Featured Articles Archive

For every issue we publish, Faith & Form features one article here on our website. As each new issue is distributed, our home page is updated with the latest featured article. Previously posted articles will remain on the website and will be accessible from this page. Our online article archive goes back to 2006.

Faith & Fashion

Chasuble of Pius XI

A new exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum investigates the impact of Catholicism on clothing design. Do religions make fashion statements? Is there a “Catholic style” that offers a well of imagery from which a purveyor of haute couture might draw? The … [continue]

Wood: A ‘Ubiquitous’ Sacred Material

Duke University Chapel

The recent restoration of Duke Chapel teaches some lessons about preserving the ‘soul’ of this common material. Wood is so commonplace in sacred spaces that we seldom pause to think about its presence. Its use seems unremarkable, even in buildings as unusual … [continue]

‘A Type of Transmuted Divinity’

Lycurgus Cultic Cup, Roman, circa 300 C.E.

As a material that suggests the presence of the divine, glass has no parallel. If one were to search for an Ur-spirituality of glass in the ancient world, its antecedents would likely be found in the “material” of fire and fire’s observable properties. … [continue]

Angels in the Architecture

The significance of materials in sacred architecture—what matters most? When we consider what materials or architectural features are most important in fostering the sublime experience of connecting humans with divinity, it is essential to acknowledge the … [continue]

Materiality as an Expression of the Sacred

Detail near the entrance of the church conveys the presence of St. Francis of Assisi.

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. The history of our friendship with God is always linked to particular places which take on an intensely … [continue]

Sacred Connections through Concrete

Saint John’s Abbey Church, north elevation with concrete bell banner.

Considering Marcel Breuer’s Saint John’s Abbey Church and Bartholomew Voorsanger’s Chapel at the National World War II Museum. In 1961, upon completion of the Abbey Church of Saint John the Baptist in Collegeville, Minnesota, by Marcel Breuer and Associates, … [continue]

The Materiality of the Middle

Rose window by Dixon Studio

Places of worship are complex compositions containing a variety of physical elements, each with specific properties, functions, and symbolism. The tremendous range of material choices in design and decoration for a sacred space can be overwhelming. How on … [continue]

Ceramics’ Sacred Power

Decorative tiles by Henry Chapman Mercer in St. James Episcopal Church, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, circa 1916.

Like many historic sacred places around the world, the sanctuary of St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, inspires awe in visitors upon stepping inside and being surrounded by its soft lighting, warm earthy brick walls, luminous stained glass, … [continue]

Stained Glass with a Solar Future

‘Lux Gloria’ windows at the Cathedral of the Holy Family

Stained-glass artist Sarah Hall talks about the next generation of an ancient sacred material. Kathy Kranias: Can you share your thoughts on stained glass innovations of the past 40 years? Sarah Hall: The entire past century has seen incredible … [continue]

Shared Universe, Sacred Story

Cosmic-colored light in St. Gabriel’s Church

How materials pave the way for sustainable sacred space. Despite the many advances in design technology, from orthographic representation to BIM software, the creation of space is still the act of a maker selecting and organizing materials. And while … [continue]