Tiffany Window Devotionals
The sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh is distinguished by 14 memorial stained-glass windows; 13 were designed and installed by the famous Tiffany Studios. The 14th window is a product of Charles and Frederick Lamb. In addition to these major stained glass windows are the “Stem of Jesse” window in the rear of the chapel produced by Clayton and Bell, and the medallion window behind the organ which was designed by Dr. William Willet.
The Tiffany windows are unique in that they are the only Tiffanies in the world that are painted on fine, specially made sheet glass called “cathedral glass” instead of fused into the glass. Each window is backed with a plating of milky opalescent glass and handmade iridescent glass known as Favrile glass that is patented by Tiffany. Because of the placement of the balcony in the sanctuary, it appears that each window is two separate windows, upper and lower. However, each is 26 feet high and 7.5 feet wide, and one complete window.
These Sermons in Glass are designed to tell an unfolding story of the love of Jesus Christ and the faithfulness of those saints who persevere in their faith unto eternal life. Stained glass windows were an invention of the Middle Ages, when very few people could read. Those picture windows were designed to teach the people about the great Bible stories of the faith. The lower sections of the FPCP windows depict the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, mostly from the four Gospels of the New Testament. In the upper portions are more heavenly images, with many angels. These figures are all poised in front of a gate of heaven. No two gates are the same.
Together the windows present the message that the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (the lower windows) lead us through the gates of heaven and into the presence of God for all eternity (the upper windows). Christ himself states, “I am the door” (John 10:9). “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).