves refers to the Latin for Holy Spirit, "Spiritus Sanctus".

24. Menorah - The seven-branched candlestick, primarily a Jewish symbol, signifies the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3 and, in a slightly different form, Revelation 5:12).

25. Tongues of Fire - This symbol represents the Holy Spirit as it appeared at the day of Pentecost. "And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them." (Acts 2:3) As in the Menorah and the Seven Doves (located in the window in the panel above and to the left and right) there are seven "tongues of fire" rising from the coal. This symbol also relates to Isaiah's vision: "Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: 'Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.' " (Isaiah 6:6-7)

26. The Burning Heart - It is said of those at the day of Pentecost that their hearts burned within them. Peter, in his Pentecost sermon in Acts, quotes Psalm 16: "For David says concerning him (the Messiah), 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.'" (Acts 2:25-26 quoting Psalm 16:8-9) It is also said of those hearing Peter's sermon that they were "cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). The burning heart, then, signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit at the beginning of the Church.

27. St. John - The Winged Creature with an Eagle's Head - The high-soaring eagle is the emblem of John because of the lofty heights to which he arises in dealing with the mind of Christ. The divinity of Christ and his ascension are important themes for John.

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