Happy Sunday! Today, 6 August, is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, on Mount Tabor.
The Transfiguration by Raphael. The peculiar child in the bottom right corner of this painting is described in the verses related what happened after Christ came down from the mountain.
This commemorates the great event that St. Matthew describes in his gospel, Chapter 17:
"and after six days Jesus takes unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and brings them up into a high mountain apart: 2 And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. 3 And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if you will, let us make here three tabernacles, one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear him. 6 And the disciples hearing fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them: Arise, and fear not. 8 And they lifting up their eyes, saw no one, but only Jesus. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying: Why then do the scribes say that Elias must come first? 11 But he answering, said to them: Elias indeed shall come, and restore all things. 12 But I say to you, that Elias is already come, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they had a mind. So also the Son of man shall suffer from them. 13 Then the disciples understood, that he had spoken to them of John the Baptist.
14 And when he had come to the multitude, there came to him a man falling down on his knees before him saying: Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic, and suffers much: for he falls often into the fire, and often into the water. 15 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him. 16 Then Jesus answered and said: O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. 17 And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him, and the child was cured from that hour. 18 Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out? 19 Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain: Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove: and nothing shall be impossible to you. 20 But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting." [cf., Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 17]
The Old Catholic Encyclopedia has an informative entry on the Event of the Transfiguration: Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Transfiguration
The Fisheaters site, too, has some citations and homilies for this great feast: Fisheaters: Transfiguration
A Hungarian painting of the Battle of Nándorfehérvár [Battle of Belgrade], with St. John of Capistrano in the center.
The feast, for the Western or Latin Church, was set today, 6 August, by Pope Callixtus III (1455-1458AD) in honor of the great victory over the Turk at the Siege of Belgrade in 1456AD. This victory was much needed in the wake of the fall of Constantinople in 1453AD. Pope Callixtus placed the feast on this day, as it was the day word of the great victory reached Rome. It is also forty days before the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.
In this great siege and battle at Belgrade, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II (reigned 1451-1481) had some 80,000 men and 300 cannon, opposed by a Christian force of 16,000 in the city, plus 8,000 Crusaders under the inspiration of the Franciscan Saint-preacher, St. John of Capistrano. The Hungarians under John Hunyadi were the backbone of the Christian forces at the battle. Capistrano commanded that priests pray and tend to wounded only, while he held a crucifix from the pope to inspire the crusaders. The battle and siege started in June of 1456. The grand assault came on 21 July 1456, with the Christians winning the urban fighting and following it up with an afternoon counterattack that wounded the Sultan!
The Basilica of the Transfiguration, Mt. Tabor.
Finally, we might note the great church standing on the site of this magnificent event, the Basilica of the Transfiguration, which is maintained by the Franciscans.
Here is the official website of the Franciscans of the Holy Land: Custodia Terrae Santae
Here is a site with some great photos and information:
PlanetWare Travel: Mount Tabor