Applications must be received by the Department of Evangelization no later than August 31, 2015 to receive consideration. Grants will begin on January 1, 2016.
“Grants of up to $24,000.00 are awarded to first-year recipients,” explained Priest John Parker, Department Chair. “The grant may only be used to help provide a salary for a full-time resident priest and must be matched by the qualifying mission, deanery, or diocese. Grants may be renewed for a maximum of three years.
“More than 30 missions have received Church Planting Grants since the program was initiated over 15 years ago. Most of these missions have successfully transitioned to full parish status,” added Father Parker.
Missions that received grants in 2015 must apply anew for the coming year.
Grant applications must be reviewed and approved by the diocesan bishop before they are submitted. After a review by the Department, recommendations for qualified missions will be submitted to the Holy Synod of Bishops for final approval.
For additional information, please contact Father John Parker at 843-810-9350 or email@example.com.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America, the seminary’s President, will be present.
Patriarch John’s presentation will follow a public academic convocation in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building at 6:00 p.m., during which an honorary doctoral degree will be conferred upon him by the seminary Board of Trustees and Faculty Council. A public reception will follow.
“As Executive Chair of the Board of Trustees of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary,” said Alex Machaskee, “I am extremely pleased that we are conferring an honorary doctorate on His Beatitude John X, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.”
Seminary Dean, Archpriest Dr. John Behr, added, “It is our joy to welcome Patriarch John to our campus, and it is our honor that he is willing to accept a Doctor of Divinity honoris causa from our school.”
In related news, His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon of Boston, New England and the Albanian Archdiocese, at the invitation of His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, attended the Archdiocesan Convention in Boston, MA, at which time he offered fraternal greetings from Metropolitan Tikhon to Patriarch John on the weekend of July 25-26, 2015.
Participants in the 18th All-American Council youth program shared their “Dream for the Church” during the closing Plenary Session on Friday, July 24, 2015.
“We, the youth of the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, have a vision for our Church,” said the older youth participants in a statement to delegates and observers. “We dream of a Church that
exists to promote the Faith first and foremost;
is united as one;
consists of members who know and understand the basic tenets of the Church;
makes the Faith accessible to members of all ages;
welcomes newcomers with open arms;
embraces the diversity of cultures;
experiences growth and avoids stagnancy;
encourages the involvement and participation of all members;
communicates across jurisdictions willingly and often for the furtherance of the Faith;
uses a uniform translation in the English language among all dioceses;
has an active, well-known and central youth program for the betterment of fellowship and expansion of faith among the children and young adults of the Church; and
sees its youth not as the future of the Church, but as the present.
“This is our vision,” their well-received statement concluded. “We challenge you to help us make it a reality!”
A recommendation to establish an OCA youth program, similar to GOYA and SOYO, also was presented by the youth.
Echoing the sentiments expressed by their older peers, the fifth graders spoke of the saints they had studied during the week who “helped expand the Mission of the Church by spreading the Word of God through the building of churches and monasteries; translating the Scriptures and divine services into other languages; living a Christian life, sometimes risking their own lives by doing so; helping others by providing food, shelter, clothing and medical care to those in need; and always relying on God and humbly putting the needs of others before themselves.”
The AAC’s very youngest participants delighted delegates and observers with their presentation of “the road to sainthood” before they sang the troparion to Saint Innocent and “Beneath your compassion.”
The youth and children presented His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon with a backpack of craft supplies and a cross they had decorated with their thumbprints and signatures. He thanked the children and encouraged them “to live a good life as Christians with their families,” to “bring [their] parents to church,” and to “never get discouraged.”
In conjunction with the presentation on the Diocese of the West, His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, noted that the ethnic makeup of the diocese is a reflection of America in general. He then introduced Archpriest David Lowell, who described how the diocese had initiated a program to help fund parish capital improvement programs—a model for the entire OCA and the whole of Orthodox Christianity in America. The Archdiocese of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania’s video presentation traced the Archdiocese’s lengthy history and showcased some of its current outreach ministries.
Other plenary session highlights included
a report on monastic life by Archimandrite Sergius, Abbot of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA. After sharing insights into the life of the monastery, he asked that encouragement be offered to those attempting to understand monasticism or exploring the call to the monastic vocation. Metropolitan Tikhon urged support for the monastic life and invited representatives from the monasteries to share their insights.
A report was made by Archpriest Dr. Steven Voytovich, Dean of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, in which he reflected on the encounter with Christ on the road to Emmaus and compared the response of the apostles to the need to share the Gospel—as did the apostles. In addition, Father Steven also acknowledged the $300,000 donation given to Saint Tikhon’s Seminary by the members of the Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America. Father Ignatius Gauvain, a graduate of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, spoke about the spiritual formation received at the seminary through the engagement with the monastics at Saint Tikhon’s Monastery.
In the report by Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, he spoke of the centrality of fulfilling the Great Commission. Harrison Russin, presently doing a PhD in Musicology at Duke, spoke of the way in which Saint Vladimir’s Seminary prepared him, both spiritually and academically, to take on PhD work, and the great work the school is doing in preparing the next generation of professors and teachers of theological education. Father Timothy Yates spoke about the Clinical Pastoral Education program at the seminary and the way in which it opens employment opportunities for clergy and lay graduates.
A video presentation from Saint Herman’s Seminary highlighted the school’s importance in the life of the Church in Alaska. In reflecting on the importance of the OCA’s theological schools, His Eminence, Archbishop Michael, Rector of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, said that “this Council has shown that we are no longer a small Church that cannot do great things. We need to take care of the men and women in our seminaries, who will be taking care of us in the future.”
a summary of the work of the OCA Office of History and Archives by Alexis Liberovsky, Archivist. He highlighted the work of the Archives Advisory Committee, which is exploring long-term plans to ensure that the Archives may continue to serve the Church in the years to come. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel commended Mr. Liberovsky for the valuable assistance he offered in the preparation of the Statute revision as well as his work as Archivist.
With regard to the Resolution on Spiritual Abuse brought up at the fourth Plenary Session, it was noted that this serious issue, related to the spiritual health of the clergy, will be taken up by members of the Holy Synod of Bishops.
After the closing prayer, delegates, participants and youth began their journeys home, renewed and refreshed in the Spirit and ready to “put into action” all that they had prayerfully heard, seen, witnessed and learned during their AAC experience. As one senior archpriest commented as he ran to catch the airport shuttle, “on a scale of one to ten, this Council was a fifteen!”
Mission must be both internal and external, said His Beatitude, Metropolitan Onufry of Kyiv and All Ukraine during the formal banquet during the 18th All-American Council on Thursday evening, July 23, 2015. The Holy Spirit, he said, guides us in understanding that mission is “who we are and what we do” and challenges us to be good “examples of holiness.”
Metropolitan Onufry reflected on the ministry of Saint Tikhon, who had served as bishop and later archbishop in North America from 1897 through 1907. He observed how, upon Saint Tikhon’s return to his homeland, it was clear that he had been influenced by his tenure in North America, especially with regard to his commitment to mission and outreach as well as collegiality within the life of the Church. This, in turn, influenced his ministry during his last years—years of certain turmoil and persecution.
Metropolitan Onufry attended the AAC at the invitation of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the Holy Synod of Bishops. He was accompanied by His Grace, Bishop Evsevy of Khotinsk. Also present was His Grace, Bishop John, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA.
Metropolitan Onufry also addressed AAC delegates during the Plenary Session held earlier in the day. He observed that in the Council he sees the result of the mission to North America “because, in the eyes of all who are present at this Council, I see Christ. This is evidence of the good fruit brought fourth as a result of the mission of Saint Herman of Alaska as the Church faces current issues of missionary service in the world and, in particular, in North America and Ukraine.”
In his greetings to the assembly, Metropolitan Tikhon expressed his gratitude to all who participated in the AAC and contributed to the “wonderful events” that had taken place during the week. He emphasized, that “we are each called to be apostles, to love God above all and our neighbor as our selves.”
Greetings were read from His Eminence, Archbishop Leo of Karelia and All Finland, who had been invited to the AAC but was unable to attend. Archbishop Leo extended an invitation to Metropolitan Tikhon to visit the Church of Finland at a future date.
The hierarchs processed into the banquet hall as the assembly sang “O Lord, save Thy People,” Alexis Steffaro sang the national anthems of the United States, Canada and Mexico. A color guard from Boy Scout Troop #287 held flags as the assembly said the Pledge of Allegiance.
With characteristic “Southern humor,” Archpriest Markus Burch, Chancellor of the Diocese of the South and banquet toastmaster, offered opening words of welcome, while Archimandrite Gerasim, Administrator of the Diocese of the South, reflected on the AAC theme in his remarks to the assembly. He also recognized the many individuals who offered their time and talents to make the Council possible. Banquet-goers also enjoyed a video presentation on the AAC theme, “How To Expand The Mission.”
During the banquet, the Order of Saint Innocent was awarded to Dr. Barbara Massoudi and Michaela Staskiewicz, who chaired the Local AAC Committee, for their exemplary work. Gramoti were presented to Deacon Gabriel Aldridge and Gregory Carageorge in recognition of their dedicated labor in producing the video on the Council theme.
The AAC draws to a close on Friday, July 24, with the final Plenary Session.
After the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy early Thursday morning, July 23, 2015, and during the AAC’s fifth Plenary Session, delegates to the 18th All-American Council adopted a resolution expressing the Orthodox Church in America’s solidarity with Christians suffering persecution in the Middle East and calling on governments to do everything possible to ensure their safety.
Presented by Dr. Paul Meyendorff and adopted by acclamation, the text of the resolution reads as follows.
“Whereas recent developments in the Middle East have caused great suffering to Christians in the area, leading to numerous deaths, desperate living conditions and mass movement of refugees, we, gathered at the 18th All-American Council in Atlanta, Georgia, express our solidarity and support for all suffering peoples in the area, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we call on our respective governments to take vigorously all possible political and humanitarian measures to ensure their safety and the survival of Christianity in the lands where it first took hold.”
In a video produced by International Orthodox Christian Charities, introduced by Rada Tierney, the plight of the three million refugees and persons displaced from Syria and the measures being taken by the Patriarchate of Antioch and IOCC to alleviate their suffering were highlighted. In response to a recommendation by Archpriest John Zdinak, delegates spontaneously donated nearly $12,000.00 to assist IOCC in its ongoing ministry in the Middle East.
Earlier, Judge E. R. Lanier, AAC Lay Vice-Chair, opened the plenary session by recognizing the retired clergy in attendance. He also recognized Dr. Constantine Kallaur, who was a member of the OCA delegation that received the Tomos of Autocephaly in Moscow in 1970. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presented a pocket watch to Archpriest Myron D. Manzuk, Minneapolis, MN, in appreciation of his many years of dedicated service as All-American Council Manager.
Archpriest Eric G. Tosi and Priests David Rucker and John Parker described the first-ever OCA Mission School, held in Detroit in the spring of 2015. The highly successful week-long school was entirely supported by a bequest of nearly $1 million received by the OCA. A second Mission School will be offered in a different region in 2016.
Archpriests Antonio Perdomo and Thomas Moore were elected Metropolitan Council clergy representatives for six-year and three-year terms respectively, while Priest Elijah Muller will serve as alternate. Elected as lay representatives for six-year and three-year terms respectively were Matushka Kitty Vitko and Larry Skvir. Michael Strelka will serve as alternate.
Priest Gleb McFatter and Archpriest John Zdinak were elected Pension Board clergy representatives for six-year and three-year terms respectively, while Matushka Mary Buletza Breton and Barry Gluntz were elected as lay representatives for six-year and three-year terms respectively as lay representatives. Michael Mezmar will serve as alternate.
In related news, delegates once again attended their choice of ten different workshops on topics ranging from Clergy Self Help and Parish Finances to Preaching on Campuses and the Use of the Web. The workshops were also offered on Wednesday afternoon to afford participants to attend multiple sessions.
At a reception for current and prospective members of the “Stewards of the Orthodox Church in America,” His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon spoke of the importance of stewardship in the “expanding the Mission” of the Church.
In expressing his gratitude to the many individuals in attendance, Metropolitan Tikhon related the importance of sound stewardship in the Church’s effort to proclaim the Gospel in our time. He especially noted that the videos, produced by each diocese and showcased at AAC plenary sessions, testified eloquently to the many ministries and outreach programs that are occurring throughout the OCA—ministries that, while often unnoticed, are at the very heart of our Mission as Orthodox Christians.
Metropolitan Tikhon also encouraged those who had not yet contributed to the Stewards to prayerfully consider joining the nearly 200 individuals, families and parishes who already had done so since November 2013, when an initial three-week Church-wide “Become a Steward” appeal had been made. [See related story.]
Funds donated by those who responded to the appeal were earmarked to provide direct support to a diverse range of departmental ministries.
“A number of today’s Stewards had donated generously to the Fellowship of Orthodox Stewards, which for many years provided funding for our departments and their ministries,” explained Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “Today’s Stewards are building upon that foundation. Those willing to go ‘over and above’ can surely make a difference in maintaining—and, of even greater importance, expanding—the Church’s much needed ministries.”
Details on the mission of the Stewards of the OCA may be accessed here, where a link may be found by which secure on-line donations may be made. Donations also may be sent to the Stewards of the OCA, PO Box 675, Syosset, NY 11791-0675.
The bulk of the session was devoted to reports on External Affairs, chaplaincies, the Strategic Plan, and the departments of the Orthodox Church in America.
External Affairs and Interchurch Relations. While Protopresbyter Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of the Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations, was unable to be present due to health concerns, delegates watch a video of his report. He outlined the many visits His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon has made since his election as Primate and spoke of the work being done in the inter-Orthodox and ecumenical arenas. Following the report, His Grace, Bishop Alexander and Dr. Paul Meyendorff fielded questions from the floor.
Strategic Planning. Priest John Vitko reported on the work of the Strategic Planning Committee, noting that all ten areas of Church life that had been identified in the Plan. as adopted at the 16th All-American Council in Seattle, WA, have been addressed. He reported that the committee, which has completed its work, will disband.
Military Chaplaincies. Archpriests Theodore Boback and Joseph Gallick reported on the work of the Office of Military and VA Chaplains, emphasizing the important work that chaplains perform on behalf of the Orthodox Christians serving in the armed forces. In particular, Father Gallick recognized those who had served in the United States military during the various wars and conflicts since World War II.
Institutional Chaplaincies. Archpriest Steven Voytovich reported on the work of the Office of Institutional Chaplaincies, which supports the ministries of those clergy and laypeople who serve in hospital and institutional settings.
Reports also were given by the following OCA Departments.
Diocesan presentations continued with videos showcasing the Dioceses of the Midwest and New York and New Jersey and the OCA’s Toledo-based Bulgarian Diocese. His Grace, Bishop Paul of Chicago and the Midwest highlighted a number of ministries and parish initiatives that demonstrate ways to “Expand the Mission.” His Eminence, Archbishop Michael of New York and New Jersey related how parishes and institutions in his diocese are addressing outreach and evangelism on the local level. His Grace, Bishop Alexander of Toledo described the history of the Bulgarian Diocese, adding ways it is making the transition from a narrowly ethnic community to a broader, more inclusive pan-Orthodox community.
While the Resolution on Spiritual Abuse will not be considered until Thursday, July 23, the Chair invited Dr. Jennifer McClure, the resolution’s author, to address the issue as she will be unable to be present for tomorrow’s deliberations.
On Wednesday afternoon, delegates and observers attended their choice of ten different workshops on topics ranging from Clergy Self Help and Parish Finances to Preaching on Campuses and the Use of the Web. The workshops will also be offered on Thursday afternoon to allow participants to participate in multiple sessions.
Wednesday’s schedule will come to an end with a reception for current and potential members of the “Stewards of the OCA,” at which Metropolitan Tikhon will address attendees.
The Address of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon—His Beatitude challenges the assembly to join him “in this ascetical journey to discern and develop our apostolic calling here in North America, through prayer, repentance, and common work for the glory of God.
Plenary Session One includes the opening Service of Prayer, call to order, Preconciliar Commission welcome by Archbishop Mark, welcoming remarks by the Local Committee, Metropolitan Tikhon’s address, the addresses of Fathers John Jillions and Eric Tosi, and questions and answers.
Plenary Session Two features diocesan reports, the Metropolitan Council report, the proposed revised Statute presentation and the resultant vote, nominations procedures, and resolutions.
Plenary Session Three features diocesan reports, the report of Treasurer Melanie Ringa, the Auditor’s report, the Pension Board report, the Financial Resolution and the resultant vote, and resolutions.
Plenary Session Four includes diocesan reports; reports on the Strategic Plan, External Affairs, Military Chaplaincy, Institutional Chaplaincy, and OCA Departments; and resolutions.
Special thanks is due John and Bobby Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio and Priest John Parsells of Orthodox 360 for partnering with the Orthodox Church in America in providing up-to-the-minute AAC coverage.
After Melanie Ringa, OCA Treasurer, delivered her report during the Third Plenary Session at the 18th All-American Council on Tuesday afternoon, July 21, 2015, delegates overwhelmingly passed the proposed Financial Resolution with 451 votes in favor, 14 against, and 17 abstentions.
Ms. Ringa opened her report by reviewing developments in the Orthodox Church in America’s financial picture since the 16th AAC in Seattle, WA in 2011. Much of what she reported was positive, noting that the Honesdale loan had been paid off and that bequests of nearly $1.5 million had been received or were expected in the near future. She also noted that the 2015 budget was substantially the same as that for 2014. This, she noted, was made possible in part due to the fact that His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the OCA’s officers had accepted a 5% decrease in salary at the outset of 2014, adding that “those salaries had not been restored.”
Michael Strelka, Palatine, IL, then presented the report of the Auditing Committee. He noted that recent audits of the Church’s books were so favorable, with the exception of minor issues, that they were, in effect, “contracting the Mission,” which he said is “a good thing.”
Priest Gleb McFatter, Naples, FL, Interim Chair of the OCA’s Pension Board, introduced Pension Administrator Maureen Ahearn, at the outset of the Board’s report. He noted that our pension funds were well-invested and had gained a return of nearly 7%. He also stated with that only 331 eligible clergy and other full-time Church workers currently enrolled, the Board would be working to increase participation.
Other highlights of the session included a video presentation on the Archdiocese of Canada, introduced by His Eminence, Archbishop Irénée, showcasing the life of the archdiocese’s parishes and ministries. In conjunction with a video depicting the life of the Diocese of Mexico, His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo outlined the history of the Church in Mexico and expressed his personal thanks to those who established the Diocese some four decades ago and to those who continue to support it through hard work and prayer. In particular, Bishop Alejo noted the contributions made by His Eminence, the late Archbishop Dmitri and His Grace, the late Bishop José, along with many others. His Eminence, Archbishop Mark reported on measures being taken in the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania to address issues of clergy health. He then introduced Archpriest Nicholas Solak, Stroudsburg, PA, who described the diocese’s recently established Clergy Peer Learning Group program to help clergy deal with the difficulties of ministry in today’s world.
Members of the Statute Revision Task Force—His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel; His Grace, Bishop Daniel; and Archpriest Alexander Rentel and Judge E. R. Lanier—introduced the proposed revisions and outlined the Church-wide process that produced them.
The resolution to adopt the revised Statute was made by Gregory Nescott, Allison Park, PA and seconded by Archpriest Paul Jannakos, Fenton, MI. Archpriest Peter Baktis, Princeton, NJ, the AAC’s clergy Vice-Chair, opened the floor to discussion, after which ballots were cast by the 488 voting delegates.
Other highlights of the session included video presentations from the Dioceses of Alaska and New England and the Albanian Archdiocese.
The Diocese of Alaska video detailed the life and legacy of Matushka Olga Michael, whose sanctity of life has been widely recognized in recent years. His Grace, Bishop David of Sitka and Alaska reported on the ministries undertaken at Saint Herman’s Seminary and throughout the diocese and expressed his appreciation for support received from the Orthodox Christian Mission Center, International Orthodox Christian Charities and the entire OCA in helping the diocese to “expand the Mission.”
His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon of Boston and the Albanian Archdiocese, introduced the video presentation on these dioceses which highlighted various ministries and outreach activities.
A report on the work of the OCA’s Metropolitan Council also was given by Archpriest Dr. Chad Hatfield, Archpriest David Garretson, Dr. Paul Meyendorff and Maureen Jury.
Saint Irene, who was from Cappadocia, flourished in the ninth century. Because of her great beauty and virtue, she was brought to Constantinople as a prospective bride for the young Emperor Michael (842-867); however, as Saint Joannicius the Great foretold, it was God's will that she assume the monastic habit instead. She shone forth in great ascetical labours, and suffered many attacks from the demons; while yet a novice, she attained to the practice of Saint Arsenius the Great, of praying the whole night long with arms stretched out towards Heaven (see May 8). God showed forth great signs and wonders in her, and she became the Abbess of the Convent of Chrysovalantou. She was granted the gift of clairvoyance and knew the thoughts of all that came to her. She appeared in a vision to the king and rebuked him for unjustly imprisoning a nobleman who had been falsely accused. Through a sailor from Patmos to whom he had appeared, Saint John the Evangelist sent her fragrant and wondrous apples from Paradise. She reposed at the age of 103, still retaining the youthful beauty of her countenance. After her repose, marvelous healings beyond number have been wrought by her to the present day.
Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Saint Silas was a companion and fellow labourer of the Apostle Paul: "And Paul chose Silas and departed...and he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches" (Acts 15:40-41). He later became Bishop of Corinth, and reposed in peace. Saint Silvanos became Bishop of Thessalonica, and also reposed in peace. Saint Crescents, whom Saint Paul mentions in his Second Epistle to Timothy(4:10), became Bishop of Chalcedon, and brought many to the Faith. As for him whom the Apostle of the Nations praises as "my well-beloved Epenetus, the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ" (Roman 16:5), he became Bishop of Carthage, and after enduring many afflictions from the idolators, and bringing many of them to Christ, he departed to the Lord.
Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
In Orthodox Christian countries, individuals traditionally celebrate their nameday instead of their birthday. Since Orthodox Christians are usually named after a saint or feast day of the Church, all those having the same name celebrate together on that saint's feast or the particular feast of the Church.All those named after Joseph the Righteous of Arimathea celebrate their nameday on July 31. (show less)
After the First Martyr had been stoned to death (see Dec. 27), Gamaliel, his teacher, encouraged certain of the Christians to go by night and take up the Saint's body and bury it in his field, which was at a distance of some twenty miles from Jerusalem and was called by his name, "Kaphar-gamala," that is, "the field of Gamala," where Gamaliel himself was later buried. About the year 427, a certain pious man called Lucian, who was the parish priest of a church near to that field, received from God a revelation in a dream concerning the place where the First Martyr was buried. He immediately made this known to John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Thus, coming to the place indicated, and digging there, they found a box with the word "Stephen" in Aramaic letters. On opening it, they took these most sacred relics and transferred them to Jerusalem with great honor and in the company of a very great multitude of the faithful.Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Our Lord had spoken to His disciples many times not only concerning His Passion, Cross, and Death, but also concerning the coming persecutions and afflictions that they themselves would endure. Since all these evils were near at hand, but the enjoyment of good things which they hoped to receive in their stead was yet to come, our Savior desired to give them full assurance, evidently and openly, concerning that glory which is prepared for those who endure to the end. Therefore, fulfilling that which He had promised shortly before, that "there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Matt. 16:28), He took His three foremost disciples and ascended Mount Tabor, where He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. Suddenly, together with this dread and marvelous effulgence of light, there appeared those pinnacles of the Prophets, Moses and Elias, who spoke with the Lord Jesus concerning His saving Passion which was about to take place. Standing before Him as reverent servants, they showed that He is the Lord of both the living and the dead, for Moses came forth from Hades, having died many centuries before, and Elias, as it were from heaven, whither he had been taken up while yet alive. After a little while a radiant cloud overshadowed them and out of the cloud they heard that same voice which had been heard at the Jordan at the Baptism of Christ, testifying to the Divinity of Jesus and saying: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17: 5).
Such are the marvels, truly worthy of God, celebrated in this present feast, which is an image and prefiguring of the future state of the righteous, whose splendor the Lord spoke of, saying: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" (Matt. 13:43). It is because of this that the Kontakion of this Feast is said daily (when there is not a great feast) in the Service of the Typica in perpetual commemoration of the glory that will be the lot of the Saints. According to tradition, the Lord's Transfiguration came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion; this is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church