Transfiguration of Christ Our Lord icon (2)

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Orthodox icon the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2). This is a copy of an icon painted by Theophanes the Cretan around 1535, Monastery of Sravronikita Mount Athos.

Celebrated on the 6th of August.

This event is one of the twelve major feast days of the Orthodox Church. It is recounted in the Synoptic Gospels, (Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2 , Luke 9:28 ) In this icon Christ is the center and focus of the image, his hand held in a blessing, eyes directed at us. His clothes are depicted white as light as the Gospel writers describe, and the glory of God overshadowing the scene is shown by the mandorla around his body. From His body, shafts of light are shown radiating out from Christ.

Elijah (2.) and Moses (3.) stand at the top of separate mountain peaks to the left and right of Christ. They are bowing toward Christ with their right hands raised in a gesture of intercession towards Him. Saint John Chrysostom explains the presence of these two fathers of the faith from the Old Testament in three ways. He states that they represent the Law and the Prophets (Moses received the Law from God, and Elijah was a great prophet); they both experienced visions of God (Moses on Mount Sinai and Elijah on Mount Carmel); and they represent the living and the dead (Elijah, the living, because he was taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire, and Moses, the dead, because he did experience death).

Below Christ are the three Apostles, who by their posture in the icon show their response to the transfiguration of Christ (4.). James has fallen over backwards with his hands over his eyes. John in the center has fallen prostrate. Peter is kneeling and raises his right hand toward Christ in a gesture expressing his desire to build the three booths. The garments of the Apostles are in a state of disarray as to indicate the dramatic impact the vision has had on them. This event shows forth the divinity of Christ, so that the disciples would understand after his Ascension that He was truly the radiant splendor of the Father, and that his Passion was voluntary (Mark 9:2-9). It also shows the possibility of our own theosis.