His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH's
Pastoral Message for the Feast of The Transfiguration
“Today hast Thou manifested on Mount Tabor, O Lord, the glory of Thy divine image to the chosen of Thy Disciples, Peter, James and John; for when they saw Thy garments glistening as light, and Thy face surpassing the sun in splendor, and they could no more bear to behold Thine unbearable radiance, they fell to the ground, utterly unable to gaze upon it; and they heard a voice from on high testifying and saying: This is My beloved Son, Who cometh into the world to save man.” (The Idiomelon for the Feast of the Transfiguration from the Vespers of the feast)
We greet you with love and joy on this Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor.
The text above transmits to us the essence of this feast. Whereas our Lord Jesus Christ had previously revealed His divine power through His working of miracles, He now physically reveals “the glory of His divine image” to Peter, James and John on Mount Tabor. The great prophets Moses and Elias appear with deference to the Lord further revealing that the prophets are His servants, and that our Lord Jesus Christ rules as King above all creation.
Our Lord granted this vision to the three Apostles as a way of strengthening them against fear and despair at the time that He was to be arrested and crucified. Likewise, we are strengthened by the sure knowledge that Jesus Christ is God, and that our God is loving, compassionate and merciful. This assurance stands against all of the evil of the world and lifts us up with assurance that His promise of eternal life with Him in paradise can never be compromised or taken away.
The great joy of this feast, occurring in the midst of the Dormition Fast, causes us to pause in brief celebration before we resume the fast which honors the Most Holy Theotokos. We convey our most heartfelt love to you as we celebrate this joyous feast and we ask our gracious Lord to bless you and to grant that the remainder of the Dormition Fast will bring you spiritual rewards.
Yours in Christ,
+ J O S E P H
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America