Apse, St. Katharine's Monastery, Sinai.  ca. 550.

 

Novgorod Icon, 15th C.


 

[1]   MARK 9 (The Lord’s Transfiguration)

 

 

Ravenna, St. Appolinare, 6th cent.

St. Kath. Sinai, 6th cent.

2 AND after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, 3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Καὶ μετὰ ἡμέρας ἓξ παραλαμβάνει ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τὸν Ἰάκωβον καὶ τὸν Ἰωάννην͵ καὶ ἀναφέρει αὐτοὺς εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν κατ΄ ἰδίαν μόνους. καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν͵ 3 καὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο στίλβοντα λευκὰ λίαν οἷα γναφεὺς ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς οὐ δύναται οὕτως λευκᾶναι.
4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. 4 καὶ ὤφθη αὐτοῖς Ἠλίας σὺν Μωϋσεῖ͵ καὶ ἦσαν συλλαλοῦντες τῷ Ἰησοῦ.
 5 And Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid.  5 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος λέγει τῷ Ἰησοῦ͵ Ραββί͵ καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι͵ καὶ ποιήσωμεν τρεῖς σκηνάς͵ σοὶ μίαν καὶ Μωϋσεῖ μίαν καὶ Ἠλίᾳ μίαν. 6 οὐ γὰρ ᾔδει τί ἀποκριθῇ͵ ἔκφοβοι γὰρ ἐγένοντο.

7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.

7 καὶ ἐγένετο νεφέλη ἐπισκιάζουσα αὐτοῖς͵ καὶ ἐγένετο φωνὴ ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης͵ Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός͵ ἀκούετε αὐτοῦ. 8 ῃ καὶ ἐξάπινα περιβλεψάμενοι οὐκέτι οὐδένα εἶδον ἀλλὰ τὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον μεθ΄ ἑαυτῶν.

 

Vezelay, Tympanon, 1125

 

 Duccio, 1308

Fra Angelico 1440

 

 

 Russian Icon, 1400

Med. Illum.

 

 

 Perugino, 1498

Paris Brev., 1414

 

 

Raphael, 1518

 

 

 

 

 

 

[2]   LUKE 9, 20-36 (The Lord’s Transfiguration)

 

 

20 AND he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”   9.20 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς͵ Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι; Πέτρος δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν͵ Τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ.
21 But he charged and commanded them to tell this to no one,  22 saying, “The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” 21 Ὁ δὲ ἐπιτιμήσας αὐτοῖς παρήγγειλεν μηδενὶ λέγειν τοῦτο͵ 22 εἰπὼν ὅτι Δεῖ τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πολλὰ παθεῖν καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆναι.
 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  24 For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.   23 Ἔλεγεν δὲ πρὸς πάντας͵ Εἴ τις θέλει ὀπίσω μου ἔρχεσθαι͵ ἀρνησάσθω ἑαυτὸν καὶ ἀράτω τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ καθ΄ ἡμέραν͵ καὶ ἀκολουθείτω μοι. 24 ὃς γὰρ ἂν θέλῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ σῶσαι͵ ἀπολέσει αὐτήν· ὃς δ΄ ἂν ἀπολέσῃ τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ͵ οὗτος σώσει αὐτήν. 25 τί γὰρ ὠφελεῖται ἄνθρωπος κερδήσας τὸν κόσμον ὅλον ἑαυτὸν δὲ ἀπολέσας ἢ ζημιω θείς; 26 ὃς γὰρ ἂν ἐπαισχυνθῇ με καὶ τοὺς ἐμοὺς λόγους͵ τοῦτον ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπαισχυνθήσεται͵ ὅταν ἔλθῃ ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τῶν ἁγίων ἀγγέλων.
27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” 27 λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ἀληθῶς͵ εἰσίν τινες τῶν αὐτοῦ ἑστηκότων οἳ οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου ἕως ἂν ἴδωσιν τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ.
28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.  29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. 28 Ἐγένετο δὲ μετὰ τοὺς λόγους τούτους ὡσεὶ ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ [καὶ] παραλαβὼν Πέτρον καὶ Ἰωάννην καὶ Ἰάκω βον ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ ὄρος προσεύξασθαι. 29 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ προσεύχεσθαι αὐτὸν τὸ εἶδος τοῦ προσώπου αὐτοῦ ἕτερον καὶ ὁ ἱματισμὸς αὐτοῦ λευκὸς ἐξαστράπτων.
30 And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah,  31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. 30 καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνδρες δύο συνελάλουν αὐτῷ͵ οἵτινες ἦσαν Μωϋσῆς καὶ Ἠλίας͵ 31 οἳ ὀφθέντες ἐν δόξῃ ἔλεγον τὴν ἔξοδον αὐτοῦ ἣν ἤμελλεν πληροῦν ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ.
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.  33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” -- not knowing what he said.

 32 ὁ δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ ἦσαν βεβαρημένοι ὕπνῳ· διαγρηγορήσαντες δὲ εἶδον τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοὺς δύο ἄνδρας τοὺς συνεστῶτας αὐτῷ. 33 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ διαχωρίζεσθαι αὐτοὺς ἀπ΄ αὐτοῦ εἶπεν ὁ Πέτρος πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν͵ Ἐπιστάτα͵ καλόν ἐστιν ἡμᾶς ὧδε εἶναι͵ καὶ ποιήσωμεν σκηνὰς τρεῖς͵ μίαν σοὶ καὶ μίαν Μωϋσεῖ καὶ μίαν Ἠλίᾳ͵ μὴ εἰδὼς ὃ λέγει.

34 As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.  35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” 34 ταῦτα δὲ αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ἐγένετο νεφέλη καὶ ἐπεσκίαζεν αὐτούς· ἐφοβήθησαν δὲ ἐν τῷ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν νεφέλην. 35 καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῆς νεφέλης λέγουσα͵ Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἐκλελεγμένος͵ αὐτοῦ ἀκούετε.
36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. 36 καὶ ἐν τῷ γενέσθαι τὴν φωνὴν εὑρέθη Ἰησοῦς μόνος. καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐσίγησαν καὶ οὐδενὶ ἀπήγγειλαν ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις οὐδὲν ὧν ἑώρακαν.

 

 

 

[2]   2COR. 3:12-18 (Our Transfiguration)

 

 

12 SINCE we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.  Ἔχοντες οὖν τοιαύτην ἐλπίδα πολλῇ παρρησίᾳ χρώμεθα͵ 13 καὶ οὐ καθάπερ Μωϋσῆς ἐτίθει κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ͵ πρὸς τὸ μὴ ἀτενίσαι τοὺς υἱοὺς Ἰσραὴλ εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῦ καταργουμένου. 14 ἀλλὰ ἐπω ρώθη τὰ νοήματα αὐτῶν. ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς δια θήκης μένει μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμενον͵ ὅτι ἐν Χριστῷ κα ταργεῖται·
15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 15 ἀλλ΄ ἕως σήμερον ἡνίκα ἂν ἀναγινώσκη ται Μωϋσῆς κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν κεῖται· 16 ἡνίκα δὲ ἐὰν ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς κύριον͵ περιαιρεῖται τὸ κάλυμμα.ῃ

17 NOW the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed [transfigured] into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

 17 ὁ δὲ κύριος τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν· οὗ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα κυρίου͵ ἐλευθερία. 18 ἡμεῖς δὲ πάντες ἀνακεκα λυμμένῳ προσώπῳ τὴν δόξαν κυρίου κατοπτριζόμενοι τὴν αὐτὴν εἰκόνα μεταμορφούμεθα ἀπὸ δόξης εἰς δόξαν͵ καθάπερ ἀπὸ κυρίου πνεύματος.

 

LITURGICAL TEXTS of the ROMAN LITURGY

 

SECOND READING

2 Pt 1:16-19

We ourselves heard his voice come from heaven.

A reading from the second Letter of Saint Peter

 

Beloved:

We did not follow cleverly devised myths

when we made known to you

the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.

For he received honor and glory from God the Father

when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory,

“This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven

while we were with him on the holy mountain.

Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.

You will do well to be attentive to it,

as to a lamp shining in a dark place,

until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

 

ANTIPHON

Cf. Mt 17: 5

 

In a resplendent cloud the Holy Spirit appeared.

The Father’s voice was heard: This is my Beloved Son,

with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.

In splendénti nube Spíritus Sanctus visus est, patérna vox audíta est: Hic est Fílius meus diléctus, in quo mihi bene complácui: ipsum audíte.

The Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is said.

________________________________________

COLLECT

O God, who in the glorious Transfiguration

of your Only Begotten Son

confirmed the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers

and wonderfully prefigured our full adoption to sonship,

grant, we pray, to your servants,

that, listening to the voice of your Beloved Son,

we may merit to be co-heirs with him.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

Deus, qui fídei sacraménta in Unigéniti tui gloriósa Transfiguratióne patrum testimónio roborásti, et adoptiónem filiórum perféctam mirabíliter praesignásti, concéde nobis fámulis tuis, ut, ipsíus dilécti Fílii tui vocem audiéntes, eiúsdem coherédes éffici mereámur. Qui tecum.

 

Preface of the Transfiguration:

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,

through Christ our Lord.

 

For he revealed his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses

and filled with the greatest splendor that bodily form

which he shares with all humanity,

that the scandal of the Cross

might be removed from the hearts of his disciples

and that he might show

how in the body of the whole Church is to be fulfilled

what so wonderfully shone forth first in its Head.

 

And so, with the Powers of heaven,

we worship you constantly on earth,

and before your majesty

without end we acclaim:

Vere dignum et iustum est, æquum et salútare, nos tibi semper et ubíque grátias ágere: Dómine, sancte Pater, omnípotens ætérne Deus: per Christum Dóminum nostrum.

Qui coram eléctis téstibus suam glóriam revelávit, et commúnem illam cum céteris córporis formam máximo splendóre pefúdit, ut de córdibus discipulórum crucis scándalum tollerétur, et in totíus Ecclésiæ córpore declaráret impléndum quod eius mirabíliter præfúlsit in cápite.

Et ídeo cum cælórum virtútibus in terris te iúgiter celebrámus, maiestáti tuæ sine fine clamántes:

Prayer over the Gifts

Obláta múnera, quaesumus, Dómine, gloriósa Unigéniti tui Transfiguratióne sanctífica, nosque a peccatórum máculis, splendóribus ipsíus illustratiónis, emúnda. Per Christum.

 

 

Antiphon and Prayer after Communion

ANTIPHON

Cf. 1 Jn 3: 2

 

When Christ appears, we shall be like him,

for we shall see him as he is.

________________________________________

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

May the heavenly nourishment we have received,

O Lord, we pray,

transform us into the likeness of your Son,

whose radiant splendor you willed to make manifest

in his glorious Transfiguration.

Through Christ our Lord.

Cum Christus apparúerit, símiles ei érimus, quóniam vidébimus eum sícuti est.

________________________________________

POST COMMUNIONEM

Caeléstia, quaesumus, Dómine, aliménta quae súmpsimus in eius nos transfórment imáginem, cuius claritátem gloriósa Transfiguratióne manifestáre voluísti. Qui vivit et regnat in saecula saeculórum.

 

 

 

 

THE OFFICE of READINGS

First Reading

2 Corinthians 3:7-4:6 ©

If the administering of death, in the written letters engraved on stones, was accompanied by such a brightness that the Israelites could not bear looking at the face of Moses, though it was a brightness that faded, then how much greater will be the brightness that surrounds the administering of the Spirit! For if there was any splendour in administering condemnation, there must be very much greater splendour in administering justification. In fact, compared with this greater splendour, the thing that used to have such splendour now seems to have none; and if what was so temporary had any splendour, there must be much more in what is going to last for ever.

Having this hope, we can be quite confident; not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not notice the ending of what had to fade. And anyway, their minds had been dulled; indeed, to this very day, that same veil is still there when the old covenant is being read, a veil never lifted, since Christ alone can remove it. Yes, even today, whenever Moses is read, the veil is over their minds. It will not be removed until they turn to the Lord. Now this Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit.

Since we have by an act of mercy been entrusted with this work of administration, there is no weakening on our part. On the contrary, we will have none of the reticence of those who are ashamed, no deceitfulness or watering down the word of God; but the way we commend ourselves to every human being with a conscience is by stating the truth openly in the sight of God. If our gospel does not penetrate the veil, then the veil is on those who are not on the way to salvation; the unbelievers whose minds the god of this world has blinded, to stop them seeing the light shed by the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For it is not ourselves that we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. It is the same God that said, ‘Let there be light shining out of darkness’, who has shone in our minds to radiate the light of the knowledge of God’s glory, the glory on the face of Christ.

 

________________________________________

Second Reading

From a sermon on the transfiguration of the Lord by Anastasius of Sinai, bishop

Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. It was as if he said to them: “As time goes by you may be in danger of losing your faith. To save you from this I tell you now that some standing here listening to me will not taste death until they have seen the Son of Man coming in the glory of his Father.” Moreover, in order to assure us that Christ could command such power when he wished, the evangelist continues: Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. There, before their eyes, he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah appear, and they were talking to Jesus.

These are the divine wonders we celebrate today; this is the saving revelation given us upon the mountain; this is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express. Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and – I speak boldly – it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into his own likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of.

Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures and turn to the creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed: Lord, it is good for us to be here.

It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honour could we have than to be with God, to be made like him and to live in his light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house. With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.


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