The Feast Day of the Holy Transfiguration (Metamorphosis) of Christ (Part II)

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,

by His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, HIEROTHEOS

The holy Disciples of Christ were granted to see the deification (theosis) of the human nature of Christ, precisely because they themselves were transfigured. The Holy Fathers speak of a change in the Disciples. "They were changed, and so they saw the change" (Saint Gregory Palamas). This means that there was a change, a Transfiguration of Christ, but this became known because there was also a change, a transfiguration of the Disciples.

The transfiguration of the holy Disciples took place in their whole psychosomatic (soul and body) being. The holy Disciples did not see the Divine Light only with their nous, which is the eye of the soul, but also with those bodily senses which had previously been empowered by the Uncreated energy of God and transfigured in order to see it. The bodily eyes are blind to God's Light, since man's eyes are created and cannot see the Uncreated Light. This is why they were changed by God's action and granted to see the glory of God (Saint Gregory Palamas).

Christ went up to Mt. Tabor in order to show the Glory of His Divinity. This could also have taken place on a plain in a remote place. But why did He prefer the mountain?

In early times all the great events usually took place on a higher place, on high and low mountains, just as the pagans also used to do, who performed their sacrifices on the mountains. Christ showed the magnitude of His Glory on Mt. Tabor, for the manifestation of the deification (theosis) of human nature is the greatest even in the history of mankind.

Then, as Christ said, He came to seek the sheep that had gone astray, which was lost on the mountain. So Christ went up on the mountain to show that He had found the sheep that had gone astray and freed it from sin and the devil, that he was the True Shepherd of men (Saint Gregory Palamas).

Again, His going up on the mountain shows that all who want to see the glory of the Divinity in the human nature of the Logos/Word must come out of lowness, leave the low things and go up high, that is to say they must be purified of all the earthly things that keep them bound to the earth...

"...Christ's Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor took place after a proclamation by Christ. "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God present with power" (St. Mark 9:1). And at once the Evangelist describes the event of the Transfiguration which happened six days later, for, as we see in the Gospels, no other event was placed between them, neither teaching nor miracle. This means that these days between Christ's word and His Transfiguration were spent in silence.

People say many things about what the Kingdom of God is. Some identify the Kingdom of God with the will of God prevailing throughout the world, others with the future blessedness of the righteous. However, the connection of the Kingdom of God with the Transfiguration of Christ indicates that the Kingdom of God is the vision of the Uncreated grace and glory of the Trinitarian God in the human nature of the Logos/Word, and is indeed the deification (theosis) of man.

On this point Saint Gregory Palamas makes excellent observations. He teaches that the Kingdom of God is closely connected with the King, Who is God. In Christ the Divine united with the human nature. The glory of the Deity deified and illumined human nature. Therefore, wherever Christ was, there was the Kingdom as well. A king cannot be understood without a kingdom, nor a kingdom without a king. Thus the Kingdom of God cannot be understood without Christ the King.

In what He says Christ connects the Kingdom with vision: "till they see the Kingdom of God." It is a matter of seeing the Uncreated Light. The word 'come' does not mean that the Kingdom is coming from somewhere else, but it points to its being manifested, because wherever Christ is, the Kingdom is, for it is not a matter of any location, but of a manifestation. And this manifestation-revelation happens through the energy of the All-Holy Spirit. It points to the "with power". Man cannot see the glory of God unless his psychosomatic (soul and body) senses are empowered by the Uncreated energy of God.

The Church and the Divine Eucharist can be called the Kingdom of God, if those who live in it attain the vision of the Uncreated glory of God, which is the real Kingdom. If we speak of the Church and the Kingdom of God and not link them with seeing God, the vision of the Uncreated Light, we are making a theological error. Moreover, the Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church manifest the Kingdom of God and guide man to it, precisely because they are very closely connected with the purifying, illuminating and deifyng (theosis) energy of God.

(To be continued)


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostomos


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George