“This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus is transfigured upon a mountain (Mount Tabor) (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus became radiant, spoke with Moses and Elijah, and was called “Son” by God. It is one of the epiphanies of Jesus in the Gospels.
According to the Gospels, Peter, James, son of Zebedee and John the Apostle were with Jesus upon the mountain. The transfiguration put Jesus above Moses and Elijah, the two preeminent figures of Judaism. It also supports his identity as the Son of God. In keeping with the Messianic secret, Jesus tells the witnesses not to tell others what they saw until he has risen on the third day after his death on the cross.
The principal account is that in the Synoptic Gospels; 2 Peter and the Gospel of John may also briefly allude to the event (2 Peter 1:16-18, John 1:14). Peter describes himself as an eyewitness “of his sovereign majesty.” None of the accounts identifies the “high mountain” of the scene by the name. The earliest identification of the mountain as Mount Tabor is in the 5th century.
The smaller of the two churches or temples, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ Temple. The Transfiguration of Christ, a feast day celebrated on August 6 and commemorates the revealing of Christ’s divine glory to the apostles on Mount Tabor (Matthew 17:1-8). A sacred icon of the feast is pictured on the upper west wall of the nave. This small church was designed by Brother Marc and built by the monks labor in 1970. Bill Dvorestsky brought earth- moving equipment from New Jersey to prepare sufficient, flat ground on which to build. His generosity for this and other future projects was an enormous gift to the monastery. The temple has a rough-hewn exterior topped by distinctive gold cupolas or “onion” domes. The floor inside is covered with green slate from nearby quarries, and the walls and pillars are covered with cedar and ash.
The upper interior of the nave is adorned with icons, murals painted by Constantine Yousis. On the east wall above the rounded apse (the church faces east) is an icon of Christ giving holy communion to the apostles at the Last Supper. In the apse, behind the altar, is the life-size icon of Christ enthroned. The wood carving of the iconstasis or altar screen was done by a Serbian craftsman Paul Mozes.
To the right of the holy doors leading to the altar area stand the icons of John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and Nil of Sora (a fifteenth-century monk of the Volga). On the left are icons of Christ’s mother Mary, Sergius of Radonezh (near Moscow), and St. Herman of Alaska (the eighteenth-century missionary to the Aleuts). With the Christ in the apse, these icons form a traditional Deisis arrangement. The temple is always open to visitors and our guests.
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