The Transfiguration of the Lord
In order to strengthen the faith of His disciples when they would see His suffering, Jesus Christ took three disciples, Peter, James and John, and led them up on a high mountain to pray. According to ancient Church Tradition, it was the beautiful Mount Tabor covered with luxurious growth from the foot to the summit.
As the Saviour was praying, the disciples slept from fatigue. When they woke up, they saw Jesus Christ transfigured before them. His face shone like the, sun and His garments became white as snow and glistened as light. There, two prophets, Moses and Elijah, in heavenly glory appeared with Him, and they were talking with Jesus about the suffering and death which He would have to endure in Jerusalem. Extraordinary joy filled the hearts of the disciples during this time. Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it is well that we are here. If you wish, I will make three booths here: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah,” not understanding what He was saying. Suddenly, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and they heard the voice of God the Father saying, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces. Jesus Christ came to them, touched them, and said, “Rise, and have no fear.” When the disciples lifted up their eyes, they saw Jesus Christ as He usually appeared.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus Christ commanded them to tell no one about the vision until He was raised from the dead.
The Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the glorious Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, on August 6th. This day is one of the major feast days. By His Transfiguration, the Saviour has showed us how people become in the future life, in the Kingdom of Heaven, if they follow God’s Law and how the entire earthly world would be transfigured. The Lord also reminds us that we can be transfigured even now if we lead a truly Christian life.
On the Feast of Transfiguration, after the Liturgy, fruit is brought to the church to be blessed for eating: grapes and, in general, fruit from orchards such as apples, pears, and plums in order to ask the Lord’s blessing on the fruits of the harvest.
Troparion of the Feast.
Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ our God, showing to Thy disciples Thy glory as each one could endure; shine forth Thou on us, who are sinners all, Thy light ever-unending through the prayers of the Theotokos. O Light-giver, glory to Thee.
Kontakion of the Feast.
On the mount Thou was transfigured, and Thy disciples, as much as they could bear, beheld Thy glory, O Christ our God; so that, when they would see Thee crucified, they would know Thy passion to be willing and would preach to the world that Thou, in truth, are the Effulgence of the Father.
Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36.