His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord at St George chapel of his patriarchal residence during which he spoke about how God’s glory is conveyed to humans through the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ.
The Transfiguration is the feast of glory and joy, the feast of man’s deification through Jesus Christ, the Patriarch noted August 6.
Sunday the Patriarch of Romania offered his reflections on the eschatological valances of the Transfiguration of the Lord, saying that it is a foretaste of the second coming of Christ at the end of ages and that for this reason the Holy Fathers of the Church established this feast day in the last month of the church year.
This feast has two major meanings the Patriarch noted saying that it is a preparation of the disciples for the mystery of Christ’s death, Resurrection and Ascension into glory. However, it refers to the glory, with which He will come to judge the living and the dead at the end of the world.
Reflecting on the Tabor light mentioned in the Gospel, the Patriarch said that it came forth from the person of Christ and added that the glory of His divine nature was shining through His human nature.
The Saviour’s Transfiguration showed that matter will be inferior to the spirit in the Kingdom of Heaven, and that spiritual light will overwhelm material light. Our Saviour Jesus Christ shows us that He came to earth so that humans may be transfigured, sanctified and deified by grace, the patriarch added.
The patriarch went on to reflect on the end of the church year noting that the three major feasts celebrated in August, namely the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Dormition of the Theotokos and the Beheading of St John the Baptist, point to the end of history and of the universe, to the promise of a new heavens and a new earth.
These three feasts reflect the Saviour’s image as a righteous Judge, with His entreating Mother standing on his right hand, and on his left hand St John the Baptist, the teacher of repentance and the intercessor for those who repented right before death, having no time to show deeds of repentance during their life.
In Orthodox iconography, the patriarch explained, this depiction is called Deesis or the Icon of the Last Judgement.
Recalling St Peter’s words “it is good for us to be here” (Matthew 17:4), His Beatitude pointed to the joy a Christian can experience during the divine services being in communion with Christ.
The patriarch also explained the significance of the three shelters that St Peter wanted to put up on Mount Tabor saying that they are the prefiguration of the interior of the church building, which is divided into three main parts: the sanctuary, the nave, and the narthex.
His Beatitude stressed that the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord is a feast of joy, peace, and quiet, being initially known as a feast of the hesychasts, who were called by St Gregory Palamas as “prophets of the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven”. Because they lived always in prayer they have become bearers of the divine grace the Patriarch added.
Patriarch Daniel ended his homily by recalling the monastic settlement established on Ceahlău Mountain dedicated to the Feast of the Transfiguration. He said that a church dedicated to the Transfiguration of our Lord calls us to a joyous meeting with Christ in the light of prayer, of the fulfilment of His commandments and of the veneration of all the Saints who have struggled to acquire the light, peace and joy of the Kingdom of Heaven unto the glory of the All-Holy Trinity and our salvation.