Trinity Icons

About Icons

Engaging and inviting, icons are often called “windows into paradise”, in that, despite such beauty and power, they do not represent ends unto themselves but act as doorways that lead the viewer beyond the present reality into the eternal and unchanging truths that lie within. It is time and space but portray them in their divinized state, in a state of transformed glory supernaturally illuminated by the uncreated light of God’s eternal presence. Hence the importance of gold leaf and the absence of any discernible exterior light source.

While other forms of familiar art, notably Western art, developed over the ages and reflect the wondrous changes brought about by perspective, science and humanism, icons remained and continue to remain, unchanging and almost startlingly surreal. This is not only rooted in the belief of God’s unchanging nature but the key belief that icons do not show real people in real time and space but portray them in their divinized state, in a state of transformed glory supernaturally illuminated by the uncreated light of God’s eternal presence. Hence the importance of gold leaf and the absence of any discernible exterior light source.

Like every experience, historical and cultural, grounded in the collective consciousness and genetic memory, icons reflect a world where everything, including color, gestures, etc., teach and instruct us in ways that are both intuitive and mysterious. Wide eyes bespeak the saint’s encounter with the ineffable glory of God’s actual presence. Small mouths proclaim the exaltation, beyond words, that they now experience. Hands and fingers, long and delicate, are crossed in gestures that proclaim the humanity and divinity of Christ as well as glory to the Trinity. As good theology is often just good sense, from the beginning it was understood that icons were not idols to be worshipped but reflections of people and events in sacred history to be honored, venerated and ultimately imitated.