"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, August 5, 2013

"When You Were Transfigured On the Mount, O Christ our God"

Tonight we prepare to keep vigil for one of the loveliest feasts of the year. The Transfiguration has long remained my favourite feast of the year, perhaps because of its obvious Paschal character--to say nothing of the fact that is so wonderfully captures the "dyophysite" nature of humankind: called to transfiguration ourselves, beholding the glory of Christ as far as we can bear it (as the troparion puts it), we are also at the same time like the apostles: falling down the mountain, our faces half-covered in cowardice and bewilderment. The brilliant luminosity of the icon of this feast, attributed to Theophanes the Greek (at right), captures these dynamics well it seems to me.

Fittingly set for an official release today is a new book from two of the leading patrologists of our time, one Catholic and the other Orthodox: Brian E. Daley, trans. and John Behr, ed. Light on the Mountain: Greek Patristic and Byzantine Homilies on the Transfiguration of the Lord (SVS Press, August 2013), 378pp.

About this collection, which is volume 48 in the SVS series "Popular Patristics," we are told by the publisher:
The episode of the Transfiguration of Jesus plays a key role in the narrative of the Synoptic Gospels. Peter and his fellow Apostles have just acknowledged Jesus to be Israel s long-awaited Messiah, and have been shocked by Jesus immediate prediction of his coming passion and death. Now Peter, James and John are allowed to share an extraordinary vision, marking him out as truly God s own Son, radiant with divine glory. Early Christian commentators and preachers recognized the crucial importance of this incident for Christian faith and discipleship, as pointing in advance to the power of the cross and resurrection of Christ. The liturgical feast of the Transfiguration, anticipating that of the Exaltation of the Cross by forty days, came to be celebrated in the Eastern and Western Churches, beginning in the seventh century; yet since at least the third century, theologians have reflected on the significance of this event for the life of faith.

This volume brings together, in a new translation, a comprehensive collection of homilies on the Transfiguration of Christ from the Greek Patristic and Medieval Church, from Origen in the third century to St. Gregory Palamas in the fourteenth. Together they form a profound and moving set of meditations, from many perspectives and in many voices, on the light of the recognition of the glory of God in the face of Christ (II Cor 4.6), and on its importance for our lives.

Homilies include:

Origen, Commentary on Matthew 12.36 43 (on Matthew 17.1 9)
John Chrysostom, Homily 56 on Matthew (on Matthew 16.28 17.9)
Proclus of Constantinople, Homily on the Transfiguration
Cyril of Alexandria, Homily 51 on Luke (on Luke 9.27 36)
Pantoleon, Sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord
Leontius, Presbyter of Constantinople, Homily 14 on the Transfiguration
Patriarch Anastasius I of Antioch, Homily on the Transfiguration (Homily 1)
Timothy of Antioch, Homily on the Cross and Transfiguration of Jesus
Anonymous, Incomplete Homily on the Transfiguration (7th-9th c.)
Anastasius of Sinai, Homily for Feast of the Transfiguration
Andrew of Crete, Homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration
John of Damascus, Homily for the Feast of the Transfiguration
Emperor Leo VI (the Wise), Three Homilies for the Transfiguration:10,11,39
Philagathos of Cerami, Homily 31 on the Feast of the Saving Transfiguration
Neophytos the Recluse, Catechesis on the Transfiguration
Theoleptos of Philadelphia, Catechesis for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Nikephoros Choumnos, On the Holy Transfiguration of Christ
Ps-Chrysostom, Discourse on the Transfiguration (Sicily, 14th c.?)
Gregory the Sinaite, Discourse on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord
Gregory Palamas, Two Homilies for the Feast of the Transfiguration (34 and 35)
If your parish is not keeping vigil today, you will be edified by this video from the most liturgically splendid Byzantine parish in all of North America.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...