FEASTS AND SAINTS CELEBRATED TODAY:
Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Η ΜΕΤΑΜΟΡΦΩΣΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΘΕΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΩΤΗΡΟΣ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ.
READINGS FROM THE BIBLE:
The Reading is from Luke 9:28-36
At that time, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" - not knowing what he said. As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 9.28-36
᾿Εγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ ᾿Ιωάννην καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων. καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνδρες δύο συνελάλουν αὐτῷ, οἵτινες ἦσαν Μωϋσῆς καὶ ᾿Ηλίας, οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ ἣν ἔμελλε πληροῦν ἐν ῾Ιερουσαλήμ. ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ· διαγρηγορήσαντες δὲ εἶδον τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ διαχωρίζεσθαι αὐτοὺς ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ εἶπεν ὁ Πέτρος πρὸς τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν· ἐπιστάτα, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι· καὶ ποιήσωμεν σκηνὰς τρεῖς, μίαν σοὶ καὶ μίαν Μωϋσεῖ καὶ μίαν ᾿Ηλίᾳ, μὴ εἰδὼς ὃ λέγει. ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ἐγένετο νεφέλη καὶ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς· ἐφοβήθησαν δὲ ἐν τῷ εἰσελθεῖν ἐκείνους εἰς τὴν νεφέλην· καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός· αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε. καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν εὑρέθη ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς μόνος. καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις οὐδὲν ὧν ἑωράκασιν.
The Reading is from St. Peter's Second Universal Letter 1:10-19
BRETHREN, be more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to arouse you by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Πέτρου β' 1:10-19
Ἀδελφοί, σπουδάσατε βεβαίαν ὑμῶν τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν ποιεῖσθαι· ταῦτα γὰρ ποιοῦντες οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ ποτε· οὕτως γὰρ πλουσίως ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται ὑμῖν ἡ εἴσοδος εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Διὸ οὐκ ἀμελήσω ἀεὶ ὑμᾶς ὑπομιμνῄσκειν περὶ τούτων, καίπερ εἰδότας, καὶ ἐστηριγμένους ἐν τῇ παρούσῃ ἀληθείᾳ. Δίκαιον δὲ ἡγοῦμαι, ἐφʼ ὅσον εἰμὶ ἐν τούτῳ τῷ σκηνώματι, διεγείρειν ὑμᾶς ἐν ὑπομνήσει· εἰδὼς ὅτι ταχινή ἐστιν ἡ ἀπόθεσις τοῦ σκηνώματός μου, καθὼς καὶ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ἐδήλωσέν μοι. Σπουδάσω δὲ καὶ ἑκάστοτε ἔχειν ὑμᾶς μετὰ τὴν ἐμὴν ἔξοδον τὴν τούτων μνήμην ποιεῖσθαι. Οὐ γὰρ σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες ἐγνωρίσαμεν ὑμῖν τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν, ἀλλʼ ἐπόπται γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος. Λαβὼν γὰρ παρὰ θεοῦ πατρὸς τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν, φωνῆς ἐνεχθείσης αὐτῷ τοιᾶσδε ὑπὸ τῆς μεγαλοπρεποῦς δόξης, Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, εἰς ὃν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα· καὶ ταύτην τὴν φωνὴν ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐνεχθεῖσαν, σὺν αὐτῷ ὄντες ἐν τῷ ὄρει τῷ ἁγίῳ. Καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες, ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ, καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν.
The Reading is from Matthew 17:1-9
At that time, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led him up a high mountain apart. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "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." He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead."
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 17.1-9
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, παραλαμβάνει ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ ᾿Ιάκωβον καὶ ᾿Ιωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ᾿ ἰδίαν· καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψε τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς. καὶ ἰδοὺ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς Μωσῆς καὶ ᾿Ηλίας μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ συλλαλοῦντες. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπε τῷ ᾿Ιησοῦ· Κύριε, καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι· εἰ θέλεις, ποιήσωμεν ὧδε τρεῖς σκηνάς, σοὶ μίαν καὶ Μωσεῖ μίαν καὶ μίαν ᾿Ηλίᾳ. ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἰδοὺ νεφέλη φωτεινὴ ἐπεσκίασεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα· αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε· καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἔπεσον ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτῶν καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα. καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ἥψατο αὐτῶν καὶ εἶπεν· ἐγέρθητε καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε.ἐπάραντες δὲ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν οὐδένα εἶδον εἰ μὴ τὸν ᾿Ιησοῦν μόνον. καὶ καταβαινόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους ἐνετείλατο αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς λέγων· μηδενὶ εἴπητε τὸ ὅραμα ἕως οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀναστῇ.
READINGS FROM THE SYNAXARION:
Τῇ ΣΤ' τοῦ αὐτοῦ μηνός, Ἀνάμνησις τῆς θείας Μεταμορφώσεως τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ Θεοῦ καὶ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Θαβὼρ ὑπὲρ πᾶν γῆς ἐδοξάσθη μέρος,
Ἰδὸν Θεοῦ λάμψασαν ἐν δόξῃ φύσιν
Μορφὴν ἀνδρουμένην κατὰ ἕκτην Χριστὸς ἀμεῖψε.
Αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Ἀμήν.
Our Lord had spoken to His disciples many times not only concerning His Passion, Cross, and Death, but also concerning the coming persecutions and afflictions that they themselves would endure. Since all these evils were near at hand, but the enjoyment of good things which they hoped to receive in their stead was yet to come, our Savior desired to give them full assurance, evidently and openly, concerning that glory which is prepared for those who endure to the end. Therefore, fulfilling that which He had promised shortly before, that "there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Matt. 16:28), He took His three foremost disciples and ascended Mount Tabor, where He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. Suddenly, together with this dread and marvelous effulgence of light, there appeared those pinnacles of the Prophets, Moses and Elias, who spoke with the Lord Jesus concerning His saving Passion which was about to take place. Standing before Him as reverent servants, they showed that He is the Lord of both the living and the dead, for Moses came forth from Hades, having died many centuries before, and Elias, as it were from heaven, whither he had been taken up while yet alive. After a little while a radiant cloud overshadowed them and out of the cloud they heard that same voice which had been heard at the Jordan at the Baptism of Christ, testifying to the Divinity of Jesus and saying: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17: 5).
Such are the marvels, truly worthy of God, celebrated in this present feast, which is an image and prefiguring of the future state of the righteous, whose splendor the Lord spoke of, saying: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" (Matt. 13:43). It is because of this that the Kontakion of this Feast is said daily (when there is not a great feast) in the Service of the Typica in perpetual commemoration of the glory that will be the lot of the Saints. According to tradition, the Lord's Transfiguration came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion; this is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.
Apolytikion in the Grave Tone
Μετεμορθώθης εν τώ όρει Χριστέ ο Θεός, δείξας τοίς Μαθηταίς σου τήν δόξαν σου, καθώς ήδυναντο, Λάμψον καί ημίν τοίς αμαρτωλοίς, τό φώς σου τό αϊδιον, πρεσβείαις τής Θεοτόκου, φωτοδότα δόξα σοι.
You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.
Kontakion in the Grave Tone
Επί τού όρους μετεμορφώθης, καί ως εχώρουν οι Μαθηταί σου τήν δόξαν σου, Χριστέ ο Θεός εθεάσαντο, ίνα όταν σε ίδωσι σταυρούμενον, τό μέν πάθος νοήσωσιν εκούσιον, τώ δέ κόσμω κηρύξωσιν, ότι σύ υπάρχεις αληθώς, τού Πατρός τό απαύγασμα.
You were transfigured upon the mount, O Christ our God, and Your disciples, in so far as they could bear, beheld Your glory. Thus, when they see You crucified, they may understand Your voluntary passion, and proclaim to the world that You are truly the effulgence of the Father.
Πολλά θαύματα ετέλεσεν ο Κύριος Ιησούς Χριστός κατά το διάστημα της επιγείου ζωής του. Έκαμε θαύματα επάνω στη φύση, όπως όταν εγαλήνεψε την τρικυμισμένη θάλασσα. Έκαμε θαύματα επάνω στους ανθρώπους, όπως όταν εθεράπευε τους αρρώστους. Έκαμε τέλος θαύματα επάνω στον εαυτό του, όπως όταν μεταμορφώθηκε στο όρος. Η μεταμόρφωση του Σωτήρος έγινε, όπως μας την διηγούνται τα ιερά Ευαγγέλια, "εις όρος υψηλόν", μπροστά στους τρεις μαθητάς, τον Πέτρο, τον Ιάκωβο και τον Ιωάννη. Σε μία στιγμή το πρόσωπο του Ιησού Χριστού "έλαμψεν ως ο ήλιος, τα δε ιμάτια αυτού εγένοντο λευκά ως το φως". Ούτε μπόρεσαν οι μαθηταί να τον αντικρύσουν· έπεσαν κάτω κι εκάλυψαν το πρόσωπο. Τέτοια είναι η "αλλοίωσις η ευπρεπεστάτη", η μεταβολή που κάνει το άκτιστο φως της θείας χάριτος και μέσα στην ψυχή κάθε πιστού· την ανακαινίζει, την αναγεννά, την μεταμορφώνει.
Ἡ Μεταμόρφωση τοῦ Σωτῆρος Χριστοῦ
Κατὰ τὴν διήγηση τῶν Εὐαγγελιστῶν, ὁ Κύριός μας Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς πῆρε ἀπὸ τοὺς μαθητὲς τὸν Πέτρο, τὸν Ἰωάννη καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβο καὶ ἀνέβηκε στὸ ὄρος Θαβὼρ γιὰ νὰ προσευχηθεῖ. Οἱ τρεῖς μαθητές Του, ὅπως ἦταν κουρασμένοι ἀπὸ τὴ δύσκολη ἀνάβαση στὸ Θαβὼρ καὶ ἐνῷ κάθισαν νὰ ξεκουραστοῦν, ἔπεσαν σὲ βαθὺ ὕπνο. Ὅταν, ὅμως, ξύπνησαν, ἀντίκρισαν ἀπροσδόκητο καὶ ἐξαίσιο θέαμα. Τὸ πρόσωπο τοῦ Κυρίου ἄστραφτε σὰν τὸν ἥλιο, καὶ τὰ φορέματά Του ἦταν λευκὰ σὰν τὸ φῶς. Τὸν περιστοίχιζαν δὲ καὶ συνομιλοῦσαν μαζί Του δυὸ ἄνδρες, ὁ Μωϋσῆς καὶ ὁ Ἠλίας. Ἀφοῦ οἱ μαθητὲς συνῆλθαν κάπως ἀπὸ τὴν ἔκπληξη, ὁ πάντα ἐνθουσιώδης, Πέτρος, θέλοντας νὰ διατηρηθεῖ αὐτὴ ἡ ἁγία μέθη ποὺ προκαλοῦσε ἡ ἀκτινοβολία τοῦ Κυρίου, ἱκετευτικὰ εἶπε νὰ στήσουν τρεῖς σκηνές. Μία γιὰ τὸν Κύριο, μία γιὰ τὸ Μωϋσῆ καὶ μία γιὰ τὸν Ἠλία. Πρὶν προλάβει, ὅμως, νὰ τελειώσει τὴν φράση του, ἦλθε σύννεφο ποὺ τοὺς σκέπασε καὶ μέσα ἀπ᾿ αὐτὸ ἀκούστηκε φωνὴ ποὺ ἔλεγε: «Οὗτος ἐστὶν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός· αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε». Δηλαδή, Αὐτὸς εἶναι ὁ Υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ποὺ τὸν ἔστειλα γιὰ νὰ σωθεῖ ὁ κόσμος. Αὐτὸν νὰ ἀκοῦτε. Ὀφείλουμε, λοιπόν, καὶ ἐμεῖς ὄχι μόνο νὰ Τὸν ἀκοῦμε, ἀλλὰ καὶ νὰ Τὸν ὑπακοῦμε. Σὲ ὁποιοδήποτε δρόμο μᾶς φέρει, εἴμαστε ὑποχρεωμένοι νὰ πειθαρχοῦμε.
Ἀνάμνηση ὀπτασίας Σοφιανῆς
Ποὺ μετονομάστηκε σὲ Σωφρονία Μοναχή, ἐν Ἀβύδῳ Βυζαντίου (1607).
Ὁ Ἅγιος Ἀββακούμ ὁ Νεομάρτυρας
Γιὰ τὸν νεομάρτυρα αὐτὸν δὲν ἔχουμε πολλὲς πληροφορίες γιὰ τὴν ζωή του. Τὸ Νέο Μαρτυρολόγιο καὶ οἱ Συναξαριστὲς δὲν τὸν ἀναφέρουν. Μόνο στὸν Κώδικα Ω 89, φ. 155 τῆς Λαύρας, ἀναφέρονται ὅτι, στὶς 6 Αὐγούστου 1628 μαρτύρησε ὁ Ὅσιος καὶ νέος μάρτυρας Ἀββακούμ στὴ μεγαλούπολη Θεσσαλονίκη, εἰς δόξαν καὶ καύχημα τῶν Ὀρθοδόξων χριστιανῶν. Στὸ ἡμερολόγιο τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς Ἑλλάδος καὶ μάλιστα στὴν τοπικὴ ἁγιολογία τῆς Θεσσαλονίκης, δὲν ἀναφέρεται τίποτα γι᾿ αὐτὸν τὸν μάρτυρα. Στὸ Μικρὸ Εὐχολόγιο ἡ μνήμη τοῦ Ἁγίου αὐτοῦ ἀναφέρεται στὶς 6 Αὐγούστου. (Ἐπειδὴ ὅμως ἡ μνήμη του συμπίπτει μὲ τὴν γιορτὴ τῆς Μεταμορφώσεως, ὁ Νεομάρτυρας αὐτὸς γιορτάζεται ἄλλοτε τὴν 5η καὶ ἄλλοτε τὴν 7η Αὐγούστου).
The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ
Second "Feast of the Saviour" in August.
Read the account of Christ's holy Transfiguration (Metamorphosis in Greek) in Matthew ch. 17, Mark ch. 9, and Luke ch. 9. Appearing clothed in Light on Mt Tabor, the Savior fulfilled his promise to His disciples that "there are some standing here who shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Mt 16:28). Christ's Transfiguration is the image of the future state of the righteous, of which He spoke when He said "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" (Mt 13:43). According to the Church's tradition, the Transfiguration occurred forty days before His Crucifixion; for this reason the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.
Discourse of Sainted Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonika. For an explanation of the present feastday and discernment of its truth, it is necessary for us to turn to the very start of the present-day reading from the Gospel: "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother, and leadeth them up onto an high mountain apart" (Mt. 17: 1). First of all we mustneeds ask, from whence doth the Evangelist Matthew begin to reckon with six days? From what sort of day be it? What does the preceding turn of speech indicate, wherein the Saviour, in teaching His disciples, didst say to them: "for the Son of Man shalt come to be in the glory of His Father", and added further: "amen I tell ye, there indeed be some standing here, which shalt not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man come into His Kingdom" (Mt. 16: 27-28); -- that is to say, it is the Light of His forthcoming Transfiguration which He terms as the Glory of His Father and as His Kingdom. [trans. note: the Synoptic Gospel Mt. 16: 27-28 parallel in the Gospel of Mark is Mk. 9: 1, familiar as the concluding verse in Gospel readings for feastdays of the Holy Cross; the Synoptic parallel in Luke is Lk. 9: 26-27]. The Evangelist Luke points this out and more clearly reveals this, saying: "And it came to pass however after these words, about eight days thereafter, He taketh Peter and John and James, and ascendeth onto a mountain to pray. And it came to pass, that as He did pray, His Countenance was altered, and His garb gleamed whitely resplendid" (Lk. 9: 28-29). But how can the two be reconciled, when one of them speaks definitively about the interval of time as being eight days between the sayings and the manifestation, whereas the other (says): "after six days"? Listen and think it out.
On the Mount there were eight, but only six were visible: the three -- Peter, James and John, had come up together with Jesus, and they beheld Moses and Elias (Elijah) standing there and conversing with Him, such that in number altogether they comprised six; but together with the Lord, certainly, were both the Father and the Holy Spirit: the Father -- with His Voice testifying that This be His Beloved Son, and the Holy Spirit -- shining forth with Him in the radiant cloud. In such manner, these six consist actually of eight and as regards the eight it presents no sort of contradiction; in similar manner there is no contradiction with the Evangelists, when one says: "after six days", and the other: "and it came to pass after these words eight days thereafter". But these twofold sayings as it were present us a certain format set in mystery, and together with it that of those actually present upon the Mount. It stands to reason, and everyone rationally studying in concordance with Scripture knows, that the Evangelists are in agreement one with another: Luke spoke about the eight days without contradicting Matthew, who declared "after six days". There is not another day added on representing the day on which these sayings were uttered, nor likewise was there added on the day upon which the Lord was transfigured (which the rational person might reasonably imagine to tack on to the days of Matthew). The Evangelist Luke does not say "after eight days" (like the Evangelist Matthew in saying "after six days"), but rather "it came to pass eight days thereafter". But in what the Evangelists seem to contradict, they actually one and the other point out to us something great and mysteried. In actual fact, why did the one say "after six days", but the other in ignoring the seventh day have in mind the eighth day? It is because the great vision of the Light of the Transfiguration of the Lord is a mystery of the Eighth Day, i.e. of a future age, coming about to be revealed after the passing-away of the world created over the course of the six days. About the power of the Divine Spirit, through the dignity of Which is to be revealed the Kingdom of God, the Lord forespake: ""There indeed be some standing here, which shalt not taste of death, until they see the Kingdom of God come in power" (Mk. 9: 1). Everywhere and in every way the King wilt be present, and everywhere wilt be His Kingdom, since the advent of His Kingdom does not signify the passing over from one place to another, but rather the revelation of its power of the Divine Spirit, wherein is said: "come in power". And this power is not manifest to simply ordinary people, but to those standing with the Lord, that is to say, those affirmed in their faith in Him and like to Peter, James and John, and those foremost of all free of our natural abasement. Therefore, and precisely because of this, God manifests Himself upon the Mount, on the one hand coming down from His heights, and on the other -- raising us up from the depths of abasement, since that the Transcendent One takes on mortal nature. And certainly, such a manifest appearance by far transcends the utmost limits of the mind's grasp, as effectualised by the power of the Divine Spirit.
And thus, the Light of the Transfiguration of the Lord is not something that is born and vanishes nor is it subject to the faculties of sensation, although it was contemplated by corporeal eyes over the course of a short while and upon an inconsequential mountaintop. But the mystery-initiates (the disciples) of the Lord at this time passed beyond mere flesh into spirit by means of a transformation of their sense-faculties, effectualised within them by Spirit, and in such manner they beheld what, and to which extent the Divine spirit had wrought blessedness in them to behold -- the Ineffable Light. Those not grasping this point have conjectured, that the chosen from among the Apostles beheld the Light of the Transfiguration of the Lord by a sensual and creaturely power (faculty), -- and through this they attempt to reduce to a creaturely-level [i.e. as something "created"] not only this Light, the Kingdom and the Glory of God, but also the Power of the Divine Spirit, through which it be mete for Divine mysteries to be revealed. In all likelihood, suchlike persons have not attended to the words of the Apostle Paul: "of which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor ascended in the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for those that love Him. To us however God hath revealed through His Spirit: for all things be scrutinised of Spirit, even at the very depths of God" (1 Cor. 2: 9-10).
And thus, with the onset of the Eighth Day, the Lord, taking Peter, James and John, went up on the Mount to pray: He always either prayed alone, withdrawing from everyone, even from the Apostles themselves, as for example when with five loaves and two fish He fed the five thousand men, besides women and children (Mt. 14: 19-23). Or, taking with Him the several that excelled others, as at the approach of His Saving Passion, when He said to the other disciples: "Sit ye here whilst I go and pray thither" (Mt. 26: 36), -- He then took with Him Peter, James and John. But in our instance right here and now, having taken only these same three, the Lord led them up onto an high mountain apart and wast transfigured before them, that is to say, before their very eyes.
"What does it mean to say: He was transfigured?" -- asks the Gold-Worded Theologian (Chrysostomos), and he answers this by saying: "it revealed, that is, something of His Divinity to them -- as much and insofar as they were able to apprehend it, and it showed the indwelling of God within Him". The Evangelist Luke says: "And it came to pass, that as He prayed, the appearance of His Face was altered" (Lk. 9: 29); and from the Evangelist Matthew we read: "And His Face did shine, like the sun" (Mt. 17: 2). But the Evangelist said this, not in the context that this Light be thought of as subsistent for the senses (let us put aside the blindness of mind of those, who can conceive of nothing higher than that, known through the senses). Rather, it is to show that Christ God -- for those living and contemplating by spirit -- is the same as how the sun is for those living in the flesh and contemplating by the senses: therefore some other Light for the knowing of Divinity be not necessary for those who be enriched by Divine gifts. That selfsame Inscrutable Light did shine and mysteriously become manifest to the Apostles and foremost of the Prophets at that moment, when (the Lord) was praying. This shows, that what begat this blessed sight was prayer, and that the radiance happened and was manifest by an uniting of the mind with God, and that it be granted to all who, amidst constant exercise in efforts of virtue and prayer, strive with their mind towards God. True beauty essentially can be contemplated only with a purified mind; diligently to gaze upon its luminance assumes a sort of participation with it, as though some bright ray doth etch itself upon the face. Whereof even the face of Moses was illumined by his association with God. Do you not know, that Moses was transfigured, when he went up the mountain, and there beheld the Glory of God? But he (Moses) did not effect this, but rather he underwent a transfiguration; however, our Lord Jesus Christ of Himself possessed that Light. In this regard, actually, He did not have need for prayer for His flesh to radiate with the Divine Light; it is but to show, from whence that Light doth descend upon the Saints of God, and how to contemplate it -- since it be written, that even the Saints "will shine forth, like the sun" (Mt. 13: 43), which is to say, entirely permeated by Divine Light as they gaze upon Christ, Divinely and inexpressibly shining forth of His Radiance, issuing forth of His Divine Nature, and on Mount Tabor manifest also in His Flesh, by reason of the Hypostatic Union [i.e. the union of the two perfect natures, Divine and Human, within the Divine Person (Hypostasis) of Christ, the Second Person of the MostHoly Trinity. The Fourth OEcumenical Council at Chalcedon defined this Hypostatic union of Christ's two natures, Divine and Human, as "without mingling, without change, without division, without separation" ("asugkhutos, atreptos, adiairetos, akhoristos")].
We believe, that He manifest within the Transfiguration not some other manner of light, but only that which was concealed beneathe his exterior of flesh. This Light was the Light of the Divine Nature, and as such it was Uncreated and Divine. So also, in the teachings of the theologian-fathers, Jesus Christ was transfigured on the Mount, not taking upon Himself something new nor being changed into something new, nor something which formerly He did not possess. Rather, it was to show His disciples that which He already was, opening their eyes and rendering them from blindness into sight. For do ye not see, that eyes with sight in accord with natural things, would be blind as regards this Light?
And thus, this Light is not a light of the senses, and those contemplating it do not simply see with sensual eyes, but rather they are changed by the power of the Divine Spirit. They were transformed and only in such manner did they see the transformation, transpiring amidst the very assumption of our perishability, with in place of this the deification through union with the Word of God. And thus also She that miraculously conceived and gave birth did recognise, that He born of Her is the Incarnated God. Thus too it was for Simeon, who but only received hold of this Infant into his arms, and the Aged Anna, coming out [from the Jerusalem Temple] for the Meeting -- since it was that the Divine Power did illumine, as through a glass windowpane, giving light for all those having pure eyes of heart.
And why indeed did the Lord, before the beginning of the Transfiguration, choose the foremost of the Apostles and lead them up onto the Mount with Him? Certainly, it was to show them something great and mysteried. What in particular great or mysteried would there be in showing a sensory light, which not merely the chosen-foremost but all the other Apostles already abundantly possessed? Why would they need a transforming of their eyes by the power of the Holy Spirit for a contemplation of this Light, if it [the Light] were merely sensory and created? How could the Glory and the Kingdom of the Father and the Holy Spirit project forth in some sort of sensory light? Indeed, in what sort of like Glory and Kingdom would Christ the Lord come at the end of the ages, when there wouldst not be necessary anything in the air, nor in expanse, nor anything similar, but when, in the words of the Apostle, "so that God will be all in all" (1 Cor. 15: 28), that is to say, will He alter everything for all? If indeed so, then it follows therefore to include -- light. And hence it is clear, that the Light of Tabor was a Divine Light. And the Evangelist John, inspired by Divine Revelation, says clearly, that the future eternal and enduring city will not "require sun or moon to provide it light: for the Glory of God wilt light it, and its luminary will be -- the Lamb" (Apoc. [Rev.] 21: 23). Is it not clear, that he points out here that This [Lamb] is Jesus, -- Who now upon Tabor is Divinely transfigured, and the flesh of Whom doth shine, -- is the luminary manifesting the Glory of Godhood for those ascending the mountain with Him? The Theologian John says likewise about the inhabitants of this city: "they will require light neither from lamps, nor from the light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and there wilt not be night henceforth" (Apoc. [Rev.] 22: 5). But how, we might ask, is there this other light, of which "it be without change and without threat of darkness" (James 1: 17)? What light is there that is constant and unsetting, unless it be the Light of God? Moreover, could Moses and Elias (and particularly the former, who clearly was present only in spirit, and not in flesh [Elias having ascended bodily to Heaven on the fiery chariot]) be shining amidst any sort of sensory light, and be seen and known? Especially since it was written about them: "they appeared in Glory, and they spoke about His demise, which would come about at Jerusalem" Lk. 9: 30-31). And how otherwise could the Apostles recognise those whom they had never seen before, unless through the mysteried power of the Divine Light, opening their mental eyes?
But let us not fatigue out our attention with the furthermost interpretations of the words of the Gospel. We shall believe thus, as those same ones have taught us, who themselves were enlightened by the Lord Himself, insofar as they alone know this well: the mysteries of God, in the words of a prophet, are known to God alone and His perpetual proximity. Let us, considering the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord in accord with their teaching, ourselves strive to be illumined by this Light and encourage in ourselves love and striving towards the Unfading Glory and Beauty, purifying the spiritual eyes of worldly thoughts and refraining from perishable and quickly-passing delights and beauty, which darken the garb of the soul and lead to the fire of Gehenna and everlasting darkness, of which let us be freed by the illumination and knowledge of the Incorporeal and Perpetually-Extant Light of our Saviour transfigured on Tabor, in His Glory, and of His Father from all-eternity, and Life-Creating Spirit, of Whom be One Radiance, One Godhead, and Glory, and Kingdom, and Power now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
[Trans. Note Concerning the word "Transfiguration": In the opinion of this translator, the Slavonic word for Transfiguration, "Preobrazhenie", is theologically more accurate and profound a term than the original Greek word "Metamorphosis" (or Latin "Transfiguratio"), which in English useage has assumed a religiously neutral and scientific connotation; culturally even the lurid short story "Metamorphosis" of F. Kafka stifflingly depicts God-bereft worldly efforts at metamorphosis, i.e. a negative metamorphosis. Our English word derives obviously from the Latin. A further theological irony is a point strongly made above in the tract by Saint Gregory Palamas: it is not the Lord that was metamorphosised into something other or new, but rather the Apostles. Words in Latin and Greek tend to shift in their appropriated meaning over the course of millennia, and probably here too. The Slavonic term "Pre-Obrazhenie" would linguistically seem to suggest rendering as the "Primordial-Eternal-Image" of Christ as expressed in His Prayer to the Father: "And now, Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine Own Self with the Glory which I had with Thee before the world ever existed" (Jn. 17: 5). Thus at the Transfiguration the Lord was manifest in the fulness of His Divine Glory, which He had together with the Father in eternity, before the very creation of the world, (sic) His Eternal Image and Glory.
Saint Gregory Palamas in his tract repetitively, again and again, returns to the point of stressing the uncreatedness of the Transfiguration's Divine Light, to the exclusion of much else. Why? It seems likely to be from his well-honed defense of the Hesychiast Fathers against the theology of the Calabrian Scholastic monk Barlaam, for whom the Light of Tabor would seem to have been a "created energy" rather than of the Divine Essence of God.
THE PROLOGUE FROM ORCHID:
1. THE TRANSFIGURATION 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 Savior.
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).
To contemplate the Providence of God, which rewarded the virtue of Ruth and Boaz (The Book of Ruth):
1. How Ruth, being left a widow, remained faithful to Naomi, her aged mother-in-law and, by her labors, fed both, Naomi and herself;
2. How the wealthy Boaz was merciful and helped these two poor women;
3. How Boaz and Ruth entered into marriage from whom was born Obed, the father of Jesse, who was the father of David.
About the exaltation of the Church of God
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow into it" (Isaiah 2:2).
This prophecy pertains to the Church of Christ. However much of this prophecy could seem to be mysterious to the Jews before Christ, so much more is it completely clear for us today. Mountain or height: the house of the Lord is truly established "in the top of the mountains", i.e., in the heights of the heavens, for the Church of Christ, first, is not sustained by the earth but rather by the heavens and finally, one part of the members of the Church (and now, a greater part) is to be found in heaven, while the other part is still on earth.
Further, the Church of Christ is "exalted above the hills", i.e., above all earthly and human greatness. Human philosophy and art and all the cultures of people as well as all earthly values represent only the low hills in comparison to the infinite heights of Christ's Church. For it was not difficult for the Church to create all of those hills, while neither one of them, nor all of them together, in the course of many thousands of years, was able to create the Church.
Finally, the prophet says: "all nations shall flow into it." To what, truly, up to now, have all the nations flowed if not into the Church of Christ? The Temple of Jerusalem was inexcessible to the Gentiles under the penalty of death. The Church, however, from the beginning called all nations on earth, obedient to the command of the Lord: "Go ye therefore and teach all nations" (St. Matthew 28:19).
This is the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amos, a vision from afar, a vision truthful and wonderful.
O Wonderful Lord, we give You unceasing thanks that You have made us worthy to be the children of Your Holy and True Church that is exalted above all the worldly heights.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.