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Trinity Sunday

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Trinity Sunday
The Blessed Trinity with Crown, oil on panel, Max Fürst (1846–1917)
Observed byWestern Christianity
DateThe Sunday after Pentecost
2023 date
  • June 4 (Western)
  • June 4 (Eastern)
2024 date
  • May 26 (Western)
  • June 23 (Eastern)
2025 date
  • June 15 (Western)
  • June 8 (Eastern)
2026 date
  • May 31 (Western)
  • May 31 (Eastern)
Related toPentecost
Corpus Christi

Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity.[1] Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[2]

Western Christianity[edit]

Holy Trinity, fresco by Luca Rossetti da Orta, 1738–39 (St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea, Torino)

Trinity Sunday is celebrated in all the Western liturgical churches: Latin Catholic, Anglican,[3] Lutheran,[4] Presbyterian,[5] United Church of Christ,[6] and Methodist.[7]


In the early Church, no special Office or day was assigned for the Holy Trinity. When the Arian heresy was spreading, the Fathers prepared an Office with canticles, responses, a Preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays. In the Sacramentary of Gregory the Great there are prayers and the Preface of the Trinity. During the Middle Ages, especially during the Carolingian period, devotion to the Blessed Trinity was a highly important feature of private devotion and inspired several liturgical expressions.[8] Sundays are traditionally dedicated to the Holy Trinity.[9]

The Micrologies written during the pontificate of Gregory VII list no special Office for the Sunday after Pentecost, but add that in some places they recited the Office of the Holy Trinity composed by Bishop Stephen of Liège (903–920). By others the Office was said on the Sunday before Advent. Alexander II (1061–1073), refused a petition for a special feast on the grounds that such a feast was not customary in the Roman Church which daily honoured the Holy Trinity by the Gloria Patri, etc., but he did not forbid the celebration where it already existed. A new Office had been made by the Franciscan John Peckham, Canon of Lyons, later Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1292).[10]

John XXII (1316–1334) ordered the feast for the entire Church on the first Sunday after Pentecost and established it as a Double of the Second Class.[10] It was raised to the dignity of a primary of the first class, 24 July 1911, by Pope Pius X (Acta Ap. Sedis, III, 351). Since it was after the first great Pentecost that the doctrine of the Trinity was proclaimed to the world, the feast becomingly follows that of Pentecost.

Roman Catholicism[edit]

In the Roman Catholic Church, it is officially known as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Prior to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, it marked the end of a three-week period during which church weddings were forbidden. The period began on Rogation Sunday, the fifth Sunday after Easter.[citation needed] The prescribed liturgical color is white.[11]

In the traditional Divine Office, the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult) is said on this day at Prime. Before 1960, it was said on all Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost which do not fall within Octaves or on which a feast of Double rank or higher was celebrated or commemorated, as well as on Trinity Sunday. The 1960 reforms reduced it to once a year, on this Sunday.

In the 1962 Missal, the Mass for the First Sunday After Pentecost is not said or commemorated on Sunday (it is permanently impeded there by Trinity Sunday), but is used during the week if the ferial Mass is being said.[11]

The Thursday after Trinity Sunday is observed as the Feast of Corpus Christi. In some countries, including the United States,[11] Canada, and Spain, it may be celebrated on the following Sunday, when the faithful are more likely to attend Mass and be able to celebrate the feast.


A distinctive feature of Lutheran worship is the recitation of the Athanasian Creed on Trinity Sunday during Matins.[12] It may also supplant the Nicene Creed during the Mass.[12] The Lutheran Book of Worship, Lutheran Worship, and Lutheran Service Book specify this.[12]


Trinity Sunday has the status of a Principal Feast in the Church of England and is one of seven principal feast days in the Episcopal Church (United States).[13]

Thomas Becket (1118–1170) was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on the Sunday after Pentecost (Whitsun). His martyrdom may have influenced the popularity of the feast in England. This observance spread from Canterbury throughout the whole of western Christendom.[13]

The Athanasian Creed, although not often used, is recited in certain Anglican churches, particularly those of High Church tendency. Its use is prescribed in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England for use on certain Sundays at Morning Prayer, including Trinity Sunday, and it is found in many modern Anglican prayer books.[14] It is in the Historical Documents section of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church), but its use is not specifically provided for in the rubrics of that prayer book.

Parishes with an Anglo-Catholic churchmanship follow a calendar where Corpus Christi is observed on the following Thursday, or in some cases the following Sunday.[15]


In traditional Methodist usage, The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965) provides the following Collects for Trinity Sunday:[16]

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity: We beseech thee to keep us steadfast in this faith and evermore defend us from all adversities who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.[16]

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast revealed thyself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and dost ever live and reign in the perfect unity of love: Grant that we may always hold firmly and joyfully to this faith, and, living in praise of thy divine majesty, may finally be one in thee; who art three persons in one God, world without end. Amen.[16]


Dates for Trinity Sunday
In Gregorian dates
Year Western Eastern
2017 June 11June 4
2018 May 27
2019 June 16
2020 June 7
2021 May 30June 20
2022 June 12
2023 June 4
2024 May 26June 23
2025 June 15June 8
2026 May 31
2027 May 23June 20
2028 June 11June 4
2029 May 27
2030 June 16
2031 June 8June 1

Trinity Sunday is the Sunday following Pentecost, and eight weeks after Easter Sunday. The earliest possible date is 17 May (as in 1818 and 2285). The latest possible date is 20 June (as in 1943 and 2038).

Eastern Christianity[edit]

The Holy Trinity by St. Andrei Rublev, using the theme of the "Hospitality of Abraham." The three angels symbolize the Trinity, which is rarely depicted directly in Byzantine art.

In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, the Sunday of Pentecost itself is called Trinity Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost is All Saints Sunday). The Monday after Pentecost is called Monday of the Holy Spirit, and the next day is called the Third Day of the Trinity. In the Eastern practice, green is used for Pentecost and its Afterfeast.[17]

Bach cantatas[edit]

Johann Sebastian Bach composed a number of cantatas for Trinity Sunday. Three of them are extant, including O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad, BWV 165, Es ist ein trotzig und verzagt Ding, BWV 176, and Gelobet sei der Herr, mein Gott, BWV 129. The cantata Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest, BWV 194, composed for dedication of the church and organ at Störmthal, was performed again in Leipzig for Trinity Sunday, first on 4 June 1724, a shortened version in 1726, and the complete version in 1731.


  1. ^ "Christianity: The Trinity". BBC. BBC. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  2. ^ Trawicky, B. (2000). Anniversaries and Holidays. American Library Association. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-8389-0695-8.
  3. ^ "Trinity Sunday in the United Kingdom". www.timeanddate.com. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Questions and answers about Trinity Sunday". St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Kingsville.
  5. ^ "Trinity Sunday | The Christian Year". Presbyterian Mission Agency. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Trinity Sunday". UCC Worship Ways.
  7. ^ "Trinity Sunday/First Sunday after Pentecost". United Methodist Church Discipleship Ministries. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Library : Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy: Principles and Guidelines". www.catholicculture.org. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  9. ^ Kosloski, Philip (16 June 2019). "The fascinating history and symbolism of Trinity Sunday". Aleteia – Catholic Spirituality, Lifestyle, World News, and Culture. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
  10. ^ a b Mershman, Francis (1912). "Trinity Sunday" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  11. ^ a b c "Liturgical Calendar". www.usccb.org. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Senn, Frank C. (2012). Introduction to Christian Liturgy. Fortress Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-1-4514-2433-1.
  13. ^ a b "Trinity Sunday". The Episcopal Church.
  14. ^ A Manual of Catholic Devotion: For Members of the Church of England. The Church Union. London: Church Literature Association. 1969 [1950]. pp. 511–513.
  15. ^ "The Day of Thanksgiving for the Institution of Holy Communion (Corpus Christi)". The Calendar. Church of England.
  16. ^ a b c The Book of Worship for Church and Home: With Orders of Worship, Services for the Administration of the Sacraments and Other Aids to Worship According to the Usages of the Methodist Church. Methodist Publishing House. 1964. p. 131. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Цвета церковных облачений" (in Russian). Православный журнал «Фома». 21 October 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2024.

External links[edit]

Sundays of the Easter cycle
Preceded by Trinity Sunday
May 26, 2024
Sundays after Pentecost