The Rublev Trinity by Fr Gabriel Bunge

January 29, 2010 at 7:00 am 1 comment

This meditation on Rublev’s icon of the Trinity is a gorgeous book. It is visually arresting – its size, the color pictures, and the quality of the paper make it a joy to read. I found it to be a wonderful book to read aloud.

Fr Gabriel Bunge takes a long, winding journey to the meaning of Rublev’s icon. To simply say what it means up front would be to miss the point. In order to understand the genius of Rublev’s Trinity one must first know something about the theological meaning of icons, the tradition of interpretation of Genesis 18 and how it was interpreted iconographically over the centuries, the influence of St Sergei Radonezh, who founded the Trinity monastery, and the proper place of the icon in Orthodox liturgy and the Trinity monastery. It is only then that one can appreciate what makes this particular icon different, and consider Fr Bunge’s interpretation of the icon’s message, which is both unique and convincing.

In Fr Bunge’s view, we have in Rublev’s masterwork the flowering of the Trinitarian spirituality of St Sergei of Radonezh as seen in the life of his monastic community, the culmination of centuries of reflection upon the mystery of the Trinity, and a window on Pentecost as it is revealed to us in the Gospel of John: the Father’s sending of the Spirit into the world in loving answer to the heartfelt pleas of the Son, the Spirit who makes known to us the saving work and person of the Son, who ‘shows us the Father.’

The Icon of the Trinity by St Andrei Rublev

Pavel Florensky once offered this interesting theological “proof:” ‘There exists the icon of the Trinity by St Andrei Rublev; therefore, God exists.’ As a logical proof, it fails; as a doxology, it succeeds mightily. Exploring Rublev’s work with Fr Bunge takes one into that spirit of doxology.


Entry filed under: Book Reviews. Tags: , , , , , .

Sermon Epiphany 3 Do. Love. Walk.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. przip  |  January 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks, Chip, for directing us to this book. Looks like one more of us ought to have. Pax, Steven+


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