About Our Building

 

The façade of the church is typical of Romanesque design, but our emblems, bas relief carvings, and motifs make it unique.

From the front elevation, four stories above the street, long slender columns are capped with the figure of an angel reading from the Word of God to all who pass below. The Nave window above the center entrance is symbolic of the Trinity, and so is divided into three separate openings.

To the left of the Nave window is the figure of the Griffin trampling a serpent representing the conquest of goodness over evil. To the window’s right, the figure of a lamb carrying the cross represents purity and meekness upholding truth. The two columns that divide the Nave window have finials with carvings; on one, the head of Christ; and on the other, the Lamb of God.

The central Rondel at the entrance carries the crowned figure of Christ with a book (the Word of God) in one hand. Surrounding the Rondel are symbols of the four Evangelists. The cherubs flanking either side are symbols of praise, thanksgiving, prayer, and piety.

Above the doorways are stone lintels in which are carved Biblical inscriptions and above these symbols representing the Twelve Apostles. The apostles’ symbols are emblematic of the way each died or was martyred. Over the east door: Bartholomew (knife); Simon (saw); Thaddeus (halberd and square), Phillip (small cross on staff); James the Great (three shells); John (serpent emerging from chalice). Over the west door: Peter (crossed keys); Andrew (diagonal cross); Thomas (square and spear); Matthew (ax); James the Minor (fuller’s club); Judas (bag of gold.)

In the stone medallions at the side pylons above the entrance doorways are the first and last letters of the Green alphabet, Alpha and Omega—from the beginning to the end; the first and the last. The building’s base motif is capped at either side by figures; on the left, a pelican symbolizing sacrifice and self-denial; on the right, a lion, the symbol of strength and determination.

The altar is the focal point for worshippers. It is framed by a stone Baldachino (Altar Canopy), whose symbols of the boards (Roman Empire) devouring the lambs (the early church) recall the persecution of the early church. Above the baldachino is a beautiful rose window of rich stained glass.The canopy frames the unique gold Gothic cross which for a long time was our logo. The Chi Rho symbol at the cross’ center combines the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ.

The communion table is carved oak. The band of ornaments at its top are patterned after one of the cornice moulds of the Church of San Michele at Luques.

The pulpit, to the congregant’s right, displays symbols of the four gospel writers. In ascending order: the scallop shell at bottom represents Matthew; Mark is represented by the Lion, Luke by the ‘physician figure,’ and John by the eagle that tops the figures. The entire pulpit is of hand carved wood, and was designed after the 11th century pulpit in the Church of San Miniator Al Monte at Florence. Our lectern, to the congregant’s left, comprises a crouched winged angel on whose shoulder is the “Book of Life.” It is modeled after Voussoirs of the porch of the Cathedral at Verona.