Best Piece of Religious Iconography

The Omega Window at the Cathedral of Christ the Light

Ever since the Cathedral of Christ the Light opened in the fall of 2008, many a driver heading through downtown Oakland at night has stopped to do a double-take when passing the 58-foot-high image of Jesus that graces the cathedral’s back window — the so-called Omega Window. The window, along with the rest of the cathedral, was designed by Craig Hartmann of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The giant Jesus image is a contemporary reimagining of a 12th-century depiction of Jesus, rendered here through the assistance of cutting-edge laser technology. You’d think for sure that the image was created by some kind of elaborate projector system, but no, the Jesus image is created by nothing more than natural sunlight shining through more than 94,000 tiny, pixel-like holes that were cut into the aluminum panels making up the window. During the day, the image is visible only from inside the cathedral, but at nighttime, when the lights inside the building turn on, Jesus is visible on the outside of the building, gazing beatifically at saints and sinners alike.


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