Feast of the Transfiguration at St. Leon Armenian Cathedral
Published - 3 August 2017

The Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, one of the five tabernacle feasts (Daghavar Don) in the Armenian Apostolic Church was observed on Sunday, July 23.

At St. Leon Armenian Cathedral, the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian was the day's celebrant and homilist. The inspirational homily was delivered by the Diocesan Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian who presided over the service on the day of the tabernacle feast.

In his sermon, the Primate emphasized the need for prayer as a means of transfiguring our spiritual lives. " A true Christian, follows our Christ, our Lord and makes His prayer-life the true resemblance of the believer's spirituality. Apostles John, James and Peter accompanied Christ on Mount Tabor and they were astonished to witness the Lord's transfiguration. (Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:27-36). Prayer is a movement in our spirituality, which leads us to God, and thus we feel the very presence of God within us. However, this movement becomes valuable when our relationship with God remains steadfast in prayer. Our relationship with God leads us to the newness of life.

... The more we pray the closer we are to the people of God. Thus let us transform our lives and strengthen the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters," said His Eminence in part.

Following the service, parents and children gathered at the Turpanjian where they participated in Vartavar, the traditional Armenian festival. People of all ages participated in the exciting festival, drenching each other with buckets of water and water balloons.

Watch Archbishop Derderian participate in the water contest.

Feast of the Transfiguration

Referred to as Baydzaragerbootiun, the Feast of the Transfiguration is one of the five principal feasts of the Armenian Church, so named because of Christ’s luminous appearance. 

The feast marks Christ’s appearance with a resplendent countenance to three of His disciples, Peter, John, and James, on the holy mountain of Galilee, also known as Mount Tabor.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus was considering going to Jerusalem, he spoke with his disciples of the torture that was in store for Him and of the end of His life on earth.  Jesus wanted His disciples to be prepared for the coming events.

His disciples, however, did not believe that Jesus could possibly face such tribulations and Peter adamantly said none of Jesus’ predictions would come true, and Jesus admonished his disciples. About a week later, Jesus had his miraculous Transfiguration.

He went up Tabor Mountain with three of His disciples—Simon Peter, James, and John Zebedee—to pray as the other tired disciples remained at the bottom of the mountain.  It was there that Jesus began to assume a new appearance.  The three disciples were amazed when they saw His new radiant being.

Though it was nighttime, the disciples saw light coming from the sun in the sky.  Among the light, they saw two other men—said to be Moses and Elijah—speaking to Jesus about His remaining time left on earth and the sacrifice He would soon make.

Then a cloud came upon the group.  The voice of God was heard, saying the same phrase He said when Jesus was baptized, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35).

After the Transfiguration, Jesus asked His disciples not to talk about it until His coming Resurrection.

This scene can be found in four different places in the New Testament: Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:11-7; Luke 9:29-36; and Peter II 1:17-18.

In the Armenian calendar, the feast takes place on the 14th Sunday after Easter—98 days later—so it is movable within an interval of 35 days, from June 28 to August 1.