My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in the Transfigured Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
ON AUGUST 6th
OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES
THE METAMORPHOSIS (TRANSFIGURATION) OF OUR LORD, AND GOD,
AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Feast. Grave Tone
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. Light-bestower, glory to Thee.
Kontakion Hymn. Grave Tone
ON the mount Thou wast transfigured, and Thy disciples, as much
as they could bear, beheld Thy glory, O Christ our God; that when
they should see Thee crucified, they would know Thy Passion to be
willing, and would preach to the world that Thou, in truth, art the
Effulgence of the Father.
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 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" (Matthew 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 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 centuries before, and Elias, as it were from heaven, whither he had been taken up while he was 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 River 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" (Matthew 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" (Matthew 13:43). It is because of this that the Kontakion hymn of the 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 (Metamorphosis) came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion. This is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14th).
"By His Transfiguration, Christ showed not only THE DEIFICATION (THEOSIS) OF HUMAN NATURE, BUT ALSO THE GLORY OF THOSE WHO WILL BE UNITED WITH HIM. Therefore, the even of the Transfiguration is a central point OF THE SOTERIOLOGICAL (SALVIFIC) TEACHING OF THE CHURCH, SINCE IT SHOWS WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MAN’S EXISTENCE."
According to Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, in order for anyone to attain the experience of the glory of his theosis (deification), he must go through PURIFICATION OF HIS HEART. This is why Christ illumines man in accordance WITH THE PURITY OF THE HEART. Saint Gregory the Theologian says characteristically: "Therefore one must first be purified oneself, and then associate oneself with the pure."
The Holy Fathers of the Church, speaking of the Transfiguration of Christ and the partaking of the divine glory, SPEAK OF THE PERSONAL ASCENT ON THE MOUNT OF THE VISION OF GOD. It is the constant cry of the Church: "Make Thine everlasting Light shine forth also upon us sinners." In a related prayer in the first hour, we feel the need to ask Christ: "O Christ, the True Light, which illumines and sanctifieth every man who cometh into the world! Let the Light of Thy countenance be shown upon us, that in it we may behold the Light ineffable." Continual ascent and development, not from the ape to man, but FROM MAN TO GOD.
Saint Maximos the Confessor teaches that Christ is not shown to all the same way. To the beginners, he is shown in the form of a servant, while to those who are ASCENDING THE MOUNTAIN OF THE VISION OF GOD, He is shown "IN THE FORM OF GOD". (Source: The Feasts of the Lord by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos).
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George