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Image Description
The icon of The Transfiguration of The Lord depicts the gospel account of this event from the synoptic gospel texts of Luke 9:28, Matt. 17:1, and Mark 9:2. Christ's transfiguration from his image as a human entity to his image as a divine incarnation occurred on Mount Tabor before his beloved apostles Peter, James, and John. Christ's figure is placed on the summit of Mount Tabor and is encircled by a mandorla which represents a bright cloud. "His face became as dazzling as the sun, his clothes as radiant as light." (Matt. 17:1) Among the three apostles who witness The Transfiguration, Peter is usually seen on the left hand side of the composition and is depicted falling back upon one arm in response to the intensity of the light emanating from Christ. Peter also shields his eyes from the brilliant light. In the center of the icon the apostle John turns his back to the light while James, who is usually placed at the right, is shown falling upon his back. God the Father is also present and gives witness to Christ saying, "This is my beloved son on whom my favor rests, listen to Him."(Matt. 1:5). Moses and Elijah also bear witness at this event. Moses is seen on the left side of Christ, conversing with him. He sometimes holds a book in his hand, The Tables of Decologue. Elijah is on the right of Christ and is usually depicted as an old man with a long beard. Scholars generally give three reasons to explain the presence of Moses and Elijah. (1) Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the prophet. Since Christ is the fulfillment of both The Law and The Prophecies, it is fitting for them to be present. (2) Both prophets had a secret vision of God, one on Mount Sinai and the other on Mount Carmel. (3) Moses represents the dead while Elijah, who was taken into heaven in his fiery chariot, represents the living. The feast day of the Transfiguration occurs on August 6 and emphasizes the divine nature of Christ and provides humans with a means to witness divine glory. Historians say that in 326 Saint Helen had a chapel erected on Mount Tabor to commemorate this event and excavations have confirmed this.

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