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Staff • The Rublev Icon
Rublev's Icon of the Holy TrinityThe icon of the Holy Trinity – one of the most beloved images of the Eastern and Orthodox Churches - was painted in the 15th c. by Andrei Rublev, Saint Andrei, in Russia.
Often called the Old Testament Trinity, it refers to the story of Abraham and Sarah's hospitality to strangers by the oaks of Mamre near Hebron. Three nameless visitors who appeared in front of their tent were provided with food and drink, after which they promised the aged couple that Sarah would soon bear a son. Throughout this biblical account of Genesis, the guests are referred to alternately as three, as one, as the Lord; the three acted in perfect unity and spoke with one voice. In this, the early Christian community recognized a revelation of the community of the Three within the One, of the Holy Trinity. Specifically, St. Augustine and St. Ambrose interpreted the three men as manifestations of the Trinity.
The original icon's colors are pure gold or hues of gold. Blue is used in the garments of the three figures, with a variety of colors in each one; a thin line of vermillion red is used in the hardly discernable staff each figure holds. Apart from their clothing, the three figures are identical, neither male nor female, with faint wings behind them. Each head is inclined toward one of the others; none of the three rules over the others. There is an atmosphere of love, freedom, timelessness, rest, and the most intimate communion. The sense of oneness is achieved through the gentle engagement of the three with each other, the joining of eyes.
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