Icon - Holy Trinity (Rublev)
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The Holy Trinity is our fount and source of being, life, and salvation. In the Orthodox Church, worship begins and ends with the words, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." From Holy Scripture’s account of the creation in Genesis 1, It is the Holy Trinity who said, “Let us make man in our image.”
One of the foremost and most famous of Orthodox iconographic imagery of the Holy Trinity is that of the 15th century Russian painter Andrei Rublev, called Troitsa. The icon is based on the story from the Book of Genesis, chapter 18 called Abraham and Sarah’s Hospitality, or just the Hospitality of Abraham. The story tells us that Patriarch Abraham 'was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day' by the Oak of Mamre and saw three men standing in front of him, who in the next chapter were revealed as angels. 'When he saw them, Abraham ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth.' Abraham ordered a servant-boy to prepare a choice calf, and set curds, milk and the calf before them, waiting on them, under a tree, as they ate (Genesis 18:1–8). One of the angels told Abraham that Sarah would soon give birth to a son.
This icon was commissioned to honor the 15th century Russian saint Sergius of Radonezh of the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius near Moscow. Little is known about the Icon’s history. Art historians can only make suggestions based on few known facts. Official versions place Rublev’s writing of this icon at either 1411, or 1425-27. It is his most famous work and the most famous of all Russian icons.
The Icon is currently held in the Tretvakov Gallery in Moscow. In 2008 Levon Nersesyan, one of the Gallery staff members, revealed that Patriarch Alexy had requested the icon to be brought to the Lavra of St. Sergius for the religious holiday in the summer of 2009. Most scholars agreed that the climate inside the Cathedral is completely unsuitable for the icon keeping, that candles, frankincense and the transportation could destroy it. Valentin Yanin said: "The Trinity is an outstanding work of art, a national patrimony, which should be available to people of all beliefs regardless of their religion. Outstanding works of art are supposed to be kept not inside churches for a narrow circle of parishioners to see, but in public museums." The icon eventually stayed in the museum.
This icon is used in the Russian tradition for the feast of Pentecost, and in many churches it appears above the Holy Doors.