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Feast of the Transfiguration. What Was the Transfiguration of Jesus?

Every year on 6 August, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, which signifies the moment when the Saviour’s apostles on Mount Tabor were convinced that he was not only a prophet of God but his Son. The Feast of the Transfiguration dates back to the beginning of the 4th century when the Holy Empress Helena built a church on Mount Tabor. In documents, the feast begins to be mentioned in the first half of the 5th century and later became widespread with the decision of Pope Calistus III.

The Feast of Transfiguration is the Day of The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ, On Mount Tabor, while Jesus was praying, the apostles, troubled with sleep, suddenly shuddered at a sight never seen before: the Saviour’s face was changed, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes were as white as snow. But immediately they see something even more unusual: in this light, two men are talking to Jesus about his passion and death in Jerusalem. They are the great Old Testament prophets, Moses and Elijah.

The Transfiguration is also called the Obrejenia, which comes from the Slavonic and means transformation, and change. The Greek name of the feast is Metamorphosis (transfiguration). St. Antim Ivirean suggestively calls it the Godly Transfiguration of Christ.

What is the Transfiguration of Christ?

The apostles were given on Tabor to know by grace the divine light that springs from Christ. It was revealed to them that the world would have a new face, a spiritual one. Just as the Son out of love has ennobled the human flesh which He assumed, so will He fill with divine glory all those who unite themselves to Him out of love.

The Transfiguration of Christ is the event that marks that only six days after the events on the road to Caesarea, the most luminous miracle of the period of public activity, the Transfiguration of the Lord took place, as all Synoptics note with great care. Between Peter’s confession and the miracle on Tabor, there is an organic connection, the deity of Jesus, attested by Peter, being confirmed on the holy mountain.

The Transfiguration of Christ is the change of the spiritual and existential perspectives of the Apostles. So the moment on Tabor is primarily for the disciples. Let us not forget that the Father does not address Christ, as he did at the Baptism, where the address is in the second person singular: You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, but to the disciples, in the second person plural: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; this is he whom you must obey.

Read also: What happened on Good Friday? 

Is Transfiguration Day biblical?

The Transfiguration was only a foretaste of the Resurrection, meant to open the eyes of the apostles. And make them participate, without being ashamed, in the frightening drama of their Lord’s crucifixion. That is why, before passing through the night of the Passion. The Saviour allowed his closest disciples to gaze upon his beloved face. Bathed in the ever-faithful light.

According to historians and the Bible, the Day of the Transfiguration of Jesus is biblical. Even the presence of the lawgiver and the prophet at this defining moment attests to the connection between the two historical stages. As well as the fact that Jesus came not to break the law. But to fulfill it. Israel is thus present to the great mystery of Christ’s glorification. In both the two guises that dominated its religious life in the period before the Word came.

The change on the holy mountain is a harbinger and a harbinger of the final transfiguration. Through this miracle, it was shown that the walled nature can be preserved under the action of grace, that it is able to receive divine energies and to clothe itself in light. The Logos then revealed for the first time to the world the ultimate appearance of our human being, transfigured by the radiance of the winter. The hope in the transfiguration of the whole of creation, to be fulfilled at the end of the ages, thus acquired an unshakeable foundation.

Who witnessed the Transfiguration?

The Lord’s Transfiguration took place shortly before His crucifixion. Christ no longer shows Himself in a kenotic way to the disciples, He shows Himself without a wave, to strengthen the disciples when they see Him crucified. The Holy Fathers ordained that this feast should take place in August, the last month of the Church year, so that we may know that in this glory He will come to judge the whole human race.

According to the Bible, the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor was witnessed by Elijah and Moses and the Lord’s apostles. The presence of Moses and Elijah with Christ is also meant to reveal to us that Christ is a distinct person and not a reintroduction of Moses or Elijah as many believed at the time.

Christ revealed Himself, therefore, at that moment in the image of His glory. Anticipating victory over death, when His body would become incorruptible forever. For the time being, the miracle represents a door opened to the world. Beyond and a luminous stop on the way to Son’s return to the right hand of the Father. Only after the Lord has endured the death of the mastiff on Calvary will He regain for eternity. The glory He had with the Father before the foundation of the world.

Why were Moses and Elijah present on Mount Tabor?

The Transfiguration enters beyond time, into the time of winter, of the glory of God. It reveals the purpose of history, which will be the total and definitive transfiguration of the world, “still groaning in the pains of making”. It is the sign of an Easter making the transition to heaven that will become the building in its transfigured state by the grace of the Second Coming.

The Holy Fathers say that Moses and Elijah were present at the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor to have their desire to see the face of God fulfilled. Let us not forget that in their earthly lives they failed to see God’s face, Moses only saw God’s back on Mount Sinai, and Elijah retreated into a cave when God passed by in a wind. They failed to see God’s face because God had not incarnated.

The human change, what will be in the second and fearful coming. With glory showing it, Saviour, You have changed Your face on Mount Tabor. So that the world might come to glory, the Son planted another tree of life: that of love made true – through sacrifice. Which goes from the breaking of the bread to death.

Read also: What happened on Holy Monday? How many times did Jesus heal on the Sabbath?

Key Verse related to Jesus’ Transfiguration

“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 very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.”

2 Peter 1:16-18 (NIV)

Feast of the Transfiguration

Read also: Is Pontius Pilate a saint? Jesus and Pilate’s conversation

What were Moses and Elijah talking about on Tabor?

Remember that in the time of the Apostles there was a false belief in reincarnation among the people. A belief inherited from the Egyptians. For this reason, many people believed Christ to be a reincarnation of Moses or Elijah. Thus, the Saviour appears to the disciples together with Moses and Elijah to show them that He is someone other than Moses and Elijah, but also to reveal to them that He is greater than them. He stands in their midst, which shows His superiority to them.

According to the biblical record, it is shown that Moses and Elijah were talking on Mount Tabor about the Passion of Christ. Which shows that the mystery of redemption, which was the fulfillment of all the foreshadowing and aspirations of the Old Law, was known to them. That is why they awaited the sacrifice of Jesus with fearlessness and humility. Moses, who had not seen God on Sinai. But had only heard his voice, now gazed upon the glorified image of the incarnate God.

From Scripture we learn that only three disciples were present at this revelation of what the Lord had kept hidden. Because men could not face the sight of his Godhead: Peter, James and John. They were granted this wonderful vision because they themselves were changed: The disciples were transformed, and this made them see the transformation.

What is the meaning of the Transfiguration in the Bible?

The feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on August 6. This feast recalls the miracle that took place on Mount Tabor, where Christ reveals His deity through the human nature He assumed.

The mystical significance of the Transfiguration in the Bible is the vision of God and the transfiguration of man. The possibility of his being deified in this life. The people celebrate this feast on 6 August and see it as the beginning of autumn.

The fact that the Evangelist Matthew says of Christ’s image that it was “like the sun”. While Luke, speaking of His garments, mentions that “they were like snow”, reveals to us that the human nature was not absorbed by the divine nature in Christ. For the “snow” was not melted by the “sun” in Him. We are reminded that the human and divine nature in Christ is united in an unmixed. Unchanging, undivided, and inseparable way in Christ.

Transfiguration Traditions and Superstitions

  • Obrejenia or Probejenia, as it is known in traditional folklore, the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration marks the beginning of autumn. From now on, bathing in running water and washing clothes in the river are no longer allowed. Not even animals bathe after this date;
  • Whoever washes clothes on this day will be plagued by lice and bedbugs; Girls who wash on this day will no longer grow hair, just as grass no longer grows;
  • Also on this day, it is good to make up with whoever you are quarreling with, otherwise, you will be scolded all year;
  • It is said that those who do not keep this feast will be dried up and yellowed like the flowers that now begin to wither.
  • On this day it is not good to argue with anyone or to be argued with by anyone, you will be like this all year;

Was the Holy Spirit present at the Transfiguration?

On Mount Tabor, while Jesus was praying, the apostles, troubled with sleep. Suddenly shuddered at a sight they had never seen before: the Saviour’s face was changed, his face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as snow. But immediately they see something even more unusual: in this light, two men are talking to Jesus. About His passion and death in Jerusalem. They are the great Old Testament prophets, Moses and Elijah.

According to apocryphal and biblical sources, the Holy Spirit together with God were present at the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ. This is an event described in the Synoptic Gospels, in which Jesus changes his face on Mount Tabor. Elijah and is called the Son of God. This is one of the miracles of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels. And after six days, Jesus took Peter and James and John his brother with him and led them up a high mountain on one side.

His face was changed before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. And Peter answered and said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you are willing, I will make three booths here: One for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.

Where did the Transfiguration take place?

Not everyone believes that this is exactly where Christ went with His three disciples. There are opinions that the existence of an army fort here would have been some hindrance. In choosing this mountain as the place of the wonderful event. In the time of the Saviour, this hill called a mountain would have been deserted. Which also allowed Him to use it as a place of rest. And prayer at the time of the Transfiguration.

The event in which Jesus had the Transfiguration took place on Mount Tabor. This mountain brings annually, before all eyes, a lesser known miracle than that which takes place at Epiphany. When the Jordan turns back, or at the Resurrection, when the Holy Light descends from heaven. When Christians celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor during the Holy Mass. A bright cloud descends over the Orthodox monastery, which has no characteristics of a normal cloud.

There is even a monastery now located there. The Monastery of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor is a Greek Orthodox monastery. Dedicated to that event in the life of the Saviour. Through which the uncreated light of God was revealed to men. Mount Tabor is the place where “the Old is covered by the New. Humanity by divinity and the Law by grace”. Mount Tabor is one of the principal Holy Places in Israel.

Read also: Is Pontius Pilate a saint? Jesus and Pilate’s conversation

Prayer to say on Transfiguration Day

“Lord Jesus Christ, I pray to You on this day of great celebration. You, who changed Your face in the presence of Your disciples

Peter, James, and John, chosen by You to accompany You to Mount Tabor and showed them

that Your glory can be poured out as an ointment on the world, blessing our daily lives.

At the hour of great celebration, I pray, O Lord Jesus, You who are truly Your Father’s Ray,

send upon me a ray of Your radiant light to guide me in times of sorrow. When my worries choke me,

when I have no more strength in my work when enemies lie in wait for me,

or when sickness unknowingly envelops me. Help me at this turning point in my life

and show me the way that will change the course of my life. So that I will no longer have darkness,

harm, sickness, and the vengeance of enemies gathered around me like a serpentine snake.”

Amen.

Primary Takeaways

  • It is believed that if the weather is sunny and pleasant on the Feast of the Transfiguration, autumn will be fruitful and rich. On the other hand, if it rains, autumn will be dreary.
  • The Feast of the Transfiguration dates back to the early 4th century. When the Holy Empress Helena built a church on Mount Tabor.
  • It is customary on this day to have a general remembrance of the departed (Russian Church). In some areas, grapes are brought to the church on the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration and distributed to the faithful.

Conclusion

The Church celebrates the Lord’s Transfiguration on 6 August, during the Lent of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. But what’s the story and where does the name of one of the greatest feasts for Christians come from? On Mount Tabor, before entering Jerusalem and the moment of the Sacrifice on the Cross. For the redemption of mankind’s sins, Christ revealed Himself. To the Apostles in His true role as true God and true Man. Jesus then took Peter, James and John with him up the mountain. St John Chrysostom points out that this was done. By the Saviour of the world for the strengthening of the Apostles, reports Agerpres.

For this Christ also commanded the most brilliant men of the Old Testament, Moses and Elijah. To appear on Mount Tabor. These two, Moses and Elijah, died thousands of deaths for the command of God. And for the people entrusted to them.