Please Enjoy Artwork from
Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, AZ
The Living Christ is crucified upon the Tree of Life, depicting humanity’s journey from its fall in the Garden of Eden to God’s intended redemption and perfection by the Holy Trinity (golden apples).
A golden rose symbolizes that incremental, but inevitable unfolding of God’s plan for humanity, the “Word” of God calling forth creation, humanity being transformed by the love which is the essence of God.
From the moment of creation God foresaw man’s fall and created human beings as the one creature both like God (in his spirit) and unlike God (in his mortal nature). God’s intention was that man could receive in his body the very “Word” of God in the Incarnation. To Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham God promised redemption and blessing. Through Moses, God chose a people from slavery to be the instrument of God’s intended redemption.
In this sculpture, a small golden rivulet runs from the central “Golden Apple” (the Father) to the Christ—the fulfillment of God’s purpose. The rivulet continues from the feet of the crucified Christ to the Tabernacle—where Christ’s desire to be present with his redeemed until the end of time–finds its fulfillment.
Through the history of God’s chosen people, we see God’s purpose. The double trunked tree begins under the altar and represents the ten tribes of Israel and the two tribes of Judah. Though Israel followed a path it saw as “right”, it was a false secular trunk that led only to death. Thus ten tribes were lost, severed from the Tree of Life as their trunk rotted and broke away.
The dead trunk, has become the cross piece, the “petibulum” to which the Christ is nailed and tied. The self-sacrifice of Christ has the power to bring back to life what was lost and dead; and so a new leaf sprouts representing all the Gentiles for whom the power of the redemption is at work. Above the cross piece, the Tree of Life bears twelve leaves representing the twelve Apostles, their work, and the symbolism of that number.
The “Corpus” girdled thrice around by rope binding Him to the physical earth raises his left hand upward to acknowledge His divinity. The single index finger pointing heavenward reminds us of the first great commandment, to “love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul”. His right hand pointed downward refers to his humanity. These two fingers remind all of us of the second great commandment “to love our neighbor as our self”. The bond of his left hand tied in a square knot (which always remains tied) holds his divinity to the Tree of Life; the “granny” knot holding the right hand is loosening, as His death approaches and the final act of his mission draws nigh.
The crowning glory, though originally meant in derision, is the “crown of thorns”, with three rose vines entwined around his anguished brow: the Holy Trinity made manifest in the ultimate perfection of the “Rose of Sharon”, the Christ. The Crown is adorned with 100 thorns: 99 plus one for the “lost sheep” found by the Good Shepherd—that the Lord offers his life for all.
A wooden sign was nailed over the Christ–the Latin inscription INRI (Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews). John 19:20 states that this was written in three languages: Latin, Hebrew and Greek. It was affixed to the Holy Cross, the “Tree of Life”. As the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden brought death and darkness to all humanity, so this new “Tree of Life” brings light, hope and redemption.
Fr. Kieran Kleczewski
Custodian of the Chapel
Our Lady of Mercy
Artist, Miguel Martinez
God's Mercy in Creation
Artist, Jacqueline Jordan Jackson
PEACE TO ALL WHO ENTER
Art: Marguerite Brunswig Staude built the Chapel not only as a monument to faith, “but a spiritual fortress so charged with God, that it spurs man’s spirit god-ward”. Her hope was that “a renewed Church may come to life in the souls of men and be a living reality”. She prayed that “this chapel spread these same truths a thousand fold … that men could find Christ through art.”
In keeping with the vision of Marguerite, several major pieces of art have been commissioned for the Chapel:
God’s Mercy: four silk hangings (Creation, Heavens, Earth, Life) Jacqueline Jackson, Sedona, Installed May, 2016.
Our Lady of Mercy: Miguel Martinez, Taos, Installed, September 2016
God’s Mercy in His Son: James Muir, Sedona, corpus of the cross installed November 2016.
St. Michael the Archangel (16th century) currently being restored.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
780 Chapel Road Sedona, Arizona