St. Peter Newsletter – Transfiguration Vespers and Liturgy (August 5,6)

The Transfiguration of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

The Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Vespers on Friday, August 5 at 6:30pm
Divine Liturgy on Saturday, August 6 at 9:30am

On Friday evening August 5 at 6:30 we celebrate Great Vespers of the Transfiguration. This is to prepare us for the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, August 6 at 9:30am.

What is the Transfiguration?

The transfiguration of Christ is one of the central events recorded in the gospels. Immediately after the Lord was recognized by His apostles as “the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God,” He told them that “He must go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Mt 16). The announcement of Christ’s approaching passion and death was met with indignation by the disciples. And then, after rebuking them, the Lord took Peter, James, and John “up to a high mountain”—by tradition Mount Tabor—and was “transfigured before them.”

The Jewish Festival of Booths was a feast of the dwelling of God with men, and the transfiguration of Christ reveals how this dwelling takes place in and through the Messiah, the Son of God in human flesh. There is little doubt that Christ’s transfiguration took place at the time of the Festival of Booths, and that the celebration of the event in the Christian Church became the New Testamental fulfillment of the Old Testamental feast in a way similar to the feasts of Passover and Pentecost.

In the Transfiguration, the apostles see the glory of the Kingdom of God present in majesty in the person of Christ they see that “in Him, indeed, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” that “in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 1.19, 2.9). They see this before the crucifixion so that in the resurrection they might know Who it is Who has suffered for them, and what it is that this one, Who is God, has prepared for those who love Him. This is what the Church celebrates in the feast of the Transfiguration.

Learn more on the Orthodox Church of America website.