"Imagining the Inner Life of God" 

Russian Spirituality of the Holy Trinity

Theological principles or logical reasonings just don’t work very well in explaining the mystery of the Holy Trinity. But a Russian folktale does… even better than St. Patrick illustration of a three-leafed shamrock.  Listen to this imaginative and prayerful story, and join in the discussion following.

Robert Béla Wilhelm holds his doctorate in Storytelling as a Sacred Art, and has led ministry workshops and storytelling concerts for churches Australia, the Americas, and Europe.  He lives in Hagerstown with his wife Kelly (who is adjunct faculty at Shepherd University.)

This storytelling at St Agnes Catholic Church on Trinity Sunday at 12 Noon on June 11 is appropriate for adults as well as teens and children older than ten.

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Two stories from the Russian Orthodox tradition sketch remarkable pictures in our imaginations, helping us to understand the puzzling mystery of the Trinity.

(1) “How the painting of an Icon brought peace & reconciliation to a divided nation warring with itself” is the story of how a medieval Russian painter (St. Andrei Rublev) revealed the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity to the Russian power brokers at a simple meal and in the painting of his most famous icon.


(2) “How a simple song and prayer revealed to a very learned theologian the inner life of God” is a Russian folktale retold by novelist Leo Tolstoy (author of “War and Peace”) about three eccentric hermits living, working, and praying together on a tiny island in the arctic waters of northern Russia… when they are unexpectedly visited by their bishop.


Here is the full Scripture, Story, and Commentary of my telling of “Three Simple Hermits”.

This prayer sung in Arabic, Greek, English, and Slavic. Lyrics are posted on the video. 

Robert Béla Wilhelm is a Byzantine Catholic Christian who tells stories from the Eastern churches (Coptic, Ethiopian, Greek, Russian, etc.) and who also paints icons. He is a traditional storyteller who learned his art from his Hungarian grandmother and his Slovak mother.

A conversation follows the storytelling with a lively process that begins with the vivid images from the stories.  From there we discover intuitive insights into our own life stories and our journey in faith.

— Robert Béla Wilhelm, Th.D.

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2018