Transfiguration

Transfiguration

Texts

Gregory of Corinth: Epigrams on the Twelve Feasts

Τοὺς τρεῖς μαθητὰς προσλαβὼν ὁ δεσπότης
ὄρους ἀνῆλθεν εἰς βάσεις Θαβωρίου
δεῖξαι θελήσας τὴν ἄφραστον οὐσίαν,
ὡς ἦν ἐφικτὸν τοῖς φοροῦσι σαρκίον.
ἄγει σὺν αὐτοῖς καὶ νόμου τοὺς προκρίτους
ἐκ τῶν νεκάδων, ἐκ πυλῶν οὐρανίων.
εἶτ᾽ ἀγλαὸν φῶς ἀστραπηβόλον μέγα
ἤστραψε τὸ πρόσωπον ἡλίου πλέον,
χιτῶνες ἐξέλαμπον αἴγλην φωσφόρον‧
νεκροὶ μαθηταὶ τῆς ξένης θεωρίας.

The Lord took with Him three disciples
to the base of Mt. Tabor, and climbed;
they wanted Him to show them His
inexpressible nature, as far as mortal flesh
made possible. He led with them also those
elect, by Law, from the dead, from the gates of Heaven.
Then a great, brilliant light, like lightning,
illuminated His face, brighter than the sun,
and His clothes shone forth like daylight,
and the disciples were like the dead from the wonderful sight.Hunger, "Gregorios von Korinth," 646.

Gospel according to St. Matthew 17:1–8

And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: and he was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as the light. And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. And Peter answered, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him." And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only.

Cod. Marc. Gr. 524: Εἰς τὴν μεταμόρφωσιν

Ὀρος, Μωϋσῆς καὶ θεὸς ωῆν ἐνθάδε‧
ὁ δὲ γνόφος ποῦ; συμπαρῆλθε τῷ νόμῳ‧
Χριστὸς δὲ μύσταις καὶ θεόπταις φῶς βρύει.

The mountain, Moses and God are now here;
but where is darkness? It has gone with the Law;
Christ pours forth light to the initiate and the god-seeing.Hörandner, "Epigrams on the Lord's Feasts," 118 and 120.

Commentary

The Transfiguration, celebrated 6 August, is described in the Synoptic Gospels. The episode is a companion to Jesus’ Baptism, where he was acknowledged by God as his son. On the few seals that depict this scene, Jesus appears in the upper center, nimbate, with rays of light emanating from him. Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, are to either side; below are the cowering disciples.

Only nine seals showing the Transfiguration are known. One of these belonged to the archbishop of Tabor and clearly references the fact that his see was the site of the Transfiguration. The other eight all belonged to John Komnenos, nephew of the emperor Alexios I Komnenos. John sponsored the renovation of the monastery of Christ Evergetes in Constantinople; its feast day coincided with the Feast of the Transfiguration.Cotsonis, "Narrative Scenes on Byzantine Lead Seals," 66.

 

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