Mississippi: Local Orthodox Church Prepares to Celebrate Transfiguration
- Local Orthodox church prepares to celebrate Transfiguration
By Rev. Matthew Jackson | Guest Columnist
Posted: 08/03/07 - 11:11:47 am CDT
Rev. Matthew Jackson Because the American people are largely unfamiliar
with the Orthodox Christian Church, many of our ancient traditions are not very
well known. One of the most meaningful, and beautiful, of these ancient
customs has to do with the way a local church is named.
We don’t name our churches after locations or roads; instead, our churches
are named for important Christian people (saints) or events of the past. And
on the Orthodox Christian calendar, every significant event from the life of
Christ or the saints is remembered on a certain day.
So for any particular church, one of the most important days of the year is
what is know as its “patronal feast,” the day that it celebrates the feast
associated with the naming of the local church. For instance, a Church of the
Nativity of Christ would celebrate its patronal feast on Dec. 25.
This day will not necessarily fall on a Saturday or a Sunday. The life of
the Christian is filled with the presence and activity of God in every moment
of every day. The Orthodox Christian calendar reveals this by celebrating
various events every day; each day is important to claim and dedicate to
Outside of Easter (Pascha), the patronal feast of a parish is its largest
celebration of the year. The evening before the feast, the people gather in the
church building for worship.
The Orthodox Christian Church still remembers time in the way we hear it in
the Scriptures — “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day”
(Genesis 1:5b) — so our worship cycle begins in the evening.
Psalms will be chanted, hymns will be sung, prayers will be offered, incense
will be burned. The people are preparing themselves for the worship and the
celebration that the next day will bring.
On the morning of the feast, the people of God come together again for the
Festal Divine Liturgy, a slightly more festive version of the typical morning
worship of the Orthodox Christian Church. Again they will offer prayers and
sing Psalms and hymns in the worship of Christ our God.
The culminating moment of the Liturgy is the Holy Eucharist; the people
approach the chalice and partake of “the body which was broken” (I Cor.
11:23-25) and “the blood which was shed” (Matthew 26:27-28) on the cross for the
salvation of mankind.
Right here in McComb, this beautiful and ancient custom and worship will
happen in just a few days. Our local Orthodox Christian church bears the name “
Christ the Saviour,” and our patronal feast is the Feast of the
Transfiguration of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is celebrated annually on
Our local congregation is made up largely of people who have come to the
Orthodox Church from a variety of other faith traditions, searching for a place
they can worship Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Transfiguration is not a
feast that many traditions in America know very much about, but it is one of the
central moments in the life of Christ in the teaching of the Orthodox
The Transfiguration (found in Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13 and Luke 9:28-36)
is the point in His earthly ministry where Christ shows most clearly His
true nature (outside of His glorious Resurrection), at the same time fully God
and fully man.
What a glorious realization, that our Creator God has joined Himself to His
creation out of love and concern for our salvation. God became a human being
so that all of mankind could share in the glory that He revealed on the Mount
of Transfiguration. Glory to Jesus Christ!
Services for the Feast of the Transfiguration will be held at Christ the
Saviour Orthodox Christian Church 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. Monday. We are
located at 500 Maryland Ave. in McComb.
If you have any questions, please call 249-4488. Or visit us on the Web at
_http://www.Christ-the-Saviour.org_ (http://www.christ-the-saviour.org/) .
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The Rev. Matthew Jackson is priest at Christ the Saviour Orthodox Christian
Church in McComb.
St. George's Orthodox Church
Rio Grande Valley of Tropical South Texas
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