The New Testament Trinity is a peculiar version of depicting the Triune God: God the Father,God the Son and the Holy Spirit-is based on the words said by Christ in the Gospel: “I and one jesus father” (In. 10:15), “ who has seen me has seen the Father” (In. 14:9).Thus, one can say that we look at the Father through the Son.(“The Son is the image of his father”).Three persons of the Holy Trinity are symbolized: God the Father-by a grey-bearded old man (“the Ancient of Days”) God the Son-by Christ,the Holy Spirit- by a dove.In the halo of the Ancient of Days are the same letters which are in the halo of the Saviour, which mean “the Existing”,but the halo itself can be not circular but triangular or octagonal.

There are a few iconographic versions depending on the disposition of the figures.The composition synthronon involves front-face depiction of two enthroned figures, sometimes in the clouds.The idea of this depiction is to show Our Lord Jesus Christ in His ascension sitting at the right hand of God the Father. God the Father is usually placed in the right part of the icon in the image of an old man sitting on the throne or in the clouds in regal clothes.In His left hand He holds a mound and in His right hand ,sometimes together with Christ- a globe of the Universe with the Cross.With His right hand He usually blesses Christ.Christ is represented in his ususl clothes. Above-the Holy Spirit in the image of a dove.Sometimes Christ’s throne is vacant, but he approaches it on the Day of Ascension.

The iconographic version with the figures inclined to each other has the name “The Eternal Council”.In the composition “Sending Christ to the Earth” God the Father blesses Jesus Christ.Before the XV1 century examples of these versions are not known in Russian art, they first appeared on the facades of the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin and part the big composition of the Last Judgement at the same Cathedral. (1513-1515—1642-1643) They also occur in the interiors of many Russian cathedrals of the XV11-XX centuries as well as on some icons.The most ancient (but as late as early XV century)is a version of the New Testament Trinity which got the name “The Paternity” (the State Tretyakov Gallery) on which Christ Emmanuel –the Saviour in His infancy or adolescence is depicted seated on God the Father’s lap, God the Father is depicted as an old man.Above them the Holy Spirit in the image of a dove.

Such depictions occur in the Roman art of Western Europe: miniature painting of the Utrecht Psalm Book of the X century-is one of early examples, in Byzanteum in the applied arts and in manuscripts, for example a miniature of the New Testament of the X11 century which is kept at the Vienna National Library.

In the XV1 century, judging by the icon captions, the icon Synthronon can be named with the words of the Easter troparion “In the tomb of the flesh”; “On the throne was with the Father and the Holy Spirit” of the poem borrowed from Psalm 109 “My Lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool”.

The first variant of the caption, apart from the known“Four-part” icon from the Annunciation Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin giving a detailed illustration of the troparion, can be seen on the Moscow icon “The Fasting Triodion” (the State Tretyakov Gallery, inv.№ 24839)where the icon of the New Testament Trinity is included in the composition of the Last Judgement.On the icons “The Symbol of Faith” depiction of Jesus Christ and the Lord of Sabaoth seated on the synthronon relates to the words: “and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of his father”.

The Holy Trinity Day is celebrated on Sunday on the 50th day after Easter. 


1. Антонова В. И., Мнева Н. Е. Каталог древнерусской живописи XI – начала XVIII вв. Опыт историко-художественной классификации. В 2-х томах. М., 1963.

2. Ретковская Л. С. О появлении и развитии композиции «Отечество» в русском искусстве XIV–XVI веков // Древнерусское искусство XV – начала XVI веков [т. 1]. М., 1963. С. 235–262.

3. Успенский Л. А. Богословие иконы Православной Церкви. М.. 1989.

4. Инок Григорий Круг. Мысли об иконе. Париж, 1978.

5. Попов Г. В., Рындина А. В. Живопись и прикладное искусство Твери XIV – XVI вв. М., 1979.

6. Дьяченко О. А. Образ Троицы Новозаветной в русском искусстве XVI в. Интернет-ресурс

7. Смирнова Э. С. Живопись Великого Новгорода. Середина XIII – начало XV века. М., 1976.