One of the great treasures of the Eastern tradition is the icon of the Holy Trinity created by the Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev in the 1400s. The Trinity is symbolized by the three travelers to the tent of Abraham and Sarah. They are seated at a table blessing a cup of wine, under the oak of Mamre. If you look closely, you will see a sacrificed calf in the chalice, reminding the viewer of the cross.

The table, prepared for eating and tilted toward the viewer, is an invitation to the Eucharist. From left to right, each figure is keyed to a person of the Trinity. Like all icons, this image is theology in art. The persons are equal in proportion and dignity, they all carry staffs to symbolize their power, and are shown with golden wings and halos.

Today, the best place to see Rublev’s work is the Holy Trinity Cathedral, at the heart of the vast Holy Trinity monastery about an hour from Moscow. After decades of persecution, it is now once again a living monastery, a world heritage site, and the spiritual home of Russian Orthodoxy. A Google visit is highly recommended today!

-Rev. James Field