The Great Crown of St. Stephen's

This text has been condensed from Artist Dr. Richard Caemmerer Jr.'s (Valparaiso University) description of his stained glass creations in the Sanctuary of St. Stephen's.

The Story of the "Great Crown" of St. Stephen's

As you enter the new Sanctuary, you are surrounded by the beauty of the softly shaded glass which has been so artistically blended as to enhance the setting and architecture. The following will help you to understand the planning which has been used by the artist to acheive this unusual beauty:

  1. "The Crown" is the horizontal ring aound the top of the entire church. The "Crown of Thorns" over the Altar is soft and low key because the congregation faces it during the service.
  2. This "Crown" to the right of the Altar has the large morning star of Christ and circles representing jewel inserts. The windows then become lighter in color as they extend both right and left.
  3. Over the entrance the "Crown" shows an interwoven theme of yellows, golds and reds of joy.

Returning to the Altar area observe the vertical panels representing the "Church Year".

  1. To the left of the Altar this area is symbolic of the Lord's Supper, the blood, the wine and the chalice.
  2. At the right of the Altar is the water of Baptism passing through the cross-form and the Sacrements of our faith.
  3. On either side of these windows we have the first element of the Church Year which is Lent and Advent. The motif here is, of course, violet.
  4. The vertical windows at the middle of the "Crown" use the motif of the Trinity season. The emphasis color is green and here we find the Kyrio, the monogram of Christ, also the ship and the "Vine Branch".
  5. The two windows on each side of the entrance are the "Red Season" windows, one with the descending dove and the other with the star tongues of fire and flame.
  6. Inside of the alcove and next to the entrance are the "White Season" windows representing Chistmas and Easter with the star over the manger and the shaft of wheat reaching for sunlight.

Note that the windows have beautifully carried out the architectural theme of centrality and that the above Gospel story has been skillfully blended into this grand artistic triumph.

It is hoped you will find many moments of satisfaction in using this guide to understanding the Great Crown of St. Stephen's.