The Narthex

The narthex is the vestibule between the main entrance of the church and the nave.  In traditional Gothic architecture and at Trinity, the main entrance and narthex are always located at the western end of the building. The narthex at Trinity contains the two towers to the left and right of the vestibule and balcony.

All five windows in the narthex were created by the Willet Studios of Philadelphia,

The Great West Window forms the centerpiece of the west wall of the Cathedral and is framed by four large lancets in the towers—Saint Matthew, Saint Mark (north tower), Saint Luke, and Saint John (south tower).

The nimbus about the head of each apostle has become emblematic of holiness and denotes the unusual piety of the apostles, martyrs, and saints. Since each of the apostles shown here was a writer, reference to writing is made either by an open book or by a scroll. Each apostle is accompanied by one of the winged creatures of Rev.4:7 (see also Ezek. 1:5, 10).

36.The Saint Matthew Window (1973):

Three money bags at the top of the window refer to Matthew's former occupation as a tax collector—his occupation before Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” (Matt. 9:9-13)

In the center of the window, a barefooted Saint Matthew is shown with a nimbus about his head. He holds a quill in his right hand and an open book in his left.

The winged creature with the face of a man at the bottom of the window is a frequent attribute of Matthew, as is the book that Matthew holds in his left hand because, according to St. Jerome, Matthew “began his narrative as though about a man, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matt. 1.1)

INSCRIPTION: 1973 IN THANKSGIVING FOR GEORGIA HULL HERBERT AND ROBERT BEVERLY HERBERT

Memorial: This window was given in thanksgiving for Georgia Hull Herbert and Robert Beverley Herbert by their children Robert Beverley Herbert, Jr.; James Hull Herbert; Georgia Herbert Hart; and Mary Herbert Taylor.

37.The Saint Mark Window (1973):

The upper portion of the window carries a symbol often used to refer to the Holy Bible—a lone open book with a quill. In the center, Saint Mark, with a nimbus about his head, holds a scroll.

The winged lion at the bottom is the second creature of Revelation, associated with Saint Mark at Rev. 4:7. In his gospel, Saint Mark emphasized the royal dignity of Christ; the lion, as the king of beasts, characterizes that dignity. Saint Mark also emphasized the resurrection, and in the early days of Christianity, the lion was a figure of the resurrection.

INSCRIPTION: IN LOVING MEMORY OF JESSIE THOMSON CRAWFORD 1899-1961

MEMORIAL: This window was given in loving memory of JessIe Thomson Crawford (1899-1961) by her children: Geddings Hardy Crawford, Jr.; Louise Crawford Moorefield; and Emma Jeanne Crawford Kean.

 

38.The Great West Window/The Trinity Window (1969):

Because of its location, this window is generally referred to as the Great West Window. It is also called the Trinity Window because of its many references to the Holy Trinity and the name of the parish. The window also features the protective cross pattée and the numbers 3 and 7 predominate.

The tracery lights at the top of the window announce the theme of Trinity with alpha on the left, omega on the right, symbolizing the eternity of the deity (see Altar and #9, 29, 33, 35). In the middle three fish symbolizing the Trinity. Jesus called the fish “the Sign of Jonah” (Matt. 12:38-45), indicating resurrection. The fish is the earliest of Christian symbols. St. Augustine explains (City of God, 18:23) that the Greek word for fish ΙΧΘΥΣ  (“ichthus”) contain the initial letters of of Ἱησοῦς (“Jesus”) Χριστός (“Christ”) Θεοῦ Υι!ος (“Son of God”) Σωtήρ (“Savior”).

The upper portion of the lancet at the far left illustrates the Creation story of Gen. 1. central portion of the lancet at the far left illustrates God the Father. From heaven, with the newly-created sun, moon, stars and planets in the background, He extends His hand backed by a cross pattée in benediction above the newly-created world populated by creatures of the air (3 birds), sea (3 fishes) and land (beast and 3 trees) to Adam. Adam reaches one hand to God (as in the Sistine Chapel) and clutches his rib with his left hand.

The three central lancets derive from Revelation. At the center sits the Son, Jesus Christ, his hands and feet bearing the stigmata. He is seated upon a blue-green rainbow, “in sight like unto an emerald” (Rev.4:3)  He holds a holy book in his left hand and with his right he raises two fingers and thumb,  a symbol of the Trinity, in benediction. The earth, a blue and white sphere, is his footstool. (Acts 7:49) Outside his full-body nimbus is a red circle of 10 angels (Rev.5:11) and a blue ring of 24 elders of the church with crowns of gold (Rev. 4:4).  The elders likely represent the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel and the 12 apostles (Rev.21:12-14), indicating the completion of the church in heaven. At the corners of these rings are the four winged creatures representing the four gospels, winged man, eagle, winged lion, and winged ox. (Rev. 4:6-11; see #36, 37, 39, 40). 

Below the figure of Christ, In the lower portion of the central window are seven candlesticks representing the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 1:20; see #29). Beneath these, a lamb stands on a book with seven seals and bears aloft the banner of victory of life over sin and death. (Rev.5) When the lamb opens the book seal by seal, he marks the Second Coming of Jesus. (Rev.6)

To the left of the lamb are the four Old Testament prophets. (Rev. 5:8-9) Daniel and Ezekiel are obscured by Jeremiah, who holds a stone, the reputed instrument of his martyrdom (see #19), and Isaiah (see #18), whose lips are being cleansed by an angel who touches them with a burning coal from the altar of sacrifice. (Isa. 6:6)  To the right of the lamb are four New Testament apostles. Peter holds the keys of the kingdom (see #17) and Luke, the physician, holds the mortar and pestle. (see #40) Two other apostles are obscured.

The upper portion of the far right lancet illustrates Acts 2:2-13, in which the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, as it appeared to Jesus in all four Gospels (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32),wearing the triradiate nimbus, delivers seven red-tipped tongues of flame delivered at Pentecost representing the word of the Lord in different languages to the common people of the world, who are depicted in the lower part of the lancet. The seven tongues may possibly reflect the Greek and Latin versions of Isa. 11:2-3 in which the Holy Spirit delivers seven gifts to the Messiah—wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (the Hebrew version gives six gifts). These seven gifts are bestowed at Baptism and strengthened at Confirmation.

In the lower portion of the leftmost lancet are four theologians, three English, one German, and each dressed in the garb of their period. On the left rear is John Bunyan (1628-1688), author of Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). To Bunyan’s left is Martin Luther (1483-1546),  leader of the Protestant Reformation, author of Ninety-Five Theses (1517), and translator of the Bible into the German vernacular (1534). In front of these figures, the bearded William Tyndale (1494-1536), leader of the Reformation in England and translator of the Bible into English (1526), is on the left. On the right holding a cross patté is Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), Archbishop of Canterbury and author of The Book of Common Prayer (1548-9).

Below the saddle bar of the Great West Window are depictions of four American or English bishops and one preacher. From right to left are: Charles Woodmason (1720-1789), a prominent layman and magistrate of Charleston, who volunteered to enter the ministry in 1765 with the express purpose of serving in the back settlements where he had lived for three years. He was ordained by the Bishop of London and employed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel as missionary to the frontier, where he served faithfully until driven out by the American Revolution. William White (1748-1836), a chaplain of the Continental Congress and rector of Christ Church in Philadelphia, was the first and fourth presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States (1789; 1795-1836). The seal included in his panel is that of the Episcopal Church. Bishop Kirkman George Finlay (1877-1938), a rector of Trinity Church, became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Upper South Carolina in 1922 when the Diocese of South Carolina was sub-divided. Behind him, a vignette shows the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC, which he started in 1928. Philander Chase (1775-1852), a mission priest when Ohio was a wilderness, founded Kenyon College. He was the Bishop of Ohio from 1819 until 1831 and the Bishop of Illinois in Chicago from 1835 until 1852. He was tireless in his efforts to raise money to support the work of missions before the formation of the general missionary society in 1820. William Temple (1881-1944), Archbishop of Canterbury (1942-1944), a prominent Anglican social theologian and was a founder of the Council of Christians and Jews in 1942, which led to the formation of the World Council of Churches, whose seal is shown beside him.

The Reverend C. FitzSimons Allison helped Willet Studios with this complicated design, which features the cross-pattée. (See #34)

MEMORIAL: THIS WINDOW WAS GIVEN IN MEMORY OF DR. J. RICHARD ALLISON AND IN THANKSGIVING FOR SUSAN FITSIMONS ALLISON BY THEIR CHILDREN: FRANCES ALLISON ALEXANDER, DR. J. RICHARD ALLISON, JR.,THE REVEREND C. FITZSIMONS ALLISON, D.D.

39.The Saint John Window (1973):

This window shows Saint John, with a triradiate nimbus, holding a scroll in his left hand and a cup with an emerging serpent in his right.

John’s association with a chalice derives from Matt. 20:23 and Mark 10:39 in which Jesus promises John and James that they will “shall drink indeed of my cup.” The snake appears to come from an old non-Biblical legend that John was offered a cup of poisoned wine, but he blessed the wine, the poison turned into a serpent and slithered out of the cup and he drank unharmed.

At the top, the window shows an open book with quills. Below, it shows a winged eagle, the fourth beast of Revelation. St. Jerome associates this beast with John, who, “having taken up eagle’s wings and hastening toward higher matters, discusses the Word of God.”

INSCRIPTION: IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOHN SHREINER REYNOLDS 1887-1918

MEMORIAL: THIS WINDOW WAS GIVEN IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOHN SHREINER REYNOLDS (1887-1918) BY EMILY BELLINGER REYNOLDS.

40.The Saint Luke Window (1972):

The top of the window shows a closed book and a palette with brushes. Beginning in the 8th century, Luke was said to have been the first icon painter and Guilds of St. Luke housed and protected painters.

“Luke, the beloved physician.” (Colossians 4:14) is shown here with a nimbus, holding a scroll in his right hand and in his left hand a mortar and pestle. Over his shoulder he wears a horn to hold his medicines.

The lower portion of the window shows a sacrificial calf, the third creature of Revelation, is associated with Luke because he began his gospel with the story of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, (Luke 1:5-80), who was murdered in the temple (Matt. 23:35). Luke’s gospel goes on to focus on the sacrifice, priesthood, and atonement of Jesus.

INSCRIPTION: IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOAN SHREINER REYNOLDS FAUNT (1918-1969)

The top of the window shows a closed book and a palette with brushes. Beginning in the 8th century, Luke was said to have been the first icon painter and Guilds of St. Luke housed and protected painters.

“Luke, the beloved physician.” (Colossians 4:14) is shown here with a nimbus, holding a scroll in his right hand and in his left hand a mortar and pestle. Over his shoulder he wears a horn to hold his medicines.

The lower portion of the window shows a sacrificial calf, the third creature of Revelation, is associated with Luke because he began his gospel with the story of Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, (Luke 1:5-80), who was murdered in the temple (Matt. 23:35). Luke’s gospel goes on to focus on the sacrifice, priesthood, and atonement of Jesus.

INSCRIPTION: IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOAN SHREINER REYNOLDS FAUNT (1918-1969)

MEMORIAL: This window was given in loving memory of Joan Shreiner Reynolds FAUNT (1918-1969) by Emily Bellinger Reynolds.