Transfiguration is the Only Path to Salvation

Metropolitan Luke’s wartime notes     

Christ is in our midst. Dear readers!

If we were to pose the question to our regular parishioners today as to what we celebrate on this day, they would reply: “The Transfiguration of the Savior”. And they would be correct. The very word “transfiguration” means change. That is, something or someone used to be one way, but now they are another—they were transfigured. But did Christ change? Did He become something other than He was before Mount Tabor? No, no transformation occurred in Him. He simply partially revealed His glory, which He had, has, and will have in Himself forever. This glory is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. If the Divine Logos showed all of His glory as it really is, then not only the apostles but the whole Earth, the entire universe would not have been able to endure this radiance. The Lord lifted the veil slightly to reveal the radiance of His Divinity so that His disciples would not be tempted when they would see Him crucified, mocked, and dead.

The Transfiguration is the vector along which our entire life should go. Every person is by nature created light, having appeared from nothing according to the divine will of the Creator. Everything in the world, both animate and inanimate, is in its essence a form of existence of the originate energy created by God. This energy has no life in and of itself. Only God is the Being that has life in and of Himself. His essence is unfathomable not only for people, but also for the highest angelic powers. And we would have no hope of eternal life had God in His mercy and love not poured out from His own essence the uncreated energies. This form of God’s being is outside of His Essence. The uncreated light of the Godhead is what the Church calls grace. By joining our human spirit with this eternally living and life-creating Divine power, we receive eternity and immortality. But so that this might come to pass, we must remove from ourselves what does not allow Divine Light to live in us. A smoky, grimy mirror cannot reflect the sun’s light. It is the same with our souls—as long as sin lives in us, our souls are unable to partake of the radiance of eternal life. Only after cleansing our souls with repentance and prayer can we not only receive God’s grace in ourselves, but we can also reflect it to other people, becoming ourselves light from Light, gods by grace from God by nature. But for this, we must have the Transfiguration.

Metropolitan Luke (Kovalenko) of Zaporozhye and Melitopol
Translation by


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