Our Beautiful Church


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Pictorial History of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART ONE: INTRODUCTION It is safe to say that every parishioner admires the beauty of our church, but not everyone is aware of its history and genesis, not to mention the richness and importance of its manifold artistic and architectural details. This series of articles appeared originally in our bulletins of November 10, 2002 through January 12, 2003. They cover most — but not all — of the inner and outer treasures of our church. The first article provides the only known picture of a truly significant event: groundbreaking day, the very beginning of our church. The subsequent articles analyze most of its main architectural and artistic details, especially the main altar, the stained-glass windows, carvings and decorations. We hope to have uncovered for our parishioners many details that are difficult to discern from the pews and also to have succeeded in explaining the meaning and significance of each major aspect of the veritable work of art that is our church. Among many sources, one we used frequently is a booklet published by our parish in 1988, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of groundbreaking day (which took place on May 18, 1938). The 1988 booklet contains an article on the treasures of our church, written by a very knowledgeable person who wished to remain anonymous; this is an excellent source of information on a number of important details. The photographs we will be using, however, are entirely new — our very talented volunteer photographer, Pepa Tanousis, spent considerable time producing more than 150 pictures, of which we used as many as possible to illustrate this series. Parishioners can log on to our website for more information on our church history, well as the latest bulletins: www.ourladyqueenofmartyrs.org Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church, photographed in 2002. Page 2


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Our Beautiful Church Page 3


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART TWO: THE ORIGINS AND THE CONCEPT THE BEGINNING It required a generation of planning and saving — nearly twenty-five years — in order to realize the vision of the first pastor, Msgr. McLaughlin, of a group of buildings here in Forest Hills that exemplified architectural unity, enlivened the then fledgling community and served the faithful of the area. His successors and now Msgr. Funaro, our pastor, have shouldered the responsibility of maintaining and enhancing the church, school, rectory and convent. Even now, work continues to be done in the ongoing effort to provide continuity to the constant improvement of our magnificent facilities — for instance, work in the convent building has started to convert it into a retirement home for priests. But, through the years, the true trustees of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs have been the people who, with their unstinting support, have sustained the pastors’ efforts. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church reflects several historical impulses. It owes something to the medieval flowering of ecclesiastical architecture and it is also a product of the nineteenth century gothic revival period in America. It borrows from both in some rather interesting ways. But it is a reflection, too, of the determination of a then small Catholic community in Forest Hills to make a substantial statement of faith during the uncertain years of the 1930s. MEDIEVAL TIES We know that our church was modeled after the English gothic cathedral at Durham, constructed during the years 1093 to 1130 — which would place it within a period of growing Catholic influence in Europe. It was the time of St. Bernard of Clarivaux (d. 1153), who was one of the Church’s greatest preachers. His aim was to “move hearts, not expound scripture.” Henry II was king of England; Thomas Becket had not yet met his end. The role of architect, artist and builder was generally filled by one man, and so modestly that few names have come down to us from that time. Only their work reminds us of the creative and practical problems they had to solve in order to erect churches that would be durable, not too costly and relatively safe from fire. Our church here at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs is not an exact copy of the Durham cathedral — it is much smaller, and certain architectural elements were simplified or eliminated in order to keep costs at a manageable level. Nevertheless, the artistic integrity remains, as can be seen in the comparative pictures printed on page 5. Our next article in this series (A Walk through the Church) will delve into general points of interest, before we proceed to discuss and depict specific elements. Page 4


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Our Beautiful Church Our Beautiful Church (continuation) COMPARING SIMILARITIES The similarities between Durham cathedral and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church become very apparent when looking at basic architectural aspects and stylistic elements. For instance (see below), when comparing the main doors, the naves and the floor plans, the fact that they are conceptually identical jumps to the eye. Photo at right: Durham cathedral, seen from the train station. DURHAM CATHEDRAL Main doors Floor plans Views of the naves OUR LADY QUEEN OF MARTYRS CHURCH Photos (except Durham) by Pepa Tanousis Page 5


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART THREE: A WALK THROUGH OUR LADY QUEEN OF MARTYRS CHURCH WHY ROSE WINDOWS? In part 2, we mentioned the problems faced by the medieval architect in erecting churches that would be durable, not too costly and safe from fire. Safety and structural integrity in these cathedrals might be provided by erecting thick and solid stone walls; but what of light? Gothic architects were opposed to leaving anything in darkness, and so enormous rose windows — like the three we have at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs — became the norm. Medievalists believed that the fire of stained glass is celestial light. More about our rose windows in later articles. RIB VAULTS, COLUMNS AND WINDOWS Rib vaults form the ceilings of both side aisles and that of the narthex or vestibule on Ascan Avenue. The largest vault is located above the end of the center aisle, in front of the Communion rail. This point in the church is called the crossing; the tower we see from outside is located directly over this spot (see photo). The five pairs of columns that run along the center aisle hold up the central roof and the second level — or clerestory — of our church. Overall, if walls can be relieved from this burden, they can be virtually eliminated. Sightlines in the church, then, are rarely interrupted. The rose windows, the choir window and the side aisle windows owe their great size to these supporting structures. On all these windows, the stone tracery (overlying stone skeleton) that can be seen both inside and outside the church merely holds the glass and helps prevent damage from wind and weather. This tracery has no supporting structural role in the building. The areas in the building structure that continue, over time, to support its great weight do not do so statically; it is an active, organic process. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church stands silently doing its work decade after decade. HOW LIGHT THE BURDEN The gothic builder wanted to get rid of weight and mass, to let light in and arrive at the most delicate possible structure. The challenge, thus, was to relieve walls of the weight of ceilings and windows. Builders transferred that weight-bearing job elsewhere; modern architects refer to this as point loading. The solid black areas on the floor plan of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs refer to points in the structure that take on the entire weight of the church: DEVOTION’S FORM In the eleventh century, the builders of Durham were the first to begin exploring specific medieval innovations to allow this. Notice, for example, that all of the arches in the interior of our church are slightly pointed at their tops. The medieval pointed arch permits the weight of the roof and wall to flow or travel down the arch’s sides and into load-bearing columns. Arches cap all side-aisle windows and appear in the back wall of the church; they also appear atop the enormous openings between the piers or columns running down the center aisle. The narrow ribs or lines you see in Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ rib vaults perform the same function: the weight of the building material travels to the four outer points and down into load-bearing columns. In medieval architecture, the long perspective — or long vista — of the repetitive rhythm of arches and and columns all lead to the distant mystery of the Sacrament. In the early centuries of Christianity, the Eastern or Russian Orthodox faith tended to prefer the basilica as its own form of cathedral. The basilica, regardless of its floor plan, would have a great dome arching far above a central location in the building. A long aisle might be incorporated, but ceremonies were held, for the most part, at the center of the church. The supreme moment would occur when the patriarch met the emperor beneath the dome, exchanged the kiss of peace and shared the chalice. The Sacrament was prepared secretly in a distant part of the church. Page 6


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Our Beautiful Church DEVOTION’S FORM (continuation) Roman Catholic liturgy, however, has as its climax the elevation of the Sacrament, followed by Communion — sharing the precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ with the congregation.This all takes place at the end of the center aisle or nave, so called from the latin word for ship (navis), implying that the church is a refuge from life’s troubled waters. All important ceremonies — Masses, weddings, funerals — begin with a procession from the back of the church to the sanctuary. All of this requires a long central aisle: NINETEENTH CENTURY CONTRIBUTION Although all previous descriptions of the planning stages and building of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church refer exclusively to its being freely rendered from the cathedral at Durham, our church actually owes much to the nineteenth-century Gothic Revivalist movement in America. In short, this is the same period that inspired Saint Patrick’s cathedral, Grand Central station and a host of other buildings that have not been duplicated since for integrity of design and civic presence. There was a surge of ecclesiatical construction during this time and a number of architectural firms — among them Maginnis & Walsh, designers of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs — grew rapidly to meet the demand. Our church, although not begun until 1938, benefits from a number of the period’s characteristics. Any revivalist time, in any artistic expression — whether in painting, sculpture, literature or architecture — looks with renewed interest and appreciation on the past. In the nineteenth century, architects took careful note of the building methods, decoration and arrangement of gothic ecclesiastical building and added touches of their own. They particularly admired the efficient and flexible ground plans around which the Church or monastic orders built cathedrals, abbeys and parish churches. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs “campus” resembles in the arrangement of church, school, rectory and convent buildings nothing so much as a cathedral close or compound. All buildings are compatible; small lanes around and between the buildings take a viewer through a constantly shifting series of pleasant perspectives. The buildings are within easy distance of one another and the entire arrangement effectively removes most awareness of the bustle on surrounding major streets. All this, and in the middle of Queens! Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church is cruciform, or crossshaped, as many early churches were. The transept, or arms of the cross, lies between confessionals. The crossing, mentioned also in the previous page, is the location where the transept intersects with the center aisle. This cruciform shape allows for smaller areas of devotion, such as our Sacred Heart chapel, to exist within the larger church. Ordinarily, churches were oriented along a west/east axis. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs church has its altar at the west end, which allows the main entrance to be located on Ascan Avenue. Upon reflection, no other entrance would have been as effective or appropriate. Photos by Pepa Tanousis Page 7


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART FOUR: THE MAIN ALTAR The bulletin editors had the opportunity to read the text of one of the then monthly bulletins written — we think — in 1941 (the bulletin is not dated), at a time when work in our church was nearing completion. It is of great interest and fits perfectly in this series of articles. Here it is, in its entirety, enhanced by photos taken by Pepa Tanousis: THE GENERAL THEME (cont.) The general theme expressed is that of the relation of religion to the social order, with special reference to the United States of America. St. Patrick and St. Boniface represent the patron saints of the Irish and the German immigrants, who formed the great masses of Catholics throughout the country and especially in New York. St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi represent the protest of religion against the evils of the social order and the solution of the problems of the present day offered by the Catholic philosophy of life. Associated with St. Patrick are the saints of parish priests. Four have been chosen with this special point in mind: St. John Vianney, the humble Curé d’Ars, who, by his simple priestly ministrations transformed his parish from one of the worst in France to a veritable heaven on earth; St. John Nepomucene, the martyr of the seal of the confessional, who gave his life rather than reveal what he heard in confession; St. Charles Borromeo and St. Philip Neri, both of whom are beloved for their pastoral ministrations. Around St. Boniface are grouped four in recognition of their apostolic work in New York State — St. Isaac Jogues, one of the Jesuit martyrs, who gave his life for the conversion of Indians; Kateri Tekakwitha, the saintly Indian girl; and two pioneers in Catholic education and charity: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and Saint Elizabeth Seton, both of whom began their work in New York City and whose influence extended throughout the entire country. EDITOR’S NOTE: St. Isaac Jogues and Kateri Tekakwitha have shrines in Auriesville and Fonda, N.Y. respectively. They were the subject of the third article in our series “Summer Getaways with a Spiritual Focus” (July 21, 2002 bulletin). THE ARTIST Just before Christmas the five painted panels were installed in the reredos of the main altar. These are the work of Mr. Frederick de Henwood, a man of great artistic ability who has an established reputation in the art world for many excellent works of painting and sculpture. Mr. de Henwood did the Stations of the Cross for our church, as well as the main altar panels. The beauty of design and color and the spiritual quality of Mr. de Henwood’s work has received the highest praise from those who visit our church. THE GENERAL THEME For the information of our people, we wish to explain the general theme of the main altar reredos. The central panel is, of course, Christ, showing His compassionate Heart in pictorial interpretation of His words: Come to Me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will refresh you. The four major panels represent St. Patrick and St. Boniface, to the left and to the right of the the central panel, respectively. In the upper panels are represented St. Dominic and St. Francis of Assisi. Photos by Pepa Tanousis Page 8


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Our Beautiful Church THE GENERAL THEME (cont.) Associated with St. Dominic, whose Order of Preachers numbers among its illustrious sons the great master of philosophy, St. Thomas Aquinas, are those who testified to the point of martyrdom on behalf of the Catholic philosophy of life in opposition to the philosophy of entrenched power and force. They are represented by the Pope Gregory VII, and the English martyrs: St. Thomas à Becket, St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, who gave their lives in defense of the spiritual supremacy of the Pope over the usurpation of political tyranny. In keeping with the spirit of Christian poverty and its protest against entrenched wealth, symbolized by the Poor Man of Assisi, are associated the apostles of Christian charity: St. Vincent de Paul, St. Camillus of Lellis — the patron of Catholic hospitals — the beggar saint, St. Benedict Joseph Labré and the modern apostle of the poor and underprivileged youth, St. John Bosco. HEROES OF CATHOLICISM The evils against which these heroes of religion fought and in protest against which they gave their lives are still the evils of our present social order. The disastrous effects of entrenched wealth and entrenched power can be rooted out only by a return to the Catholic philosophy of political, social and economic life. As the Holy Father expressed it, peace, harmony and order can be reestablished only by man’s acceptance of God — God known, respected and obeyed. Here in our church, the representation of the heroes of religion and the way of life in which they believed is not only for devotional inspiration but for instruction as well. Everything in the church is intended to teach in some way or another and to express in a fitting manner the great truths of our Holy Faith. In the years to come, each succeeding generation will find in our church an undying fount of inspiration and instruction for the enrichment of their spiritual lives. Page 9


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART FIVE: THE AISLE WINDOWS ON THE NORTH SIDE The use of stained glass in church decoration is not only for the purpose of ornament, to carry out a scheme of pleasant lighting with form or color or to give religious atmosphere to the church. First and foremost, pictorial windows are there to teach spiritual lessons. They constitute, in effect, homilies in glass, expressing religious ideals and preaching Catholic doctrines. Beginning with this part 5 of our series, we will systematically analyze each of our main windows, explaining the respective themes and describing what they represent. We will first cover the windows on the north side, to be followed by the windows on the south side. THE FIRST NORTH WINDOW On the north side of the church, the first window from the transept towards the rear pictures Christ, the Redeemer — the Risen Saviour, described in the words of the angel at the Tomb: He is risen! Associated with the Risen Christ is St. Peter holding the keys symbolic of the power given him by Christ: To thee, I will give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven, whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in Heaven. The inscription, GO TELL PETER, recalls the words of the angel at the Tomb of the Risen Christ to the two Marys. THE PRINCIPAL THEME The principal theme of the stained glass windows in our church is that of the title of the church, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. For instance, in the center rose window is the figure of Our Lady enthroned as Queen of Martyrs. The central figure in the north transept rose window is that of St. Stephen, the first martyr; in the south transept rose window, it is that of St. Agnes, virgin-martyr of the early church. On the choir window, the two large figures flanking that of the Blessed Mother are those of St. Agnes and St. Catherine, holding the wheel indicative of the manner of her martyrdom (more about the rose windows and the choir window later in this series). THE SECOND NORTH WINDOW The second window represents Christ — the Sacred Heart, symbolic of the infinite Love of God for men, reminding us of the words of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary, Behold this Heart which has loved men so much and is so little loved in return. The inscription recalls the prayer, Sacred Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us, inflame our hearts with love for Thee. Associated with the Sacred Heart is the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, whose life was characterized by his great love of God and who is traditionally represented with a heart pierced with an arrow. The inscription is the virtue of LOVE OF GOD. THE THEMES OF THE AISLE WINDOWS In the aisle windows on the north side of the church, the theme is that of Christ represented under five traditional aspects. On the south side, the theme is that of Our Blessed Lady, also under five traditional aspects. With the figure of Christ and of Our Lady under each aspect is the figure of a saint whose life or chief virtue is properly associated with the particular aspect portrayed. Page 10


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Our Beautiful Church THE THIRD NORTH WINDOW The third window represents Christ as Prophet Teacher, holding the scroll of Sacred Scripture expressive of Christ’s mission as the Teacher of mankind and fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. It is a reminder of the first sermon of Christ in the synagogue of Capharnaum, when He told the congregation: This day the Scripture is fulfilled in your ears. Associated with Christ is the great apostle of Ireland, St. Patrick, in the robes of primate-archbishop, who taught the Faith so well that it became the outstanding Photos by Pepa Tanousis Irish virtue. The inscription FAITH recalls the result of the apostolic teaching, as St. Paul put it: Faith comes by hearing; and the words of the eunuch of Queen Candace: How can I understand unless some man show me? THE FIFTH NORTH WINDOW The fifth window represents Christ the King, with the motto from the Divine Office of the Feast: The Lord is our King. Fittingly associated with with Christ is St. Thomas More, chancellor of England under Henry VIII, who was beheaded for “treason” because he refused to take the oath of allegiance to Henry as the spiritual head of the Church of England, which Henry had separated from communion with Rome and the Pope. St. Thomas is represented with the writer’s quill, the reminder of the fact that he was a poet and scholar, the author of the classic on good government, Utopia. His martyrdom resulted from his higher loyalty to Christ the King rather than to his earthly king; the inscription is therefore the virtue of LOYALTY. THE FOURTH NORTH WINDOW The fourth window represents Christ as the Eternal Priest, garbed in priestly vestments and holding the chalice of the Holy Sacrifice. The motto recalls the words of Scripture: Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedec. Melchisedec, it will be recalled, was the patriarchal symbol of the sacrifice of the New Testament, who offered bread and wine as his priestly sacrifice to Almighty God. With Christ, the Eternal Priest, is associated St. Jude, apostle, one of the first priests ordained by Christ at the Last Supper, when He said: Do this in memory of Me. St. Jude, popularly called the Saint of impossible cases, is pictured with the club indicative of the manner of his martydom. The inscription is the virtue of ZEAL. Page 11


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART SIX: THE AISLE WINDOWS ON THE SOUTH SIDE In part 5, we began our coverage of the stained glass treasures we have in our church. It is useful to repeat that the use of stained glass in church decoration is not only for the purpose of ornament; first and foremost, pictorial windows are there to teach spiritual lessons and constitute, in effect, homilies in glass. Part five described the windows on the north side; this part 6 covers the windows on the south side. THE SECOND SOUTH WINDOW In the second window group, Our Lady is represented under the title of the Immaculate Conception , bearing the inscription HAIL, FULL OF GRACE, which is the Scriptural basis for the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. The companion picture is that of St. Bernard of Clairveaux, noted — as the inscription reads — for LOVE OF MARY. He is the author of the beautiful prayer to Our Lady, The Memorare. THE PRINCIPAL THEME We know that the principal theme of the stained glass windows in our church is that of the title of the church, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. As we have seen, in the aisle windows on the north side of the church, the theme is that of Christ represented under five traditional aspects. On the south side, the theme is that of Our Blessed Lady, also under five traditional aspects. With the figure of Christ and of Our Lady under each aspect is the figure of a saint whose life or chief virtue is properly associated with the particular aspect portrayed. THE THIRD SOUTH WINDOW The third south window pictures Our Lady Queen of Martyrs with St. Monica. This is a fitting association of Our Sorrowful Mother — who grieved at the foot of the Cross for Her Divine Son — with St. Monica, the mother who sorrowed for her wayward son, St. Augustine, until, through her tears and prayers and sacrifices, he learned to love God and became a great saint. The petition of the Litany of Our Lady, QUEEN OF MARTYRS, PRAY FOR US, is inscribed under the figure of Our Lady, and the virtue PENANCE under that of St. Monica. Please note that there are many more items of interest in connection with the aisle windows in our church which could be mentioned, but space limitations constrict us to this broad sketch. It will, however, give a general idea of the significance of these Homilies in Glass to our parishioners and those who come to visit the church. THE FIRST SOUTH WINDOW On the south side, the first window from the transept towards the rear is the Holy Family group. Our Lady is portrayed as Mother of God, holding the Infant Jesus in her arms, with the inscription of angelic salutation: HAIL MARY. The natural companion piece is that of St. Joseph, spouse of Our Lady and foster-father of Jesus. The inscription, GO TO JOSEPH, recalls the Joseph of the Old Testament, who — sold into captivity by his brothers — became in the days of famine the good provider for his people. From St. Joseph, the good provider of the the Holy Family at Nazareth, Christian fathers are counselled to seek advice and help. Page 12


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Our Beautiful Church THE FOURTH SOUTH WINDOW The fourth window is that of Our Lady of the Rosary, representing the favorite form of asking the intercession of the Blessed Mother according to her own wish, expressed in giving the Rosary to St. Dominic. The inscription INTERCEDE FOR US is the reminder of the power of intercession exercised by Our Lady of the Rosary. The companion picture is that of St. Rose of Lima, the first canonized saint of the western hemisphere, a member of the Dominican Order. Her name, St. Rose, recalls the fact that the Rosary takes its name from Photos by Pepa Tanousis the Crown of Roses for Our Lady. The devotion of St. Rose for the Crown of Thorns is also associated with the title of Our Lady as a Rose among thorns. The inscription is the virtue of PRAYER. THE FIFTH SOUTH WINDOW The fifth window is the timely petition for peace in a warmad world. Representing Our Lady Help of Christians, it is the prayer of our parish that peace may be maintained in this country and in the world, and that all forms of war with its horrors may soon cease, and that peace and freedom may once again come to our persecuted Christian brethren throughout the world. The petition inscribed is BRING US P EACE . The picture of St. Thérèse, The Little Flower of Jesus, who was a favorite of the soldiers in the last World War, and who had promised to spend her Heaven doing good on earth, is fittingly inscribed with the virtue of CHARITY. Page 13


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York Our Beautiful Church — A SERIES OF ARTICLES DEPICTING THE MAGNIFICENCE OF OUR CHURCH — PART SEVEN: THE ROSE, CHOIR AND SECONDARY WINDOWS When we began our coverage of the stained glass treasures of our church (see part 5), we briefly discussed the principal themes of the main and rose windows. It is worth revisiting this in more detail THE CENTER ROSE WINDOW As discussed, the principal theme of the stained glass windows in our church is that of the title of the church, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. In the center rose window is the figure of Our Lady enthroned as Queen of Martyrs (see photos 1 and 2, right.) THE TRANSEPT ROSE WINDOWS The central figure in the North Transept Window is that of St. Stephen, the first martyr; in the South Transept Window, that of St. Agnes, virgin-martyr of the early Church. St. Stephen is depicted seeing the vision of heaven (see photo 3, below;) and St. Agnes with the lamb traditionally associated with her. PHOTO 1: The main Rose Window PHOTO 2: The center of the main Rose Window, showing Our Lady enthroned as Queen of Martyrs PHOTO 3 (left): The north Rose Window, depicting St. Stephen Page 14


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Our Beautiful Church THE CHOIR WINDOW The central figure of the Choir window is also that of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (see photo 4, below, and photo 7, far right.) The two large figures flanking that of the Blessed Mother are those of St. Agnes (see photo 6, lower right) and St. Catherine, martyrs. St. Catherine is depicted next to the wheel, indicative of the manner of her martyrdom (see photo 5, right). The smaller groups represent different episodes in the life of the Blessed Mother. Photos by Pepa Tanousis PHOTO 5: St. Catherine PHOTO 4: The Choir Window — overall view PHOTO 6: St. Agnes PHOTO 7: The central panel (*) (*) The inscription on the globe in the central panel reads “REGINA MARTYRUM”, Latin for QUEEN OF MARTYRS. Turn to page 8 for a discussion of the secondary windows. Page 15


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Our Lady Queen of Martyrs - Forest Hills, New York THE SECONDARY WINDOWS No discussion of the secondary windows would be complete unless we take into consideration light and the rôle it plays in the architectural concept of our church. The narthex (vestibule area) has a low ceiling and windows (photo 8) admit only dim light. But step through the glass doors and the entire church seems to expand before you. Bright light floods in from the side aisle windows and from the rectangular clerestory (second level) windows above the center aisle. The glass is lightly colored — clear areas and yellows combined with accents in blue and red. As you move slowly up the aisle, the perspective continuously changes. While your eye is drawn toward the altar, the church widens as the transept (cross members) comes within view. It appears at its broadest when you stand roughly ten rows from the rail. At this point, a subtle change in light occurs. The narrow clerestory windows around the altar are colored almost entirely in deep cobalt blues (photo 9), as is the Rose Window at the back of the Sanctuary. The sense that the Sanctuary is the holiest and most revered area of the church is made abundantly clear with this darkening. The stained glass windows, therefore, are not just inspirational — they contribute directly to the overall impression the designers sought to make. This discussion would not be complete without a reference to the window depicting St. John the Baptist, in the gift shop (photo 10). The area occupied by the gift shop was originally designed as the Baptistery. Later, the Baptismal Font was moved to the main altar area and the area transformed into a shop. Thus, it was entirely appropriate for the artists and architects to have chosen the figure of St. John the Baptist for this window. PHOTO 8: The narthex windows, depicting St. William and St. Gertrude PHOTO 9: The blue windows PHOTO 10: The window of St. John the Baptist, in the gift shop Page 16



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