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Major Orthodox Feasts: The Holy Transfiguration (Transformation) of The Lord


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The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord (Matthew 17:1-8, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 9:28-36)


The Transfiguration of The Lord is an event reported in the New Testament in which Jesus is metamorphosed, or transfigured, and becomes radiant upon a mountain. Jesus, Peter, Jacob, and John climb the Mount of Transfiguration, and Jesus begins shining with bright rays of light. Afterward, prophets Moses and Elijah appear next to him and he speaks with them. A voice in the sky presumably God calls Jesus "Son." In the Gospels, this is considered one of the miracles of Jesus.

The Transfiguration is considered one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox calendar, and falls on August 19 of the Gregorian calendar. Transfiguration falls on the Dormition Fast every year, which is a 2-week fast before the Feast of The Dormition, commemorating the death of the Theotokos. On this day believers are allowed to consume fish, wine, and oil.

In the orthodox tradition, this is not just a day to remember Jesus, but more so the Holy Trinity, God the Father spoke from Heaven, God the Son was being transfigured, and God the Holy Spirit was present in the form of a cloud. Because of this, The Transfiguration of The Lord is sometimes referred to as "the Small Epiphany" (The "Great Epiphany" being that of the baptism of Jesus). This Feast is considered one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the year, and is celebrated by an all-night vigil on the eve of the Feast.

Traditionally, grapes are brought into the church to be blessed after the Divine Liturgy on the day of the feast. In some areas, grapes are hard to come by, so believers bring apples, or some other fruit. This begins the "blessing of the fruits" for the year.

In August, there are 2 other feasts that correspond to the Transfiguration- Procession of the Cross, and Icon of Christ Not Made by Hand. These feasts together are called the "Three feasts of the Savior in August."

In East Orthodox Theology, the Tabor Light that is depicted in art represents the light that was revealed at Mount Tabor at the Transfiguration of Christ and identified with the light seen by Paul at his conversion.

Transfiguration of the Lord is observed on August, 19 (August, 6 Old Style).

Troparion (Tone 7)

You were Transfigured on the Mount, O Christ God,
Revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it.
Let Your everlasting Light shine upon us sinners!
Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Giver of Light, glory to You!


Kontakion (Tone 7)

On the Mountain You were Transfigured, O Christ God,
And Your disciples beheld Your glory as far as they could see it;
So that when they would behold You crucified,
They would understand that Your suffering was voluntary,
And would proclaim to the world,
That You are truly the Radiance of the Father!



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