The feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord or Jesus Christ celebrates His revelation or disclosure of divine glory on the top of Mount Tabor of Galilee.
After disclosing the fact that He would be crucified and killed in Jerusalem to His disciples, Jesus Christ along with Ss. James, John and Peter went on top of the mountain. According to what St Matthews had written that on reaching the top, Christ transfigured in front of their eyes with his face shining as brightly as the sun and his clothes became as white as untouched snow.
This feast is held on the 6th of August in the remembrance of this holy event. This is observed by various Christian communities all over the world. The feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord was turned into a universal feast on the 6th of August in the honor of the raising of Siege of Belgrade by Pope Callixtus III.
Date of celebration-
In the Revised Julian Calendars, Syriac Orthodox Calendars, Indian Orthodox Calendars, Old Catholic Churches, Anglican Catholic Churches and Roman Catholic Churches, this day is celebrated on the 6th of August. However in the Orthodox Churches which still follows the Julian Calendar, this day is observed on the 19th of August as 6th of August on the Julian Calendar falls on 19th of August on the Georgian Calendar. In Orthodoxy, the Feast of the Transfiguration is considered to be one of the twelve Great Feasts and is of major importance. If this feast falls on a Sunday, the liturgy of it is not combined with Sunday liturgy but it completely replaces the Sunday liturgy. In the United Methodist, Lutheran and some other liturgical calendars, the very last Sunday of the Epiphany season which comes immediately before the Ash Wednesday, is devoted to the celebration of this feast. However in the Church of Finland and in the Church of Sweden, the Feast of Transfiguration of the Lord is observed on the 7th Sunday after Trinity or the 8th Sunday after Pentecost.
Celebration in Eastern Orthodox Church-
In these particular Churches, the Transfiguration of the Lord is observed during the time of Dormition Fast. But since this is a feast, the fasting is relaxed to some extent and consumption of wine, oil and fish are allowed on this special occasion. In the Orthodox Church this feast is not held only in the honor of Jesus Christ but also in the honor of the Holy Trinity hence this event is like the smaller version of Epiphany. This feast is one of the twelve Great Feasts in Orthodoxy. On the day of Transfiguration, grapes are brought to the church and are blessed after Divine Liturgy.
Celebration in Coptic Orthodox Church-
In the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ is celebrated on 19th of August which in the Coptic Calendar is 13th of Mesri. This feast is considered to be one of the seven minor feasts observed in the church and is celebrated in a cheerful manner.
Celebration in Old Catholic Church-
Traditionally, according to the Roman rite Calendar, the Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on 6th of August in the Old Catholic Church however all the local Old Catholic Churches can celebrate it on a different date. The Old Catholic perspective of the Transfiguration has many things in common with that of the Eastern Orthodox Church’s belief. In the Old Catholic Church this marks the great event in which Lord Jesus disclosed his divinity. Even in this Church if the feast falls on a Sunday it replaces the Sunday Liturgy.
Celebration in Roman Catholic Church-
Centuries back, in the Roman Catholic Church, the Transfiguration of the Lord was celebrated locally on various days including 6th of August but none were recognized universally. In the year of 1456, Hungary had repulsed an invasion by the Ottoman Empire of the Balkans by breaking Siege of Belgrade. The news of victory against the Ottomans had reached Rome on the 6th of August. For celebrating the victory, Pope Callixtus III raised the Transfiguration to a day of feast which was to be celebrated throughout Rome.