Open 24/7/365 for Prayer and Meditation
Located between the Olin Center and the Meyer Planetarium, this round structure, highlighted by a central altar and vivid stained glass windows, serves as the center of religious life on campus. Services are held weekly in the Chapel and reflect the diversity of the Christian tradition. Service projects, Bible studies, small group discussions, and retreats are all a part of religious life at the college, which encourages the development of a mature faith and an understanding of the varieties of religious experience.
Symbolism in the Chapel Windows
The basic theme of the nave of Yeilding Chapel is a celebration of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. This theme is dramatized by the colors and events in the seasons of the Christian year. In brief, the Christian year seeks to tell the story of the great events of the life of Christ and, therefore, to relate once more in yet another way the themes of the Gospel. There are six major seasons in the Christian year, in chronological order: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Trinity. (Trinity is sometimes divided into two sub-seasons: Pentecost and Kingdomtide.) These six seasons comprise two liturgical cycles. One cycle revolves around the birth of Jesus and the other around his crucifixion/resurrection. For more information on the specific symbols, you may explore the tabs below.
The Gold Window - God the Creator
The symbol at the top of the gold window is the hand of God blessing the creation. Since gold is the color used for the holiest days of the Christian year, we find in this window several Easter, or resurrection, symbols. As will be the custom with each of the four windows, we will now move to a symbol by symbol description.
1. The Hand of God - Symbol of God the Creator; "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)
2. IC-XC and the Butterfly - The letters IC (iota, eta) are the first and last letters of the Greek word for "Jesus". The Greek letters XC (chi, sigma) are the first and last letters of the Greek word for "Christ". There is no finer symbol for the resurrection than the butterfly. From the larval stage, significant of the mortal life of humankind, the butterfly becomes a chrysalis, to all appearance without life, then suddenly it bursts the cocoon in which it was sealed and comes forth to soar into the sky with a new body and beautiful wings.
3. IHC - The letters IHC (iota, eta, sigma) are the first two and last or the first three letters of the Greek word for "Jesus". This symbol is essentially the same as IHS but more ancient, and said to be of Byzantine origin.
4. The Chalice and Wafer - Represents the agony in Gethsemane recalling the words of Jesus in the prayer recorded in Luke 22:42, "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."
5. The Lily - Symbol of Easter and resurrection. The bulb decays in the ground, yet from it new life is released.
6. The Bursting Pomegranate - Symbol of the resurrection and power of our Lord, who was able to come forth in new life.
7. The Reclining Lamb with the Banner of Victory - The lamb is a symbol for our Lord. Here the lamb is seen reclining with the banner of victory, suggesting both his suffering and the victorious nature of his sacrifice. The lamb reminds us of the prophecy of the suffering servant: "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." (Isaiah 53:7)
8. The Six-Pointed Star - The star of creation. Known now to the Jews as the Star of David. This is an ancient symbol of God signifying the six-fold attributes of the Deity: Power, Wisdom, Majesty, Love, Mercy, and Justice.
9. St. Matthew- The Winged Creature with the Man's Face - The winged man represents Matthew because his Gospel narrative traces Jesus' human genealogy. The humanity of Jesus and his incarnation are important themes for Matthew.
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 superscription 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.
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".
21. 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.
The Green Window - The Holy Trinity
The gold, purple, and red windows symbolize Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinity Season, or Kingdomtide, and the season of Epiphany are represented by the color of growing things because it dramatizes the growth of the church in the life of the world.
28. Triangle and Trefoil - The triangle is, perhaps, the first symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit developed by the Church. The trefoil, in truth a conventional form of the shamrock, dates from the 5th Century when St. Patrick first began its use. The trefoil was seen extensively from the 13th Century onward, particularly in church architecture and ornamentation. Each of the four windows in the nave has the repeating symbol of the three interlocking circles forming a trefoil, still another symbol of the unity of the Holy Spirit.
29. IHS - IHS are the first three letters (iota, eta, sigma) of the Greek word for "Jesus". The letters IHC are the more ancient, though the letters IHS are far more common now.
30. The Alpha and Omega - The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet signifying that Christ is the beginning and end of all things. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)
31. Jerusalem or Crusader's Cross - This cross, in reality four Latin crosses with their bases joined to signify the spread of the Gospel to the four corners of the earth, also appears on the steeple of the Chapel. The symbolism of the joined crosses has three major themes in its interpretation through the years: (1) the center cross, formed by the joining of the lower ends of the other four crosses, has been seen to represent the placement of the law by the Gospel, typified by the four small crosses; (2) some have taken the fivefold cross to symbolize the five wounds of our Lord received at his crucifixion, and (3) because of the use of this symbol on the shields, banners, and coats-of-arms of the Crusaders, some have taken the image to represent the Crusades from Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain - the large center cross for Great Britain, the smaller crosses for the four other countries.
32. The Ship - The ship is one of the more familiar symbols for the church. The word "nave", signifying the main part of the interior of a church, comes from the Latin word for "ship".
33. The Five-Pointed Star - Generally known as the Epiphany or Bethlehem star, this symbol is sometimes referred to as the star of Jacob (Numbers 24:17). The more familiar reference, however, is found in Matthew 2:2, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.
34. The Cross and Lamp - This symbol, like others in this window, depicts the impact of the church on the world. The image here is one of Christian higher education. Another image called to mind is that of the Word of God, a "lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105)
35. Escallop Shell with Drops of Water - A symbol of our Lord's baptism. The scriptural reference to this event, appearing in all four Gospels, is generally taken to be the first reference in the life of Christ to what later became known as the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It is here that Father, Son, and Spirit are first mentioned in the same context. "And when Jesus was baptized, he went immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'"
36. St. Mark - The Winged Man with the Lion's Face - This is symbolic of Mark's Gospel because the narrative begins: "The voice of one crying in the wilderness," suggesting the roar of a lion (Mark 1:3). The royalty of Christ and his resurrection are important themes for Mark.
The Lord's Table
The dominant symbol of Yeilding Chapel is the communion table centered in the midst of the gathered congregation. This arrangement symbolizes the fact that Christian worship celebrates a Reality which is in the midst of us rather than removed and distant.
The symbols around the table represent the twelve disciples. Each symbol is placed within an arch. The twelve arches are echoed in the interior structure of the nave, reminding us that in the earliest days the mission of the church was entrusted to the Disciples.
Peter - The crossed keys recall Peter's confession and our Lord's gift to him of the keys of the kingdom. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)
Andrew - Apostle to the Gentiles, said to have preached in Greece. Tradition says that while Andrew was preaching in Greece he was put to death on a cross of this type. He had requested that he be crucified on a cross unlike that of his Lord.
James the Lesser - Said to have worked in and near Jerusalem. According to tradition, in the ninety-sixth year of his life he was thrown from the topmost portion of the Temple in Jerusalem and his mangled dead body was sawn in half.
Serpent Rising from the Chalice
John -Bishop of the Church at Ephesus. St. John died a natural death, after attaining a great age, and is said to have been the only one of the twelve disciples not to die a violent death. Various attempts were made on his life, but he was miraculously spared. Early writers state that there was an attempt made on his life by giving him a poisoned chalice. Therefore, he is represented by a serpent rising from a chalice.
Cross and Loaves
Philip - Tradition says he was a missionary to Phrygia and Galatia. St. Philip is said to have been a martyr either by crucifixion or the spear. Another strand of tradition indicates that he was bound to a cross and stoned to death. A cross and two loaves of bread symbolize St. Philip because of his remark when Jesus fed the multitude. "Two hundred denarii wound not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little." (John 6:7)
Bartholomew - Said to have probably worked around the borders of India and Armenia. Symbolized by a scimitar because of the tradition that he was flayed alive, crucified, and decapitated.
Square and Spear
Thomas - St. Thomas was an evangelist in Persia and India. In India he is said to have built a church with his own hands. St. Thomas was shot with arrows, stoned, and left to die alone. A pagan priest then ran him through with a spear. Thus he is represented by a square and a spear.
Matthew - After preaching to the Hebrews in Palestine, he went to Ethiopia. Concerning the manner of St. Matthew's death, nothing is definitely known. Some say he died a natural death, while others say he suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia by crucifixion and then decapitation by a battle-axe.
Sword and Escallop
St. James the Greater - Traditionally said to have travelled and preached in Spain. The escallop shell is the symbol of pilgrimage by the sea, and the sword symbolic of martyrdom. The escallop, being a symbol of pilgrimage, stands for the zeal and missionary spirit of this apostle.
Inverted Cross, Spear, and Club
Jude- Various traditions and legends place St. Jude's labors in Mesopotamia, Pontus, and Armenia. The exact way in which he died is not known. One writer says he passed away peacefully at Edessa. Jude is represented by an inverted cross, lance, and club because tradition indicates that after being clubbed and lanced, he was crucified on an inverted cross.
Fish and Hook
Simon - Nothing of the scene of Simon's labors is authentically known, but some traditions associate him with the region east of Palestine, while others say he went to Persia, or to Africa, and that he accompanied St. Jude on his journeys. Historians suggest that he was martyred by beheading or being sawn asunder. A fish and hook symbolize the disciple Simon, denoting that he was a fisher of men through preaching the Gospel.
Thirty Pieces of Silver and Rope
Judas - Judas, according to the New Testament, acted as treasurer for the twelve disciples. During the last days at Jerusalem, Jesus knew that Judas was betraying him, as Matthew records the story, for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). The Gospels tell us only that Judas, by kissing Jesus, pointed him out to the crowd who had come to arrest him. When he saw that Jesus was arrested, Judas tried to return to the priests the thirty pieces of silver with which they had bribed him. When they would not take them, according to Matthew, Judas hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5) Therefore, Judas is represented by a piece of rope, formed in the letter "J", and by thirty pieces of silver.
The Clergy Benches
The Clergy Benches are placed within the circle of pews in order to remind us that service to the world is the task of the whole congregation and not of the minister only. The three benches have symbols which echo the theme of the nave itself as well as individual symbols in the gold, purple, and red windows.
The Hand of God
The hand is used as a symbol of God and was the only such symbol seen for the first eight centuries. The origin of the symbol of the hand is obvious, as frequent references to it are made throughout scripture, "The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek him." (Ezra 8:22); "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God." (I Peter 5:6) The symbol of the hand is used in various forms, the most familiar of which is in the act of blessing as illustrated here. This symbol, from the Latin tradition, represents with the three open fingers, the threefold quality of the blessing - "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." The rays of light extending from the hand are ancient symbols of divine power. The symbol of the hand also appears at the crown of the gold window.
The Standing Lamb with the Banner of Victory
The lamb is standing here, no longer wounded, signifying the victorious nature of our Lord's sacrifice. Christ, the lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world and comes in new life to the community of faith. The tri-radiant nimbus is an indication of divinity. The symbol of the lamb with the banner also appears, in slightly different form, in the gold window.
The Descending Dove
Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, the dove also appears with the tri-radiant nimbus. The symbol of the dove also appears at the crown of the red window.
3D Animation of the Yeilding Chapel Interior.
Reserving the Chapel
The Chapel may be reserved for worship services, gatherings of religious groups, and other rituals, including weddings of BSC faculty, staff, alumni, or current students. It has 108 seats, a Shantz organ,a Yamaha upright piano, and full A/V capabilities (CDs, DVDs, powerpoint). The Chapel may be reserved through the Office of Facilities and Events (226-4904).
From the Bruno Entrance, turn left immediately after the gate, cross the exit drive, and continue to the stop sign. Turn left and follow the road around, after the second stop sign, turn left into the parking lot. Park in the lot and walk up the hill to the Chapel.