An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Rose Window

A circular stained glass window with radiating tracery in the form of a rose. The rose window is usually placed on the west façade of the church. This window may be quite large, dominating the west end of the nave. A rose window may also appear in the triangular ends of transepts. Undecorated circular windows were a feature of Roman architecture. Rose or wheel windows came to be seen in Romanesque and gothic churches. Wheel windows were formed by straight bars which intersected like the spokes of a wheel to form geometric patterns. The design of these bars eventually became more delicate, with the tracery resembling an open rose. Rose windows may reflect the influence of the decorated circular forms of Muslim architecture that were seen by crusaders. Rose windows are characteristic of gothic cathedrals. A beautiful rose window may be seen at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Washington, D.C.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.