The nearly three hundred square feet east window at St. John the Apostle was installed in December 2010 and has been one of our most challenging and rewarding projects to date.
Our depiction of the Resurrection focuses on St. John’s gospel and the description of the actions of St. John, St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalen. St. John is seen as being the first to reach the empty tomb, yet waiting and deferring to St. Peter who is depicted with forward momentum to indicate his being the first to enter the sepulchre. Focus on the burial shroud and head piece is achieved through contrast of light against dark within the tomb, and by the positioning of the figures. St. Mary Magdalen is depicted overcome with grief and in front of the rolled aside tomb stone indicating her first discovery of the empty tomb and her continued presence in the garden after John and Peter have left. The garden is shown by the foliage and the stylized depiction of irises as symbolic of the suffering of the Virgin for the Passion of Christ.
The Risen Christ is depicted in the upper section of the window and is given focal prominence by calculated use of line and colour to bathe the figure in the light that flows from the base to the top of the window, indicating Christ’s descent to the dead and ascension to heaven as described in the Apostles’ Creed. The lower section of the window cannot be viewed from the main body of the church due to the balcony railing and the seating in that area, but is visible from the outside. The angels are not within the tomb but used to guide the eye of the viewer up to the figure of Christ and around the window, while the symmetry of the figure aids the visual balance.
By treating the areas as a whole, enhanced by the divisions rather than defined by them, by guiding the eye to specific focal points in a smooth visual path, we achieve a window with impact designed to provide a new dimension each time it is viewed.
~ The Most Reverend Mark Hagemoen, Bishop of Mackenzie-Fort Smith. Former Pastor at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, Vancouver.