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SITE INFO


This is the Lord’s gate: 
let us enter through it and obtain mercy and forgiveness.
The Rite of Opening the Door of Mercy

 
 
Archbishop Sartain has designated the Cathedral’s great bronze doors as the Doors of Mercy for the Archdiocese of Seattle.
 
The bronze doors, the work of sculptor Ulrich Henn, depict the journey of humanity towards the heavenly city.  The left-hand door highlights Old Testament stories of the journey of God’s people. The story begins with Adam and Eve's first faltering steps as they leave the garden.  The angel sends them forth, but one hand is raised in blessing:  even at the moment of expulsion from paradise, the human family is accompanied by the mercy of God.  Again and again, God reaches out to his people with merciful and compassionate love, bringing Noah to safety, leading the people of Israel through the waters of the Red Sea.
 
The New Testament door highlights stories of Jesus, who is God’s mercy made visible. It begins with Jesus' baptism - the beginning of his active ministry, and, for every baptized person, the beginning of the Christian life. The New Testament door continues with the healing of the paralyzed man.  Jesus not only cures the man's physical infirmity; he forgives his sins as well. The figure just below who looks out at us and points boldly towards Jesus is the figure who, in that Gospel story, demands to know "who but God alone can forgive sins?"  That question, the artist suggested, is one that all seekers must ask as they come to the Cathedral.  The journey continues with Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where he is greeted with jubilation, people waving palm branches and shouting "Hosanna!"
 
The culmination of this human journey is depicted in the tympanum above the doors, which is a vision of the heavenly city using imagery from the book of Revelation.  At the center of this city is Christ, the Lamb of God.  Rivers flow from the city, and on the banks spring up trees, covered in fruit, full of life.  Notice the angel in the upper right:  where the first angel pointed the way out of paradise, this angel points the way to a new and greater paradise - through the Lamb of God.
 
The flanking bronze doors are unadorned except for the handles, which depict parallel scenes from the Old and New Testament.  On the left, Jonah steps from the mouth of the whale; on the right, Jesus lifts the doubting Peter out of the water.

 

 

YEAR OF MERCY HOME

 





 

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804 Ninth Avenue
Seattle, Washington  98104
Phone 206.622.3559  Fax 206.622.5303