Baptismal Font

Baptismal FontFrom the Cloister with it’s ornate bronze gates and marble mosaic floor we enter what architect Charles Brigham labeled the Tower Entrance which houses the Baptismal Font. The room is laden with traditional Christian symbols. The four corners of the inlaid marble floor hold bronze medallions representing the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The walls of the entrance are of limestone with carved medallions bearing Christian symbols specifically related to the crucifixion. Varying from the preponderance of Christian symbolism in the room, the four corners of the room below the majestic fan vaulted ceiling contain limestone carvings symbolizing the four stages of woman: Infant, Youth, Maturity and Old Age.

In the center of the entrance rests the carved marble Baptismal Font on an Italian marble base. Brass letters inlaid in the base hold one of Jesus’ imperatives from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke: “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

baptismal-font-detailIn contrast to the light marble floor and font and the limestone walls, the canopy covering the font is of dark English oak. This incredibly intricate Gothic design was carved in the studios of Johannes Kirchmayer (1860-1939) of Boston.  A series of small shields ring the canopy near the bottom, upon each of which appears a letter repeating the adjuration from the base: “Suffer little children…”. Above the shields are ten wooden buttresses, each with a kneeling angel holding a scroll with one of the Ten Commandments.

Above the angels are ten standing figures of early Christian saints who played important roles in the spread of Christianity throughout the world. Each figure is exquisitely carved with an appropriate insignia to aid in identification. They include: St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph of Arimathea (England), St. John the Evangelist (Asia Minor), St. Peter (Italy), St. Paul (Greece), St. Vladimir (Russia), St. Martin of Tours (France), St. Boniface (Germany), St. Mark (North Africa), and St. James Major (Spain). The canopy is topped with Tudor roses and a winged angel.

Leaving the Tower Entrance to enter the Sanctuary one passes under the Minstrel Gallery.