Wednesday, March 15, 2017

St. Luke Window at the University of Virginia Chapel

In my NT class lecture on Luke, I've come often to mention the "St. Luke" window at the University of Virginia chapel. I went by the other day and took a few pictures, at least one of which I might add to my Power Point presentation on Luke.

The chapel was not part of Jefferson's original non-sectarian plans for the Grounds (campus) but was added in 1890. It is used for various ecumenical services and is a popular wedding chapel for UVA students and alumni.

This closeup shows the dove at top right, perhaps a reference to the fact that Luke alone mentioned the Spirit descending in "bodily shape" as a dove at Jesus' baptism (Luke 3:22). The flowers on the outside with serrated leaves and red berries look like a holly. The flower on the inside with four cruciform petals looks like a dogwood. To the left of Luke is the winged ox, a traditional symbol for the third Gospel, and to the right the staff with two snakes, meant to be a medical symbol given Luke's traditional identity as "the beloved physician" (Col 4:14).

This close-up of the window dedication shows two more doves, as well as more holly and dogwoods. There is also what looks like some yellow dandelions to the left of Luke's feet and another yellow flower (lily?) on the right. The benefactor is Dr. John Staige Davis and his wife Volumnia Staples Davis, so the choice of Luke is fitting, and the dedication is to their parents. BTW, you have to love the name "Volumnia." Any expecting parents out there ought to consider this one for their daughter.



C. M. Sheffield said...

Parents often give their children aspirational names. But I can't imagine anyone wishing their daughter grows up to be a chatterbox. But maybe.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

I was thinking it might be the right name of a girl if she was, shall we say, "big-boned" (i.e., voluminous). But I think the actual intention might have been "big-hearted" or "big-spirited," so magnanimous might be the right term. That's not a bad sentiment.

Google also tells me the name is Shakespearean, from the mother of Coriolanus. JTR