‘There are two icons of the transfiguration which struck me very deeply when I saw them in the original in the Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow. One is by Rublev and the other by his master, Theophan the Greek. In both there are three mountain peaks, the Lord Jesus in the centre, with Moses and Elijah on the right and left-hand sides, and the three disciples on the slopes of the mountain. The difference between the two icons lies in the way in which the things are seen. The Rublev icon shows Christ in the brilliancy of his dazzling white robes which cast light on everything around. This light falls on the disciples, on the mountain and the stones, on every blade of grass. Within this light, which is the divine splendour - the divine glory, the divine light itself inseparable from God - all things acquire an intensity of being which they could not have otherwise; in it they attain to a fulness of reality which they can have only in God. The other icon is more difficult to perceive in a reproduction. The background is slivery and appears grey. The robes of Christ are silvery, with blue shades, and the rays of light falling around are also white, silvery and blue. Everything gives an impression of much less intensity. Then we discover that all these rays of light falling from the divine presence and touching the things which surround the transfigured Christ do not give relief but give transparency to things. One has the impression that these rays of divine light touch things and sink into them, penetrate them, touch something within them so that from the core of these things, of all things created, the same light reflects and shines back, as though the divine life quickens the capabilities, the potentialities of all things, and makes all reach out towards itself. At that moment the eschatological situation is realised, and in the words of St Paul, “God is all and in all”’.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, 1914-2003
O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine Only Begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold in the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon
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