The Saint Clement of Rome Window
The St. Clement of Rome Window honors our patronal saint, Clement of Rome (AD 88 to 99); he was consecrated by St. Peter late in the First Century, and he is considered to be the First Apostolic Father of the Christian Church. Late in his papacy, he was imprisoned by the Roman Emperor Trajan where, in prison, it is said that he led a successful ministry among fellow prisoners. Thereafter he was sacrificed by the Roman emperor and executed by being tied to an anchor and through into the Black Sea. For this reason he is said to be the Patron Saint of Mariners. St. Clement of Rome is also known as Pope Clement I.
The upper part of the window shows an “anchor-cross’ symbolizing the sacrificing element (the anchor); the Christian life (the cross); and the red stole symbolizing Saint Clement’s ordination and his martyrdom.
The central part shows the image of St. Clement holding a shepherd’s crook representing his ecclesiastical authority as pope and also as a shepherd of the Christian flock. The image is surrounded by an aureole symbolic of his sainthood. Surrounding Saint Clement’s image is a golden-brown chain symbolic of the one used to chain the anchor around him; it is open at both ends indicating that death has no hold on the Christian believer.
The lower portion of the window shows a field of red poppies which are common in many areas of Europe and other parts of the world in springtime. The idea came to the glass artisan from a memory of the first time he traveled to Italy. Driving from the Venice area to the town of Loreto, he saw vast fields speckled with myriads of red flowers, reminiscent of a Matisse painting. Inquiring what the flowers were, he was told they were poppies and that there were fields in Europe where nothing else grows except red poppies.
In the Christian tradition, red poppies symbolize death as a time for peaceful slumber, resurrection, and the shed blood of Christ in Calvary – all appropriate to the theme of the window.
The window was donated by Ms. Deborah Smith and by her children, Delena and Donovan, as a tribute to Ms. Smith’s grandparents, Mabry, Skaggs and Smith; and the theme of the plaque is a reminder that she and her children are continuing the spiritual tradition inherited from their ancestors:
“One generation shall praise thy works to another.” (Ps. 145:4)
The window was installed in July of 2014.