St. Nicholas Byzantine: Stained Glass

I worked on the stained glass first, when I entered the Church. The lights were still off, the Church was very dark, and it was a cloudless sunny day on the 29th, which helped tremendously. Each window depicts an important event during the life of Christ in the New Testament.

Baptism of Jesus by St. John in the River Jordan

This observance commemorates Christ’s baptism by John the Forerunner in the River Jordan, and the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry. The Feast of Theophany is the culmination of the Christmas Season, which starts on December 25 and ends on January 6. In mystic commemoration of this event, the Great Blessing of Water is performed on this day, and the holy water so blessed is used by the local priest to bless the homes of the faithful.

The feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ the Holy Trinity appeared clearly to mankind for the first time — the Father’s voice is heard from Heaven, the Son of God is incarnate and standing physically in the Jordan, and the Holy Spirit descends on Him in the form of a dove.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

His parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. Joseph and his mother didn’t know it, but supposing him to be in their company, they went a day’s journey, and they looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they didn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. It happened after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them, and asking them questions. All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

The event is described in the Gospel of Luke . According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15, etc.). Luke explicitly says that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people (those who could not afford a lamb) , sacrificing “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”Upon bringing Jesus into the temple, they encountered Simeon the Righteous. The Gospel records that Simeon had been promised that “he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus:Now you are releasing your servant, Master, according to your word, in peace; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.

Nativity of Christ

According to the Bible and to Holy Tradition, Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem in a cave, surrounded by farm animals and shepherds. The baby Jesus was born into a manger from the Virgin Mary, assisted by her husband St. Joseph. St. Joseph and the Theotokos were forced to travel due to a Roman census; the odd location of the birth was the result of the refusal of a nearby inn to accommodate the expecting couple. Since it is known historically that dwellings were built directly over such caves housing livestock–in order to make use of the heat.

The Annuciation

According to the Gospel of Luke, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear a son, even though she “knew no man.” According to holy tradition Mary had come home to her parents when she was only fifteen when she was visited by Gabriel.

This date was selected by the Church Fathers to be exactly nine months ahead of the Nativity of Our Lord (or vice-versa?), indicating that Christ was conceived in perfection at that time “of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,” as stated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.


Fifty days after the Resurrection, on the excising Jewish feast of Pentecost, while the disciples and many other followers of Jesus Christ were gathered together to pray, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of “cloven tongues of fire,” with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and they began to speak in languages that they did not know. There were many visitors from the Jewish diaspora to Jerusalem at that time for the Jewish observance of the feast, and they were astonished to hear these untaught fisherman speaking praises to God in their alien tongues. This account is detailed in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2.

The Ascension

The first account of the Ascension found in the Bible is in the Gospel of Mark. The description is brief. Jesus and the remaining eleven disciples are seated at a table, presumably in a room in or near Jerusalem. Jesus commands his followers to spread the Gospel, and that those who believe will be known by their invulnerability to poison, ability to heal the sick, and the like. After delivering these final words, Jesus is received into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. No description of the Ascension itself is given; Mark simply states that it happened.

The Resurrection

The Gospels narrate that after Christ’s Passion and suffering on the Cross, he was laid in a tomb which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea. After three days in the tomb, Christ broke the bonds of Death through his resurrection. The belief of Christ’s Holy Resurrection is reiterated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

In iconography, Our Lord is depicted pulling up Adam and Eve out of their sepulchers while trampling upon the gates of Hades (death).

The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion of Jesus and his ensuing death is an event that occurred during the first century A.D. Jesus, whom most Christians regard as the Son of God as well as the Messiah, was arrested, tried, and sentenced by Pontius Pilate to be scourged, and finally executed on a cross. Collectively referred to as the Passion, Jesus’ redemptive suffering and death by Crucifixion represent critical aspects of Christian theology, including the doctrines of salvation and atonement.

Christians have traditionally understood Jesus’ death on the cross to be a holy sacrifice that atones for humanity’s sin and makes salvation possible. Christians participate in this sacrifice through the bread and wine of the Eucharist, also referred to as The Lord’s Supper or Communion, and many also commemorate the event on Good Friday.

The Last Supper

By the Last Supper is meant the final meal that Jesus shared with his twelve disciples before his death. The events of that evening are recounted in the canonical gospels and by the Paul the Apostle. According to what Paul wrote in his First Letter to the Corinthians,[1] at that meal Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying it was his body, which was broken for them, and gave them wine, saying it was the new covenant in his blood, and told them to do it in his memory.


St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church

It’s no secret that I love shooting churches and stained glass windows. Their beauty leaves me awestruck. I’ve done some shots of the “new” St. Nicholas Byzantine here previously, but I’ve always wanted to do a full shoot of the parish. I recently “celebrated” my birthday by spending the afternoon at St. Nick’s, doing my dangedest to get everything, and get it right. I think I did just that. (Please click the photos for a larger view.)

Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Parish was established on Sept. 14, 1914, at the former location on Toledo Avenue in Lorain, Ohio. On that date, the first Byzantine Catholic bishop, Bishop Soter Ortinsky, dedicated the one-story structure of Saint Nicholas church. The pastor at the time was Father Basil Beretz.

The people who were members of Saint Nicholas Parish in September, 1914, were the same ones who had initiated plans for a parish of the Ruthenian Byzantine Rite Catholics in 1905. Founders of this parish emigrated from the Austro-Hungarian Empire (today, the eastern-most section of Slovakia), to Lorain, in the last part of the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. For a few years they attended Saint Michael Hungarian Byzantine Catholic church on Wood Avenue (presently on Reeves Avenue), and for a brief time services were held in Kohlmeyer’s Hall on Pearl Avenue in Lorain.

During the pastorate of Father Andrew Pataki (former bishop of Parma, Ohio, and presently the bishop of Passaic, N.J.), a giant step was taken toward assuring the future of Saint Nicholas Parish. On Dec., 7, 1958, ground was broken for the construction of a parochial school. The cornerstone dedication took place on Sept. 20, 1959. Because of a fire originating in the altar boys’ sacristy in the church in March of 1960, the church was renovated by the Nobris Decorating Company of North Canton, Ohio. A festive dual observance took place on Sunday, June 1, 1960. Archbishop Nicholas T. Elko, blessed the newly-renovated church and the new Saint Nicholas school.

During the pastorate of Father Michael Felock, plans for a new complex became a reality. A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Jan. 25, 1981 on the present property at West 40th Street. The dedication and solemn blessing of the new Saint Nicholas complex was held on Sunday, Oct. 10, 1982. The interior of the church and sanctuary were renovated under the pastorate of Father David Hannes in 1994. Since then, a few seraphim and cherubim have been added to the ceiling surrounding the existing icons. A new mobile classroom has been set up so that the two mobile trucks could be removed from the property. A computer lab with a network connection to each classroom, has been created for the students and faculty of Saint Nicholas Academy.

For more St. Nicholas history, click here. For more St. Nicholas photos, stay tuned.

SPRING: Rebirth, Ritual and ReCreation

“The Lorain County Sacred Landmarks Initiative, Stocker Arts Center, and our programming partners are pleased to present an art exhibit and series of special events that celebrate Spring and its rituals in our community!” 

I thought you all might be interested in the exhibit at the Beth K. Stocker Art Gallery. I did the photography for the posters hanging in the lobby and for the large “stained glass” panels that are suspended from the ceiling. It’s a great exhibit and features local artists and churches.

St. Theresa's Door

Lilly Windows

Oval Window