Icon: Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Ellwood City, PA
The Transfiguration of our LORD is celebrated (on Friday August 6, this year) as one of the major feasts of our Holy Orthodox Church. This mysterious event occurred late in our Lord's public ministry. In fact, the noted historian Eusebius, as well as St. John of Damascus were of the opinion that the Transfiguration took place precisely 40 days prior to Christ's death upon the Cross.
While heading for Jerusalem, Jesus took the Apostles Peter, James and John to the top of Mt. Tabor. Suddenly, "... His face shone like the sun and His garments became as white as snow." (Matthew 17:2) Appearing with the Lord at this awesome moment were Moses and Elias, proving that He was, indeed, the fulfillment of all that had been written in the Law and foretold by the Prophets. Any doubts of Christ's Divinity were dispelled by the thunderous voice of God the Father: 'This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased." (Mathew 17:5)
The Apostle Peter would later describe his role on Mt. Tabor as being an "eyewitness to greatness." The Evangelist John beautifully captures the feeling of that moment in the first chapter of his Gospel: "And we beheld His glory, the glory as it were of the Only-Begotton of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
The hymns of our Holy Orthodox Church prescribed for the Transfiguration offer further explanation of the significance of this great holy day: "YOU WERE TRANSFIGURED UPON THE MOUNTAIN, O CHRIST OUR GOD, AND YOUR DISCIPLES BEHELD AS MUCH OF YOUR GLORY AS THEY COULD BEAR. SO THAT WHEN THEY WOULD SEE YOU CRUCIFIED, THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT YOUR SUFFERING WAS VOLUNTARY, AND MIGHT PROCLAIM TO THE WORLD THAT YOU ARE TRULY THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FATHER."
The Orthodox Weekly Bulletin
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