The Chapel of the Holy Grail
The Chapel of the Holy Grail is the center of worship life for the community. Completed in 1930, the chapel is replete with symbolism of God, the cross, and the Christian life.
Double doors, with panels of deep colored glass designs set in heavy lead frames, open to the chapel. An aisle paved with faience tiles leads from the entrance, over the chancel, to the altar.
On each side of the aisle, separated by a walnut panel and facing the aisle, are two rows of seats, one canopied, similar to the stalls of a Gothic church choir. The chancel is set off from the nave by a carved and traceried stone arch. The arch frames a brilliant stained glass window by the Charles M. Connick Studios of Boston. The glorious window portrays Joseph of Arimathea, Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, Sir Percivale, and scenes from the legend of the Holy Grail. The window’s theme gives the chapel its name.
The pipe organ is a fine example of the Aeolian Company’s work. It was fully restored in 2005-07. There are ten sets or ranks of pipes for a total of 640 pipes. The pipes are divided over two keyboards and the pedal board. The resources are orchestral with a variety of unison (8’ pitch) resources, rather than a variety of pitch selections. This gives the organ its full, warm sound.
In the chapel, one’s eyes, feet, and hands rest almost unavoidably on a multiplicity of symbols of the divine. Stone carvings around the doors serve as reminders of the goodness of God in nature. Winged chalices, patens, and other symbols of worship sail high overhead on the printed cloth ceiling. On the north side, light filters through cruciform patterned glass. Symbols of God, trinitarian and otherwise, pave the floor. On the carved edges of the pews, one can touch the grapes, the wine, of salvation.
The chapel’s abundant symbols beckon toward the holy, even while serving as a reminder that the quest for it is often long and difficult to keep.
Worship in the Chapel of the Holy Grail
Formal chapel services are held the first Monday of every month during the academic year. It is open at all other times for use by the DDH community, who sometimes gather for evening prayer or lectio divina.
The chapel may be rented by members of the University community for weddings or other religious services. For rental information, email Administrator Marsha Peeler or telephone her at 773.643.4411.