The Transfigured Beauty of the Crucified God

On the Mountain Thou wast Transfigured, O Christ God,
And Thy disciples beheld Thy glory as far as they could see it;
So that when they would behold Thee crucified,
They would understand that Thy suffering was voluntary,
And would proclaim to the world,
That Thou art truly the Radiance of the Father!
Kontakion of the Feast of Transfiguration

It is inevitably the case that no matter how much a man may write and offer meditations on Theology – the feasts of the Church overtake you and say with an elegance transcending human ability what you have struggled to speak otherwise. In the feast of the Transfiguration, celebrated  August 6, following the revelation of Scripture, Christ the Beautiful and Christ the Crucified are presented in a single figure. The transfigured Christ is seen in His glory by His disciples “as far as they could see it” (there is only so much the human eye can bear). But this glory is revealed so that when they see Him crucified “they would understand that it was voluntary,” that is, they would understand that the crucifixion is nothing other than the love of God. The Crucified God is the Beautiful God Who has entered into suffering freely on our behalf. Our words may say this, but they cannot speak with the eloquence of the Word Who was both transfigured and crucified.

O Christ, Thou art truly the Radiance of the Father!

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





9 responses to “The Transfigured Beauty of the Crucified God”

  1. yannis Avatar

    The glory of the uncreated light, is the suffering of the cross (and vice versa); a propos i would like to chare this talk on the Tranfiguration(+his grace’s jokes) by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diocleia, in 4 parts:

  2. fatherstephen Avatar

    I highly recommend this series of lectures. By strange coincidence, I was in attendance when these talks were given (mid-90’s), though I was not yet Orthodox.

  3. yannis Avatar

    At once funny and fiting F. Stephen.

  4. […] a comment » A timely post given the occasion that is recalled […]

  5. Lucian Avatar

    Shameless self-promotion:

  6. Mary Avatar

    Joyous Feast to you, Father!

  7. Durk Avatar

    Any rumors that we all might be on the same calendar someday, so that we can all celebrate the feast together? In my area, there are new and old calendar churches (Greek Archdiocese and MP), and they celebrate on different dates. Doesn’t seem to speak much for holistic Orthodoxy.

  8. fatherstephen Avatar

    Actually it speaks volumes about Orthodoxy and the nature of its wholeness. This kind of thing could not happen with centrally controlled authoritarian structures. Orthodoxy is a communion – in which we sometimes have to work slowly through difficult points. The present calendar issue only dates back to the 1920’s. And it has been impossible to actually discuss it in freedom since sometime in the 1990’s. I do not know if the subject will be part of the preparations for a great and holy council (that is being planned), but it can probably and correctly only be treated in such a context, and even then only with an abundance of love and humility. And that is the nature of Orthodoxy. Without love and humility, Orthodoxy doesn’t work (just like the Bible says).

  9. Durk Avatar

    Hi, Fr. Stephen, Bless!

    Great answer, thank you — very insightful.


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