Transfiguration Mosaic

When the mosaic of the Transfiguration is illuminated by the reflected beams of the morning sun, it is possible to imagine the church as it was when it was first built. The original templon was made of Proconnesian marble, with columns of porphyry. It was low, and allowed an unobstructed view of the mosaic.

Anyone fortunate enough to attain to the divine energy, and to undergo divine transformation, himself becomes completely like the light. He is with the light, and by means of it sees clearly things which, were it not for this great and inexpressible grace, would be invisible to all. According to the Lord’s Beatitude, which cannot prove false, those whose hearts have been purified see God, Who, in the words of the great Theologian, John the Son of Thunder, is Light, and dwells in, and reveals Himself to, those who love Him, and are loved by Him, in accordance with His own promise to them.

Saint Gregory Palamas, Homily on the Entry of the Theotokos into the Holy of Holies

3 comments to Transfiguration Mosaic

  • LD

    “Now, brethren, let us remove ourselves from earthly to celestial things. Let us change our path from the flesh to the spirit. Let us change our desire from temporal things to those that endure. Let us scorn fleshly delights, which serve as allurements for the soul and soon pass away. Let us desire spiritual gifts, which remain undiminished. Let us turn our reason and our attention from earthly concerns and raise them to the inaccessible places of Heaven, to the Holy of Holies, where the Mother of God now resides.” -St. Gregory Palamas, Homily,- “Entry of the Theotokos into the Holy of Holies.”

  • Richard Saloom

    Dear Father Justin,

    How much of the interior is made of Proconnesian marble? The moving of the rock such a long distance is amazing. Where did the rest of the rock come from? Is a lot of use made of Cedar from Lebanon?



    • Father Justin

      Eutychius, the tenth century Patriarch of Alexandria, writes that the Emperor Justinian ordered the Governor of Egypt to supply the monastery with funds, men, and supplies for the construction of the great basilica and surrounding fortress walls. This would have been a massive undertaking, and it would have required some years to accomplish. There is no marble in Egypt. When I see the book matched panels of marble beneath the apse mosaic, I am amazed at the beauty and the antiquity of these panels, but I also marvel at the effort it must have taken to bring them here.

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