Baptism marks one’s entrance into Christ’s Church. It is fitting, therefore, that this baptismal font, with its steeple-like cover, should stand near a door.
Designed by the architect in the form of a chalice, the pulpit symbolizes divine guidance through the Water of Life imparted through preaching. Carved around the pulpit (left to right) are six illustrious preachers: St. John the Baptist, St. John Chrysostom, St. Francis of Assisi, Girolamo Savonarola, John Wycliffe, and Phillips Brooks.
In ancient cathedrals, the only copy of Scripture available to the community was chained to the lectern, its reading being so important to worship. Here, three carved figures, Ezekiel, David, and St. John, represent the Hebrew Scriptures, the Psalms, and the New Testament.
Representatives from around the world gathered at St. Mark’s in 1954 for the first World Congress of the Anglican Communion. Along with a silver processional cross bearing enameled shields of the attending provinces, this seal commemorates this event. The Greek inscription reads: “And the truth shall set you free.”
In our worship, sacred music is presented as an offering to God, not as a performance; thus the choir does not face the congregation but is situated so as to permit direct access to the altar.
By definition, a cathedral is the bishop’s church. To the left of the high altar is the bishop’s seat (cathedra) and prayer desk. The crook symbolizes the bishop’s responsibility for God’s flock. Above the seat, a shield (inset) bearing the Cross and Native American symbols of the peace pipe and broken tomahawk is inscribed with “Peace through the Blood of the Cross.”
You are now in the part of the chancel called the sanctuary – derived from sanctus, Latin for holy, and inspired by the place of God’s presence, the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of Jerusalem. The cross is the symbolic center of the Cathedral and is a witness to the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God, the ultimate expression of God’s love for humankind. The altar, directly below the cross, is a single monolithic block of Kasota stone, the largest solid mass within the entire cathedral. It is from here that we are led to sing, “Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.”
Amidst the figures above the high altar, stands Christ, his hands outstretched, inviting us to come to his table. At his sides are the four Gospel writers, small figures of Sts. Andrew, Philip, James, and Stephen, and the larger figures of Elijah with a scroll of Prophecy, Moses with the Law, St. Peter with the Key to the Kingdom, and St. Paul with the Sword of the Spirit.
Named for the architect, Edwin Hewitt, and dedicated in memory of his daughter, the triptych above the altar (painted by Mr. Hewitt) and the windows tell the story of Jesus’ early life. The capital carvings show images of hands involved in three different rites of the church: (1) Marriage; (2) Baptism (incorporating the fall of human kind, expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the font of cleansing and restoring water, the intertwining of God’s hands with ours); and (3) Confirmation (the laying on of hands). Note that the sanctuary light over the tabernacle is part of a bronze, winged lion, the symbol for St. Mark.
Enmagahbowh, the first Native American Episcopal priest, was a powerful voice for reconciliation between Native Americans and white people from the 1860s until his death in 1902. The icon of Enmegahbowh was created by Minneapolis artist Nick Markell who also created many of the Cathedral’s clerestory windows. In this sacred space, the clergy provide the laying on of hands and anointing with oil by which God’s grace is given for the healing of spirit, mind and body.
Here Paul Grandlund has depicted Jesus reaching out to St. Peter (left), who is sinking while attempting to walk on water, and St. Paul, struck down on his way to Damascus.
Located directly beneath the bell tower, it contains “Waters of Baptism.” This hanging by Morgan Clifford, woven in shades of blue, depicts the sacred flow of cleansing water.
Just inside the doors to the nave are two figures carved in mahogany. On the left is the young David with his sling. The figure depicted opposite, seeking certainty and courage, is Youth, wrapped in angelic wings, with the inscription: “If I take the wings of the morning…even there shall thy hand hold me.” Notice also the symbols of the Cathedral, the St. Mark’s lion (left), and of the Diocese – with its peace pipe and broken tomahawk representing the peaceful relations which Bishop Whipple sought to establish between Native Americans and immigrants. Two carved faces, representing Sts. Peter and Paul, are modeled after ancient murals excavated in Rome. Small shields symbolize the eleven faithful apostles.
This plaque honors Samuel Cook Edsall, second Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota – the man whose original vision it was that this building should be built and become a cathedral. The inscription calls Edsall the third Bishop, possibly because, prior to 1859, when Henry Benjamin Whipple was elected the first Bishop of Minnesota, Bishop Jackson Kemper had already served a vast area that included Minnesota.
Sculpted by Paul Granlund, this work expresses release into freedom – new life in Christ.
The magnificent clerestory windows of St. Mark’s are as old as the Cathedral itself and as new as the Twenty-first Century. Although the Cathedral has looked over Loring Park since 1910, it was not until 2004 that the final windows, the gift of a generous parishioner, were installed.
Some of these windows depict traditional themes and people of faith from the Old and New Testament. But you will also find honored in glass, the faithful people who built the Episcopal Church in Minnesota and a window of spirit-filled people of many faiths and many nations who have earned the name “Peacemaker.”
Above the High Altar, surrounded by cherubs, angels, and the eleven apostles, we see the Ascension of Christ.
Seen (left to right) are: St. Stephen, first martyr; St. Paul, apostle to the Gentiles; St. George, patron saint of England; St. Gregory, pope who sent Augustine to Canterbury; St. Ambrose, bishop who promoted hymns in worship; St. Augustine of Hippo, bishop and writer; St. Catherine, martyr and patroness of milling; St. Cecilia, martyr and patroness of music; Archbishop Cranmer, compiler of the first Book of Common Prayer; and Bishop Seabury, first American bishop.
Named for a canticle sung in worship, this window (above the gallery) shows Christ enthroned in glory, surrounded by seraphim, cherubim, angels, archangels, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and saints – all praising God.
Encouraged by T.B. Wells, an early rector, and fostered by his wife Annie and the work of the women of St. Mark, this church responded to the needs of the city’s early settlers. For over forty years, St. Mark’s ran a settlement house, first downtown and later in North Minneapolis. If you look closely you will see people taking showers or roasting hot dogs over a campfire. This multifaceted program included the wide range of activities depicted in this window. Today, this ministry continues as many community causes are funded by our Wells Memorial Foundation.