Symbolism of Christian Mandalas
As in other cultures, the round shape in Christianity represents the universe, and therefore, is seen as a way to connect the earthly and spiritual realms. Whether in the form of windows in a church or as a rosary, mandalas are used to take the time to contemplate the self and the divine.
Where Christian Mandalas can be Seen
Perhaps the most iconic representation of the Christian mandala is in the majestic stained glass windows that decorate nearly every church and cathedral. While some of these are on a far grander scale than others, the stained glass window is often made up of a central point – often the figure or scene being depicted – which is surrounded by a design that is inherently geometric due to the fact that it is made up of hard-edge pieces of glass.
Some of the world’s oldest cathedrals are home to rose windows – also known as Catherine windows. The rose window is one of the most classic examples of the mandala in Christianity, and their origins trace back to the Roman oculi. These windows are created using geometric segments, and can contain extremely intricate patterns made from different colors of glass, all of which extend out from a central starting point in the middle of the circle.
Some of the world’s oldest and most famous examples of Christian circular and rose windows include:
- Basilica of Saint-Denis: 12th Century, Saint-Denis, France
- Chartres Cathedral: 13th Century, Chartres, France
- Notre Dame: 13th Century, Paris, France
- Milan Cathedral: 13th Century, Milan, Italy
- Westminster Abbey: 16th Century, London, England