Saturday, May 07, 2011

Envisioning the Trinity

Masaccio: Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone (1401-1428)
The Trinity 1425
Chiesa di Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Albrecht Dürer 1471- 1528
The Adoration of the Trinity 1511
Oil on lindenwood, 135 x 123,4 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Andrea d'Agnolo di Francesco (Andrea del Sarto) (1486 - 1530)
Disputation on the Trinity
Oil on wood, 232 x 193 cm
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence

Colijn de Coter 1455 - c 1538
The Throne of Grace: The Holy Trinity with God the Father holding God the Son
Oil on wood
1.67 m x 1.18 m
Musée du Louvre, Paris

Giampetrino (Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli) (active 1495–1549)
Christ with the Symbol of the Trinity
Oil on panel. 73.5x56 cm
State Hermitage Museum. St Petersburg

Frans Floris 1517 – 1 October 1570
Allegory of the Trinity
The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Gathering and Protecting Humanity
Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris
Oil on panel
1.65 m x 2.3 m
Formerly l`Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, then the church of La Courneuve now Musée du Louvre, Paris

Peter Paul Rubens 1577 - 1640
The Trinity
Oil on canvas
3.14 m x 2.42 m
Staatsgalerie Flämische Barockmalerei, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neuborg

Giovanni Battista Gaulli ( il Baciccio) 1639 - 1709
St Augustine's vision of the Trinity
Pen and brown ink, grey wash
248 millimetres x 169 millimetres
The British Museum, London

Eric Gill 1882 - 1940
65 millimetres x 46 millimetres
The British Museum, London

The importance of the Doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene Confession or understanding of the Trinity can be seen from the following quotations:

"The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity." (St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 9)

"There is no subject where a mistake is more dangerous, or the search more laborious, or discovery more advantageous than the unity of the Trinity: of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." (Saint Augustine, De Trinitate I.III.5)

"The whole of human knowledge comes to fruition in knowledge of the Trinity. For every science and every thing to which the mind applies itself is looking for that which gives us happiness. Speaking about other things is only worthwhile when it derives from and guides us to this search." (Saint Albert the Great, I Sent. d. 2, a. 6–7)

"The whole of our life bears fruit and comes to achievement in the knowledge of the Trinity." (St Thomas Aquinas, I Sent. d. 2, exp. text)

"For since we confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to be one God, they [heretics] demand to know: How can there be one God, and how can they be three Persons?

And to the first question, we answer that: they are one through their essence or deity; so there must also be some abstract terms whereby we may show that the persons are distinguished: these are the ‘properties’ or ‘notions’, that is, abstract terms like ‘paternity’ or ‘filiation’.

Therefore, the divine essence is signified as What (quid), the person as Who (quis); and the property as Whereby (quo)." (St Thomas of Aquinas, Summa Theologica, I, q. 32, a. 2.)

Stephen of Liège (Étienne de Liège) (c.850-920): Gregorian chant - Deum Verum
From Matins of the Feast of the Holy Trinity

Stephen of Liège (Étienne de Liège) (c.850-920): Gregorian chant - Tibi Laus
From Vespers of the Feast of the Holy Trinity

Stephen of Liège (Étienne de Liège) (c.850-920): Gregorian chant - Benedicamus Patrem

The Nicene confession constitutes the foundation of the professions of faith of all the different Christian denominations. It is the foundation of the later discussions and commentaries on the Doctrine.

It was confirmed at subsequent ecumenical councils

The oneness of God in the Trinity of Persons is still proclaimed and asserted. It is not regarded as the product of the culture of its time in the fourth century. It cannot be "updated" to reflect the culture of its time. Indeed the dogma of Nicaea was an intentional affirmation even although it was contrary to the cultural vision of the time it was enunciated.

For an example of how important the Trinity is to the Church see the CDF`s Notification on the book "Jesus Symbol of God" by Father Roger Haight S.J.(December 13, 2004) written by the then Cardinal Ratzinger and affirmed by Blessed Pope John Paul II

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