Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

COVID-19 Update

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Memorial Church is currently closed for tours and visits. The Church is open for scheduled religious observances, weddings, memorials, concerts, and events. For more information, please see our listing of events.

Banner image featuring Architectural details of the sandstone arcades in the Main Quadrangle of Stanford University.

Memorial Church Quatrefoils

Main content start

Quatrefoils

Of special scholarly and artistic interest are the ancient religious symbols and the carved quatrefoils that provide their settings. There are 29 large carvings in the symbol series. Here is a sampling of some of the finest carvings. They are in the walls of the East and West Trancepts.

Beneath the East Gallery

  • Arrow - A symbol of martyrdom or suffering.

  • Square - Emblem of the earth or earthly life.

  • S - From the Latin, “soter,” meaning “saviour.”

  • Pomegranate - A symbol of resurrection and new life. Used on ancient Hebrew priestly garments.

  • Crown - Spiritual rank, kingship, authority.

  • Heart - Charity, unselfish love.

  • Anchor - Hope. A form used by early Christians to conceal the cross during times of persecution.

  • Broken Chains - A symbol of freedom from sin, death and opression won by Christ’s death on the cross.

Beneath the West Gallery

  • All Seeing Eye - Symbol of God’s omniscience.
  • Rose - Symbol of the Messianic promise, taken from Isaiah’s text, “the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose” (35:1).
  • Five Point Star - Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles represented by the Magi. Also the star of Jacob (Num. 24:17) and the Morning Star (Rev 22:16).
  • Fish - The five Greek letters spelling fish form the acronym of the phrase “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Saviour.” The symbol was used when Christians were not allowed to worship openly.
  • Triangle - The trinity.
  • M. with Rose at Center - Symbol of the virgin birth.