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Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of the Saviour

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    Forty days before His Crucifixion, our Saviour took Saints Peter, James and John to the top of Mount Tabor and there He appeared to His disciples, not in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 18, 2003
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      Forty days before His Crucifixion, our Saviour took Saints Peter, James and John to the top of Mount Tabor and there He appeared to His disciples, not in the form of a servant, but as One of the Holy Trinity, Who, in His Incarnation, remains inseparable from His Divine nature. The manifestation of the Divinity of Christ is a Theophany of the Holy Trinity.  First our Saviour showed the Glory of His Divinity to the extent that the Apostles could receive the Grace of this vision, but afterwards, the brilliance of the bright cloud overwhelmed them.  They could not see our Lord because of the brightness and fell in terror.   The Kontakion of the feast, summing up the teaching of the Fathers, tells us that the Divine Glory of Christ was manifested to the disciples as much as they could bear, so that later, when they should see their Master crucified, they should be able to understand that His Passion could only be voluntary. 


      In the ikon of the Holy Transfiguration our Saviour is represented standing on the summit of the mountain, speaking with Prophets Moses and Elias.  His raiment is shining white. The geometrical figure inscribed in the circle of the mandoria, represents the bright cloud which revealed the source of the Divine energies.  Prophet Moses (on the right) in our icon is holding a book; generally it is the tables of the Commandments - Prophet Elias (on the left) is an old man with long hair.  St. John Chrysostom gives several reasons to explain the presence of Prophets Moses and Elias at the moment of the Transfiguration: 1) They represent the Law and the Pro­phets; 2) both had a vision of God, one on Mt. Sinai, the other on Mt. Carmel; 3) Moses represents the dead, while Elias, taken up to heaven on a chariot of fire, represents the living. This last interpretation has been emphasised in the liturgical texts of the Feast.


      We wish Fr. Panteleimon, the Elder, Fr. Isaac, the abbot and all the Fathers of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Many Years!

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