The Transfiguration of Christ is a Despotic Feast, one of the largest in Christendom.

By Ioannis Tzortzakakis

The Transfiguration of Christ is a Despotic Feast, one of the largest in Christendom. It is celebrated every year on August 6; the inauguration day of the homonymous temple founded in Tabor by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great.

According to the New Testament (Matthew 17:1–9, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36), Jesus took with him his disciples, Peter, James and John, and they went along on a mountain, probably Tabor in Galilee, in order to pray. The three disciples, tired from the difficult ascent to the mountain, sat down to rest and fell into a deep sleep.

When they woke up, they saw an unexpected and magnificent spectacle. The face of the Lord shone like the sun and his dresses were white as snow. Jesus was surrounded by two men; Moses and Elijah, two of the prophets of the Old Testament. It was the first time that the Deity of Christ was particularly felt by people.

Until the 4th century, the Transfiguration of Christ had been celebrated before Easter, but later it was transferred on the day of the inauguration of the church of the Transfiguration of Christ, which was built by St. Helena on Mount Tabor.


Fra Angelico, 1440-42, Fresco (Cell 6), 181 x 152 cm, Convento di San Marco, Florence.

Giovanni Bellini, c. 1490, Oil on panel, 116 cm × 154 cm, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples.

Lorenzo Lotto, c. 1511, Oil on wood, 300 x 203 cm, Pinacoteca Civica, Recanati.

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, 1516-1520, Oil on wood, 405 cm × 278 cm, Pinacoteca Vaticana, Vatican City.

Lodovico Carracci, 1588 – 1590, Oil on canvas, 102.50 x 83.40 cm, Scottish National Gallery – National Galleries of Scotland.

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