- Holy Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ
You were Transfigured on the Mount, O Christ God, Revealing Your glory to
Your disciples as far as they could bear it. Let Your everlasting Light
shine upon us sinners! Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Giver of
Light, glory to You!
On the Mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God, And Your disciples
beheld Your glory as far as they could see it; So that when they would
behold You crucified, They would understand that Your suffering was
voluntary, And would proclaim to the world, That You are truly the Radiance
of the Father!
OF OUR LORD GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
In the third year of His preaching, the Lord Jesus often spoke to His
disciples of His approaching passion but at the same time of His glory
following His suffering on the Cross. So that His impending passion would
not totally weaken His disciples and that no one would fall away from Him,
He, the All-wise, wanted to partially show them His divine glory before His
passion. For that reason, He took Peter, James and John with Him and, with
them, went out at night to Mt. Tabor and there was transfigured before
them: "And His face shone as the sun and His garments became white as snow"
(St. Matthew 17:2). There appeared along side Him, Moses and Elijah, the
great Old Testament prophets. And, seeing this, His disciples were amazed.
Peter said: "Lord, it is good for us to be here: if You will, let us make
here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah" (St.
Matthew 17:4). While Peter still spoke, Moses and Elijah departed and a
bright cloud overshadowed the Lord and His disciples and there came a voice
from the cloud saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased;
hear Him" (St. Matthew 17:5). Hearing the voice, the disciples fell to the
ground on their faces as though dead and remained that way, lying in fear,
until the Lord came near to them and said: "Arise and be not afraid" (St.
Matthew 17:7). Why did the Lord take only three disciples on Tabor and not
all? Because Judas was not worthy to behold the divine glory of the
Teacher, Whom he will betray and the Lord did not want to leave him [Judas]
alone at the foot of the mountain so that the betrayer would not, by that,
justify his betrayal. Why was our Lord transfigured on a mountain and not
in a valley? So as to teach us two virtues: love of labor and
godly-thoughts. For, climbing to the heights required labor and height
represents the heights of our thoughts, i.e., godly-thoughts. Why was our
Lord transfigured at night? Because, the night rather than the day is more
suitable for prayer and godly-thoughts and because the night, by its
darkness, conceals all the beauty of the earth and reveals the beauty of
the starry heavens. Why did Moses and Elijah appear? In order to destroy
the error of the Jews, as though Christ is one of the prophets; Elijah or
Jeremiah or some other that is why He appears as a King above the prophets
and that is why Moses and Elijah appear as His servants. Until then, our
Lord manifested His divine power many times to the disciples but, on Mt.
Tabor, He manifested His divine nature. This vision of His Divinity and the
hearing of the heavenly witness about Him as the Son of God, should serve
the disciples in the days of the Lord's passion, in strengthening of an
unwavering faith in Him and His final victory.
HYMN OF PRAISE
THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST There, where
Israel defeated Sisar There also condescended, the Heavenly King Prayer, to
go and to nightly vigils, The glory of His Transfiguration, to manifest,
And the faith of His followers, to confirm In the eternal victory of Him
the Victor. There, divine light from Himself, He released Dispels the thick
darkness, and illuminated Tabor; The Light, for a long time, which in
Himself contained From which, to the world, a little at a time dispensed
Abundant rays, now released, Jubilant rays, sweet rays. The glow of
humanity, to reveal to heaven, To earth and to men, the Divine Truth. Let
the firmament, its Representative see, Let the earth recognize God, the
REFLECTION ON THE FEAST
Why did our Lord not manifest His divine glory on Tabor before all the
disciples instead of before three of them? First, because He Himself gave
the Law through the mouth of Moses: "At the mouth of two witnesses or at
the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established" (Deuteronomy
19:15). Therefore, three witnesses are sufficient. These three witnesses
represent three main virtues: Peter Faith, for he was the first to confess
his faith in Christ as the Son of God; James Hope, for, with faith in the
promise of Christ, he was the first who laid down his life for the Lord,
being the first to be slain by the Jews; John Love, for he reclined on the
bosom of the Lord and remained beneath the Cross of the Lord until the end.
God is not called the God of many but rather the God of the chosen. "I am
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob" (Exodus 3:6).
God often valued a faithful man more than an entire nation. Thus, on many
occasions, He wanted to destroy the entire Jewish nation, but because of
the prayers of righteous Moses, spared that nation to live. God listened
more to the faithful Prophet Elijah than to the entire unbelieving kingdom
of Ahab. Because of the prayers of one man, God towns and people. Thus, the
sinful town of Ustiug was to be destroyed by fire and hail had it not been
saved by the prayers of the one and only righteous man in it, St.
Procopius, the "fool for Christ" (July 8).