Saturday, January 29, 2011

Andrei Rublev (c. 1365-1430) - Monk & Iconographer

Andrei Rublev is considered by many to be Russia's greatest iconographer. He was born near Moscow, and, while very young, entered The Holy Trinity monastery. In 1405 he transferred to the Spaso-Andronikov monastery and studied iconography under Theophanes the Greek and the monk, Daniel. Some of his most admired works are in the Dormition Cathedral in Vladimir.

Rublev was no exception to iconographers who consider writing an icon a truly spiritual exercise and experience. Repeatedly throughout the process he would recite the Jesus Prayer = Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me. It was as if he were creating a window into the Divine Presence itself, though no human eye could see it. Yet he could experience the reality of himself being created in God's image.

His icon [shown above] of the Three Guests visiting Abraham at Mamre, symbols of the Holy Trinity, is one particularly meaningful in my own spiritual life. I've noticed that it has, at times, "followed" me around. I was baptized in Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Dayton, OH, in 1937; the Trappist monastery where I was briefly a novice was the Abbey of the Holy Trinity in Utah; when I made the first U. S. Taizé pilgrimage in 1992, also in my hometown of Dayton, OH, and where I was privileged to meet and speak with Brother Roger Schutz, the huge icon at the front of the hall was a copy of Rublev's Holy Trinity; I served for 11 years in the Episcopal parish of Holy Trinity, Ukiah, CA, where a copy of Rublev's icon had been placed as a memorial on the door of the tabernacle.

Holy God, we bless you for the gift of your monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who lives and reigns through the ages of ages. Amen.

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