Acts of the Apostles

actsofapostlesLeft Window Pane

Crossing to the Gospel side of the main nave, the story resumes. Both panels illustrate the Great Commission. Jesus is appearing to His disciples on a mountain in Galilee. The Resurrection is accomplished, Judas is now deceased. Jesus tells them to continue His work in the words: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

The symbol of this command combines the globe of the earth with the open Gospel and the escallop shell of Baptism. The three drops of water refer to the Trinitarian formula for Baptism.

At the upper right a secondary symbol of crossed keys is seen. These are the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Christ gave these to Peter, and later to all the Apostles and His Church.

The IHC is more correctly used here than IHS of which the former is a variation. Both are used in Church Art. The fitched Crusader’s Cross described previously is in the upper right of the lower panel.

Center Window Pane

Here the faithful are gathered in the upper room to celebrate the Jewish feast of Pentecost. During their celebration, there was a sudden sound like a mighty rushing wind and a tongue of fire settled over each disciple, illuminating their faces. The Holy Ghost inspired them to carry on Christ’s work according to His command. Peter is the central figure. On that day he preached such a moving sermon that three thousand people were converted and baptized.

The secondary symbol in the upper right is the descending dove. This symbol for the Holy Spirit is derived from the story of Jesus’ Baptism. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. During Jesus’ baptism a dove flew down from heaven and a voice was heard to exclaim: “Thou art My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” A variant of the chi rho is seen in the left border.

The medallion in the lower panel contains the stately ship with a cross on the sail. This is the traditional symbol for the Church. The church is kept afloat in the stormy seas of shism and heresy by the love of Christ.

Right Window Pane

The two heroes of the Book of Acts are Peter and Paul. Paul was a later addition, while Peter was prominent from the start of Jesus ministry. Paul, formerly named Saul, was known for persecuting Christians. He had received permission to journey to Damascus and bring any Christian man or woman back to Jerusalem in bonds. On the road he heard a voice saying: “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” Here he has fallen from his rearing horse stricken blind by the light from heaven. After his sight was restored, Paul, his named changed from Saul, began to preach about Jesus. He became a tireless Apostle, traveling with the Gospel to distant lands.

The secondary symbol of a cross with rays appears near Paul’s feet on the left. In the upper right is a snake and a fire. This refers to the story of his shipwreck at Melita (Malta). A fire was lit and a viper came out of it and bit Paul on the hand. Amazingly, no harm came to him from the poisonous bite. This led the barbarians of the island to think he was a god.

His best known symbol is the Sword of the Spirit, the Spiritus Gladius and an open book representing the Word of God