Note- The “Road to Emmaus” here refers to a stained glass window at St. George’s Episcopal, Fredericksburg based on the Luke Gospel reading
Maker/Date: Tiffany Studios, New York, 1912
Description – The story of this window is from Luke, chapter 24, verses 13 to 35.
Jesus Christ rises from the dead (before dawn) and makes five appearances on the day of His rising. This window represents #3 below:
1 To Mary Magdalene [given a message to the disciples]
2 To the other women who come to the tomb [intending to complete the burial preparation of His body]
3. To two disciples on the Road to Emmaus
4. To Simon Peter [nowhere recorded, but alluded to in Luke 24:33 and 1 Corinthians 1:5]
5. To the astonished disciples [Thomas is absent]
There are a number of unknowns – Emmaus cannot be found on any map though only 7 miles from Jerusalem. The concept of a road was a common metaphor at the time – The early Christians were called “people of the way.” The Road to Emmaus may have been an actual physical road or only a spiritual road
In the image, Cleopas and an unnamed companion encounter the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus about seven miles from Jerusalem
There are two companions – we don’t know the name of one and Cleopas the other one is only mentioned in the Good Friday reading of the Gospel of John. One of the key parts of the story is that the two companions were not apostles, not part of the inner circle. Just everyday people. In all of the other resurrection experiences, Jesus appears to the group around Jesus.
Two unknowns going to an unknown place. The reason they are going is not disclosed. Are they ending Passover and simply returning after the event in a normal fashion or they are fleeing a desperate situation in Jerusalem?
The look of incredulity and awe on the faces of the men stands in contrast to the dignity and still expression of Christ.
The men are shocked that anyone could have been in Jerusalem and not known of the events that have happened there.
“Abide with us,” they ask the unrecognized stranger, “for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” ]
It was not until they offered Him hospitality and He blessed and broke the bread that they recognized Him. He soon disappeared.
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
Luke 24 is often seen as a model of the journey that Jesus makes with us today. He opens our eyes, points us to the Word, and reveals Himself along life’s walk as the resurrected Savior and Lord. One of the things the story teaches is that Jesus cares for your hopes and your dreams.
There are three main areas to consider in this story:
- Scripture -Jesus interprets the scriptures more fully. We find their fulfilment in Him.
- Eucharist -The meal is a Eucharist the dominant form of worship in the growing church. The two companions recognized the risen Jesus only in the “breaking of the bread.” . Note the companions only knew Christ in the breaking of the bread and not by actually seeing him.
- The emphasis on mission and evangelism – after encountering and recognizing Jesus in the scriptures and in the Eucharist, the two individuals went back and shared their faith experience with the community.
–Christ faces toward us, but the men are turned inward, a compositional device that gives the illusion of depth.
– Enamel – As in most figural windows by Tiffany Studios, the faces and arms are painted with enamel.
Drapery glass creates ripples of undulating fabric, as well as areas of shading, realistically depicting the figures’ forms.
Plated spotted and confetti glass are used to portray the dappled leaves on the trees in the background. To make confetti glass, small, irregularly shaped pieces of glass are embedded to the reverse of a sheet of glass.
In the Biblical passage, the two disciples do not recognize Christ when they meet him. To convey this mystical aspect of Christ, the artist took into account the window’s placement in the church in relation to the composition of the window. Without illumination from the sun, the features of Christ’s face are unrecognizable. But in daylight, Christ’s identity is apparent to the men and the viewer alike.
–The faces of the two companions show apprehension as they study the unknown man. The dark brown and green clothing contrasts with the lighter shades used in Christ’s robe.
Dedication: In memory of Rawleigh W. Downman, 1860-1881 and James H. Downman, 1862-1911, sons of William Yates and Mary Ann Downman. This was the first Tiffany installed at St. George’s in 1912.
1830 – Birth of William Yates Downman
1833– Birth of Mary Hayes Downman. Father was Joseph Henry Downman and mother Sophia Elizabeth Chinn
1858 William Yates Downman had Idlewild built on 6.6.24 acres in Spotsylvania county. It was 2.5 story Gothic Revival style brick building Designed by builder James Tongue.
The home had a stained-glass entranceway, marble fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. It also had dogwood rosette medallions around the lighting fixtures. The staircase led to a landing with a lancet door with etched and stained glass. There was a beautiful paladian styled window on the front on the second floor.
“The house had more gingerbread features than any other house in this area. And it’s probably only the real plantation-style house in Fredericksburg.”
– Donald Pfanz, historian
May, 4, 1863 – Idlewild served as the headquarters of Robert E. Lee as part of the Chancellorsville Campaign
Dec. 10, 1864 – Death of William Yates Downman. Mary Downman moves to 1021 Caroline Street
Mary Downman was a life long member of St. George’s Episcopal . She owned Pews 12 and 17 at St. George’s. #12 came through her mother Mrs. Ann Sommerville Knox Hayes, original pew holder in 1849 and she occupied this pew. #17 came through F. J. Wiatt originally her daughter Ann would occupy it.
She had six children, three that predeceased her. One child Rev John Yates Downman (1858-1949) became rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Richmond. The window was dedicated to two of her sons who had predeceased her. Rawleigh Downman died at age 21 visiting an uncle at Baltimore when he died. James Downman was a successful New York businessman who had suffered a stroke and returned to his sister Nannie’s home. There he was the victim of a hunting accident.
1921– 1923 Newspapers reported the 88 year old Downman “Cheerful and happy and take a lively interest in the affairs of the day.” She remarked she still lived in the same home as she was married. . She later cut her 90th birthday cake in 1923 with the same cake server from her wedding in 1852