The Icon that Reveals the Mystery of the Trinity

From an article on

The symbolism of the image is complex and is meant to summarize the Church’s theological beliefs in the Holy Trinity. First of all, the three angels are identical in appearance corresponding to the belief of the oneness of God in three Persons. However, each angel is wearing a different garment, bringing to mind how each Person of the Trinity is distinct. The fact that Rublev depicts the Trinity using angels is also a reminder of the nature of God, who is pure spirit.

The angels are shown from left to right in the order that we profess our faith in the Creed: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The first angel wears a blue undergarment, symbolizing the divine nature of God and a purple outer garment, pointing to the Father’s kingship.

The second angel is the most familiar as he is wearing the clothes typically worn by Jesus in traditional iconography. The crimson color symbolizes Christ’s humanity, while the blue is indicative of his divinity. The oak tree behind the angel reminds us of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden as well as the cross upon which Christ saved the world from the sin of Adam.

The third angel is wearing a blue garment (divinity), as well as a green vestment over the top....