August 6, 2023

Homily One on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

This year the Feast of the Transfiguration fell on a Sunday. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection of Christ, but also the light of the Transfiguration of Christ is the light of Christ's divinity, it is the light of the Resurrection, and the light of the Kingdom of Heaven.

On Mount Tabor Christ was transfigured before His disciples, He showed the beauty of His divinity, as much as the disciples could bear, and at the same time a cloud overshadowed the disciples, which was the presence of the Holy Spirit and through the cloud the voice of the Father was heard, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him" (Mark 8:7).

At the moment when the voice of the Father was heard, it was the greatest degree of Theophany, which is why the disciples fell to the ground. The Evangelist Matthew informs us: "And when the disciples heard this, they fell upon their faces and were sorely afraid" (Matt. 17:6). Then it was necessary for Christ to approach them, to touch them and to say to them: "Stand up and do not be afraid" (Matt. 17:7).

What we observe here is that the disciples saw the divine light, which came from the Body of Christ, they saw the bright cloud, which was the presence of the Holy Spirit, and they heard the voice of the Father, which also, according to the teaching of our holy fathers, was the energy of God, just as the light was. We have the appearance of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity. Thus, as it is written in the sacred hymnography, "The Father is light, the Word is light, and the Holy Spirit is light." And hearing the voice of the Father is light.

It is known that no man has seen the Father. Philip, who asked Christ to reveal the Father to them, heard Christ say to him: "He who has seen Me has seen the Father, so how do you say, show us the Father?" (John 14:9). The Father is seen in the Son, because the Son is consubstantial with the Father, and because the energy of the Triune God is common.

What must be emphasized here is that the Father, according to the greatest degree of Theophany, instructed the disciples to listen to Christ. "Listen to Him," He told them. One listens to Christ, when he applies His word, when he keeps His commandments, when he applies everything He said. This means that the way of our own transformation is the application of Christ's commandments. It is not about our compliance with some general commandments, but about keeping the commandments of God which are the commandments of salvation. For example, Christ at the Secret Supper said to His disciples: "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Lk. 22:20). This means that the performance of the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist and our participation in this great mystery, is an application of God's command. The same happens in other cases.

However, the Father's exhortation to the disciples "listen to Him", also refers to the Church, because the Church is not something independent of Christ, but is His blessed and sanctified Body. Thus, the Father commanded, as expressed during the revelation on Mount Tabor, that we also listen to and obey the Church. Of course, when we speak of obedience to the Church we mean obedience to the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Fathers, the Saints and in general all the Saints who accepted in their lives the personal revelation of God and to the blessed institution of the Church which is constituted by the Holy Spirit. We must obey the decisions of the Local and Ecumenical Synods, through which the Holy Spirit taught the members of the Churches what to believe and what to do, how to confess their faith and how to experience God in their lives and what they should do to be saved. This is expressed, in a demonstrative way, by the Apostle Paul, when he wrote that Christians must learn "how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).

It is certain that when there are people who claim to obey Christ, but at the same time do not obey the Church, they do not have a Christ-centered ethos, because man cannot live in Christ outside the Church.

Various Christians in our time have many theories and opinions about the Christian life, but what is of great value and importance is to obey Christ, as the Church preserves and preaches Him, because this is the command of the Father.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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