Christians and Jews long have harnessed the beauty and wonder of sun streaming through glass to hint at the glory of God and to tell stories of the faithful.
Starting in the mid-12th century, Gothic cathedrals of Europe were taller and lighter than their predecessors, allowing the sun to dance on stained glass as it filled in the gaps.
Abbot Suger of the Abbey of St. Denis in France believed "that the presence of beautiful objects would lift men's souls closer to God," according to a history provided by the Art Glass Association headquartered in Zanesville, Ohio.
By assembling bits of multicolored glass into an intricate pattern, artisans could help everyday believers who could not read which was most of them understand the Bible.
"Medieval man experienced a window more than he read it," according to the Art Glass essay. "It made the church that special, sacred dwelling place of an all-powerful God."
Many Utah churches and synagogues, historic and modern, feature stained glass as an avenue for storytelling and worship. From simple details such as a dove, signifying peace or the Holy Spirit, or a menorah, suggesting the miracle of faith, to a panorama of apostles and evangelists, these windows are a gift, not just to believers but to all Utahns.
Here is a photographic sample of the many lovely windows that dot the area's religious landscape.
Peggy Fletcher Stack
The art of faith a yearlong series
P Throughout 2011, The Salt Lake Tribune is featuring a monthly series about religious art and artisans. Today: Some of area churches' stained-glass treasures.
To view a gallery of these windows and more, go to http://www.sltrib.com.
To read previous stories in the series, go to http://www.sltrib.com.