The Transfiguration of Christ
is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated
on August 6.
Jesus had gone with his disciples Peter, James, and John to Mount Tabor. Christ's appearance was changed while they watched
into a glorious radiant figure. There appeared Elijah and Moses, speaking with Jesus. The disciples were amazed and terribly
This event shows forth the divinity of Christ, so that the disciples would understand after his Ascension that He was truly
the radiant splendor of the Father, and that his Passion was voluntary (Mark 9:2-9). It also shows the possibility of our
This event was the subject of some debates between Gregory Palamas and Barlaam of Calabria. Barlaam believed that the light
shining from Jesus was created light, while Gregory maintained the disciples were given grace to perceive the uncreated light
of God. This supported Gregory's larger argument that although we cannot know God in His essence, we can know Him in
his energies, as He reveals Himself.
Accounts of the Transfiguration are found in the Bible: Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36, and II Peter 1:16-19.
Matthew 17 (New King James Version)
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and
John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2
and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here;
if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly
a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly
afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise,
and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their
eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
Mark 9:2-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John,
and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
4 And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking
with Jesus. 5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi,
it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—
6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly
afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice
came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. 9 Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that
they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead.