August 06, 2003

The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Feast of the Transfiguration is one of the great feasts of the Orthodox Church. It has been celebrated since the 4th century in the East.

The Transfiguration didnít make a lot of sense to before I was Orthodox. This may be why it wasn't really celebrated in the West until the ninth century by monastics and wasn't observed generally until 1456. Conversely, in the Armenian Church it is a three-day feast.

The importance of the the Transfiguration is at least three-fold.

First, it is a theophany. It reveals God to us and that Jesus is Himself God. The voice of the Father from heaven proclaims this. It confirms the Triune nature of God.

The Transfiguration is the demonstration in the Gospels of the Orthodox understanding of salvation. It is theosis observed. Jesus, fully human and unresurrected, allows the three Holy Apostles of the "inner circle" to see what the divine energies look like.

It also demonstrates to us the validity of saints appearing on the earth. Before I was Orthodox, I always though appearance of the Theotokos and various other saints was just a bit o' weirdness. But here we have two people who have been gone from the earth for a long time and they show up on the mountain. They are also immediately recognised by the disciples.

Happy Feast!

Posted by david at August 6, 2003 09:02 PM | TrackBack