The Windows of St. John's

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The St. John Evangelist Window

THIS BEAUTIFUL rose window is designed for the east transept of the completed church which will contain a chapel. It will then be opposite the Nativity window, now in the chancel, but which will be moved to the baptistry (west transept). The color reproduction of this window has not been done, pending the completion of the church.

The window depicts important events in the life of St. John the evangelist.

The center scene shows Jesus calling John, a young man, to leave his fishing nets and follow him. (Matthew 4:21, 22) On either side of the central scene are two well-known symbols of John: on the left the chalice from which emerges a serpent, referring to a legend that John's enemies tried to murder him by poisoning the communion wine; on the right the eagle who was said to have the ability to soar until lost to sight and still retain its ability to gaze into the blazing mid-day sun - so John soared upward in his interpretation of the divinity of Christ.

Around the center, in semicircular medallions, are scenes from the life of John. Beginning at "seven o'clock" and going clockwise we have the following scenes:

  1. John is shown with his brother James as they prepare to leave their nets to follow Jesus. (Matthew 4:21, 22)
  2. John, with Peter and James, witnesses the healing of Jairus' daughter. (Mark 5:22-24; 35-43)
  3. John, Peter and James, go up into a high mountain with Jesus, who is transfigured before them and

    his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light . . . a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matthew 17:2, 5)

  4. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, is shown leaning against him at the Last Supper. (John 13:23)
  5. John and Mary, the mother of Jesus, stand at the foot of the Cross.

    When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple [John] whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19: 26, 27)

  6. On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it empty,

    so she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple [John], the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." (John 20:2)

    The two disciples ran to the tomb and looking in saw that the body of Jesus was not there.

  7. This medallion shows the risen Lord when he appeared to John, Peter and other disciples as they were fishing in the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21)
  8. The last medallion shows John and Peter laying their hands upon the converts in Samaria and praying that they might receive the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:17)

The inscription in the window expresses the belief of the Church in the divine nature of Jesus at the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. when The Gospel According to John probably was written. The inscription reads, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)


This window was Given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Lewis Albion Emerson, Lillian Taylor Emerson, Charles Albion Emerson and Lewis Azro Emerson by the family. Dedication awaits completion of church.


All descriptions of windows, scriptural quotations and window images included in this section of our web site are from The Windows of St. John's, published by St. John's Episcopal Church, Columbia, SC in 1972 and copyrighted the same year by J. Kenneth Morris, Rector of St. John's from 1941-1943 and 1945-1960. Printed copies of The Windows of St. John's are available to parish members and visitors in the narthex of the church. Slight modifications to the text have been made for this on-line publication for clarity.

Text © 1972, by J. Kenneth Morris. All rights reserved. Window Illustrations © by The Willet Stained Glass Studios and used by permission.