Stained Glass banner image

Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Click any image to enlarge.


Building Name: St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

City: Ypsilanti

Window Shape: 3 (arched)

Date of Window: 1933

Subject/Title of Window: Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega/Trinity/Phoenix Bird

Brief Description of Subject: This clerestory window is located in the sanctuary and features 3 large roundels, with symbols, alternating with three smaller roundels.

The larger roundels from top to bottom:
Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega. Superimposing the Capital Greek letters Tau (T) and Rho (P) creates a pictogram. This pictogram is called a "staurogram," from the Greek word for "cross" (stauros) and "crucify" (staurou) and symbolizes Christ on the cross. The Capital Greek letters Alpha and Omega come from Christ's words in Revelation 22:13, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End," (CPDV).
Trinity. The Greek letters omega, omicron, and nu, are seen in a triangle. The letters roughly translate as "I am." This is the name of God from Exodus 3:13 - 15 --- the incident of Moses and the burning bush where God identified himself as the "God of Abraham;" when Moses asked "what name should you be called?," God answered, "Tell the Israelites, 'I am.'" The use of these letters in icons is more common in the Greek Orthodox than in the Roman Catholic Church, and would be found in the nimbus of an image of Christ. This dates from Athanasius' fight against the Arian Heresy. The followers of Arian denied the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity. The placement of these letters in the nimbus proclaimed Jesus' divine nature. In this window, placing these letters in a triangle forms a variant of the "Shield of the Trinity" --- the vertices of the triangle represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and in the center of the triangle, the letters for God.
Phoenix Bird. In myth, this bird would set its own nest on fire, burning itself to death, only to rise from the ashes. This gave rise to the phoenix bird as a symbol for Christ, as like the bird, he arose from the dead.

Condition of Window: Good

Height: ~5'

Width: ~20"

Type of Glass and Technique: Antique or Cathedral Glass, Lead Came, Vitreous Paint

Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega/Trinity/Phoenix Bird
Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega/Trinity/Phoenix Bird
Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega
Tau-Rho Cross with Alpha and Omega
Phoenix Bird
Phoenix Bird

The MSGC is a constantly evolving database. Not all the data that has been collected by volunteers has been sorted and entered. Not every building has been completely documented.

All images in the Index are either born-digital photographs of windows or buildings or are scans of slides, prints, or other published sources. These images have been provided by volunteers and the quality of the material varies widely.

If you have any questions, additions or corrections, or think you can provide better images and are willing to share them, please contact