On August 19, the Churches following the Julian calendar celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord. The church is a community of believers. Therefore, the holiday is an important occasion for reflection on the meanings of the day. This is a celebration of biblical origin, and the content of Scripture is inexhaustible. After all, in him God was embodied in the human word.
According to the Gospel, the Lord Jesus ascended the Mountain with the apostles Peter, James, and John, and was transfigured before them. Jesus of Nazareth was accompanied by the prophets Moses and Elijah.
The voice of God and the Father testified that “Goodwill” rests on Jesus. The subsequent revealing of the redemptive mystery showed that God's favor towards people is Jesus Himself.
The event of the Transfiguration is described in the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Mt.17;1-6; Mk.9;1-8; Lk.9:28-36), as well as in the Epistle of Peter (2 Pet.1;17 -18).
In the earthly life of Christ there were manifestations of glory. This includes walking on water, healings, and miracles, and, of course, the resurrection of the dead. However, He Himself remained as if invisible.
Sent by the Father, Jesus actually showed the great art of self-concealment of God, who created this world in freedom without compelling free creation to do good. "Jesus was meek and lowly in heart," says the Gospel (Matthew 11:29). “My unproud God,” Simeon the New Theologian (949–1022) called the Lord. Simultaneously, Jesus became the Self-revelation of the Father. This is the essence of the Christian understanding of being.
The exclusiveness of the Transfiguration is in the manifestation of the glory of God, which was directed at Him. According to the gospel, “Elijah appeared to them with Moses, they talked with Jesus” (Mark 7:4). “From magnificent glory such a voice came to Him: this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” writes the Epistle of Peter (2 Peter 1:17).
The final words of the narrative of the Transfiguration in the Gospel testify to the fact that it is directly connected with the Cross of Christ. The Lord revealed His glory, after which He announced to the Apostles about the coming Suffering. “And as they were descending from the mountain, Jesus rebuked them, saying, tell no one about this vision until the Son of Man has risen from the dead. For the Son of Man will suffer” (cf. Matt. 17; 9.12).
Therefore, it is no coincidence that it is on the fortieth day after the Transfiguration that the Exaltation of the Cross is celebrated. This day is dedicated to the acquisition of the Cross of Christ by St. Helen in 326 in Jerusalem, and its return by Emperor Heraclius in 629 from Persian captivity.
Such historical diachrony is very important in explaining the origin of the holiday.
Both of these events, in their time, symbolized the triumph of Christian statehood in the form of the then existing Roman Empire. This is important to such an extent that the very term "Orthodoxy" has come to denote a confession officially supported by the Christian authorities.
Over time, the historical significance of this holiday has lost its significance, and its ideological content has also changed. The Exaltation became the cross pole of autumn. In its reminder of the Suffering of the Savior, it forms a semantic unity with the Exaltation.
Thus, in the last days of summer, a separate liturgical narrative is created about the Glory of God and the Redemption of Creation. In the likeness of postmodern novels, this little completeness adorns the book of the “Summer of the Lord” with meanings, as the liturgical year is literally called in the language of the Church. Let's remember the name of the great book by Ivan Shmelev (1873-1950)!
The description of the Transfiguration in the Gospel of Mark contains one remarkable detail. Comparing the clothes of the Lord with snow, the Evangelist says that their whiteness was so perfect, as “on earth a bleacher cannot bleach” (Mark 9:3).
Following the Gospel, the mention of whitewash will again meet us on the pages of the Book of Acts. In the name of Jesus, the Apostles performed many miracles, the glory of Christ spread, the Universe was transformed by the Holy Spirit. Once, when Paul began to preach Christ at the Judgment of the Sanhedrin, the high priest ordered those standing in front of him to beat him on the mouth. "God will beat you, whitewashed wall," - Paul's words sounded (Acts 23:1-3).
The snow-white clothes of Christ became a sign of the authenticity of His messianism. White robes, according to the Apocalypse, will become a symbol of humanity transfigured in Christ (Rev. 6:11). This light of truth will be opposed until the end of time by the "whitewashed righteousness" of human religiosity. And as was the case with Paul, she will strike the disciples of Christ on the lips to slow down the Coming of the Lord (2 Thess. 2:6), and to keep the world from transfiguration.