This piece represents a stunning icon of the Holy Trinity, inspired by the Old Testament – the visitation of three angelic messengers to Abraham and Sarah in the Mamre grove. This encounter is viewed as a manifestation of the Trinity. The three angels are arranged around a table with a goblet on top, each holding a staff – a symbol of authority, reflecting the divine power they embody.
The Eastern Orthodox Church interprets the event when Abraham was visited by “three men” in Mamre, as described in the Bible (Gen 18.2), which some early church fathers inferred as a cryptic allusion to the triune God, as an embodied revelation of the Divine Trinity. While the Western Church has been celebrating its distinct Trinity feast (on the first Sunday after Pentecost) since the High Middle Ages, the Eastern Church marks the appearance of the three angels to Abraham on Pentecost Sunday as a symbol of the Triune God.
The concept of the Trinity (a singular entity that is tripartite or unfolded in unity), known in Greek as “trias” and in Russian as “troica”, is the foundational tenet of Christianity. It asserts the unity of the three divine persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This belief is shared among all Christian denominations and it sets Christianity apart from all other religions. After debates during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, it was tentatively resolved in the Creed of Nicea in 325 and in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
The background features a poliment gilding with painted ornaments and inscription.
This icon is exceptionally delicate and beautiful.