Art & Architecture

When we enter Saint Clement Church, our eyes are drawn first to the white marble altar with its mosaic of the Lamb of God, and then up to the Tree of Life in the apse above the font. As we go deeper into the church, our eyes are drawn further up, to wonder at the colors, gleaming gold, and streaming light. Saints and angels gaze down upon us. And at the top of the main arch, Christ reigns in serene glory, and we are awestruck by the beauty all around us.

The unique design of Saint Clement Church follows the canons of Byzantine art, with symbols of the heavens and divinity in the highest sections, images of saints and sacraments in the transitional middle areas, and images of creation on the ground level, where the community gathers around the altar, ambo, and font.

See the directory on the right of this page for a tour of the church and a description of the art. 

We offer tours of the church for any who may be interested. The tours typically take place following the 11:15am Mass on the last Sunday of each month. Be sure to check the bulletin. We also offer tours to any interested groups. Contact Gabriel Mayhugh for more information. 

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life painting in the apse above the baptismal font is a replica of the twelfth-century mosaic in the apse of San Clemente in Rome. Read More.

Baptistery

Baptizing Into Christ Jesus

Beneath the Tree of Life, in the apse of the church, is the baptistery. The art around the font is a visual image of the church into which we enter through baptism: apostles, angels, sacraments, saints. Read More.

Church Center

Where Heaven Meets Earth

In the center of Saint Clement Church, angels gaze down upon the altar, where the Mystical Body of Christ, the church, celebrates the Eucharist and gathers for prayer. It is at this center point where we visualize our prayer rising to the heavens. Read More.

Arches and Barrel Vault

The Kingdom of Heaven Comes to Earth

Arches and pendentives, the triangular forms between the great arches, transfer the weight of the dome to the piers that support it. The art in these transitional sections expresses the many ways that the wisdom of God is revealed to us. As we stand on the floor and look up, the hierarchies unfold: saints, evangelists, apostles, prophets, angels, Mary, Clement, and Christ. Read More.

Evangelists

The Word of God Comes to Earth

The images of the four evangelists in the pendentives refer to the Gospels. The haloed writers are depicted in the classical Eastern manner of a philosopher: seated, foot supported on a footrest, book on lap, and quill in hand. Read More.

Windows

Light from Above

High in the transepts and the nave, three rose windows and the figurative windows in the clerestory are metaphors for the light of the creative, saving, and sanctifying love of God. Read More.

Saints

Beneath a Cloud of Witnesses

The community of Saint Clement worships among a cloud of witnesses – surrounded by more than one hundred saints whose portraits, mosaics, and statues grace the church.
The saints are usually depicted against a gold background, evoking their place in heavenly glory. Often the image includes an identifiable attribute, an object that represents a particular aspect or unique quality of the person. Read More.

Shrines

Places of Devotion

Places of devotion call us to an awareness of the mystery all around us. Three shrines of saints, where people leave flowers, lit candles, and prayers, and the Stations of the Cross are such places in Saint Clement Church. Read More.

Stained Glass

Stained Glass Windows

A total of 73 art glass windows of various styles decorate the church. In the figurative windows, individual pieces of hand-blown, well-fired, painted antique glass are set in deeply channeled leading. Traces of gold paint indicate that the lead cames were once highlighted with that color on the inside, an unusual technique.
Six small arched windows in each of the side aisles have a faceted jewel cross in the center. On the east side the background is blue, harmonizing with the symbols of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the other windows on that side; on the west side the background is red, echoing the windows with the passion symbols. Read more.

Borders and Designs

Heavenly Splendor

A profusion of foliate borders and geometric designs, interlaced medallions and stars – over thirty-one stencil designs upon a gold background – cover the walls, ceilings, and other spaces, creating an aura of golden splendor. Read more.

Artists

For many years little was known about the Reverend Gleb Evgeniovitch Werchovsky who was selected by the founding pastor, Msgr. Rempke, to design and decorate the interior of Saint Clement Church. Shortly after the renovation of the church in 1988, Fr. Werchovsky's granddaughter visited our church and shared with us the life of this "mystery man" who was artist, priest, and father. Read More.

Organs

Saint Clement is fortunate to have two fine mechanical action pipe organs in the upper church. The main organ in the gallery, and a small portable organ in the front of the church. Read More.

Church Bells

Saint Clement has four large functioning church bells hanging in the West tower.  The bells call us to worship, they mark prayer during the day, and they keep the time. The bells were purchased from The Stuckstede Bell Foundry in Saint Louis in 1938. The Verdin Company of Cincinnati Ohio provided the automatic bell ringing equipment and serviced the bells for many years. Read More.

engage@clement.org  |  Phone: (773) 281-0371  | Fax: (773) 281-2509 | 642 W. Deming Place  Chicago, IL 60614