Trinity icon/not sure who is who


Hi. Could someone help me figure out who is who on this icon?
I got it on ebay as it was the Trinity.


From left to right, that’s Son, Father, Holy Spirit.


Out of curiosity how did you come up with that?



The Son is easily identified by the blue over red clothing, which is standard Byzantine iconography for Christ, which is humanity (blue) “covering” or “assumed” by divinity (red). (Theotokos icons have it reversed: red over blue signifying divinity overshadowing her humanity).

Next we turn to the Creed: “…and sits at the right hand of the Father.” That would be the Person to the Son’s left (to the right, from our point of view, i.e. the Person in the middle). That leaves the Holy Spirit by elimination.

All that said, I am not fond of the idea of iconizing or depicting the Trinity or the Father. The Son, yes, the Spirit, yes, as a dove or fire. But the Father is indepictable.


thank you. i read on another similar icon that the figure in front of the tree is Jesus and the figure in front of the hills/mountains is the spirit.


It’s a Western adaptation of Rublev’s famous icon that depicts the Hospitality of Abraham. But it’s been Westernized, so there’s a good chance the color symbolism has been scrambled. For example, I had learned that the red/orange/yellow part of the spectrum was your earthly (such as your dark red, earthy prophets, or the bright red of martyrdom) and the blue/indigo/violet part of the spectrum was your heavenly/spiritual (like the sky), and your green was humanity, where the earthly and the spiritual (yellow + blue) meet.

So if you look at the composition of the original—

— you’ll see that it’s the Father on the left, the Son in the middle, and the Holy Spirit to the right.

All of them share the same face, the face of the Incarnate God.

Christ’s hand is closest to the chalice, with two fingers, indicating his dual nature. He has the golden stripe of kingship on his shoulder, and the bright red/purple-red associated with blood, with kingship. The Tree of Life is behind him-- also symbolic of the wood of the cross.

The Holy Spirit is on the right-hand side. The mountain, the High Holy Place where humanity comes in contact with God, is behind him. He has the blue robes of the spirit, but he also has the green robes of life.

The Father is on the left-hand side. His blue garment is much more hidden than the garment of the other two. He’s the Unseen Creator. Although all three clasp a staff of authority, the Father clasps his with two hands. Behind him is a house— “in my Father’s house are many mansions”.

So, this is what the Western interpretation was re-imagining. But you see the chalice has been replaced by a dish of fruits; no one has two fingers extended; everyone clasps his staff one-handedly; each of them is wearing completely different color schemes; etc. The mountain and the tree are present, but I can’t tell if the house is gone.

I do have to admit, the feeling from your composition is Christ - Father - Spirit, mostly because I associate the red/blue color scheme with Christ. (Actually, mostly with Mary, but of red/blue, white/brown, and pink/green, I’d pick red/blue for Christ.)


Great thread. ,


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