Trinity Sunday


The Holy Trinity icon by famous Russian Orthodox iconographer Andrei Rublev (1360 – 1430) is a powerful invitation to reflection on the truth of the Holy Trinity. Last Sunday we celebrated the coming of the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, at Pentecost. On Sunday June 11th we celebrate Father, Son, and Holy Spirit worshipping together in the community of what is true, good, and beautiful.

Note first the three chalice shapes in this image. First, there is the chalice itself. Second, there is the table as chalice. Third, there are the three members of the Trinity themselves, offering to us in the shape of an existential chalice God’s redemptive purpose for each of our lives and for the world as a whole. All of life is meant to be holy, and can be!

The colors which infuse this icon are also significant. The gold which frames the image symbolizes divine energy. The purple of the central figure symbolizes the majesty of divine love. The blue which each member has in different proportion symbolizes hope, and the green which adorns the figure on the right symbolizes life.

There is debate over which figures represent which members of the Trinity. It may be that the central figure is the Father, and that as he looks at the Son on our left, his two fingers symbolize the divine and human natures of His Son. The Son in turn blesses the Father’s purpose with his own palm facing the Father. The Spirit, on our right, holds the same staff of authority of the others, and points to the rectangular opening on the front face of the altar to indicate that the divine sacrifice is intended to reconcile the whole world back to the Father.

Truth, beauty, and goodness seem to be commodities in short supply in the modern world. Yet the divine energy that infuses this image actually infuses each one of our live, which means today can be the day of transformation and victory. The Holy Trinity is not a theological construct to be ignored, but rather the originating source of the authentic individualism and authentic community for which we all long in the depths of our souls. Let us be the people of God today for the glory of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

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One thought on “Trinity Sunday

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Steve,Great blog.Two quick thoughts. 1. I was always taught the angels in the icon of the Trinity were recognizable from the images behind them. The mountain is behind the Holy Spirit (the place where Theophanies occur). The tree (or cross) is behind the Son who is indicated by the priestly stripe on his robe. And the house is behind the Father who has many rooms in his mansion. Another argument for the Son being the one blessing the eucharist is his blue robe over the red garment. Do a quick google on icon and jesus and you will see he is almost always dressed this way.2. Unrelated to the icon but more for the blog in general. Coming from a liturgical tradition (we use the RCL) I think it might be interesting to reflect on the passages that are skipped or excised as they occur. Blessings!

    Reply

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