1. Students should be able to tell the story of the Transfiguration.
  2. Students should know that the word “transfiguration” means “change appearance”.
  3. Students should be able to identify each character in the icon and his role in the story.
  4. Students should know the date of the feast, August 6.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Scripture References: Luke 9:28-36, Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:1-9. Show the icon. Identify all the characters. What does “transfiguration” mean? Who was transfigured? In what way? Who did Jesus speak to? Which disciples came with Him?


  1. Songs of the Feast:

Troparion: When Thou, O Christ our God, wast transfigured on the mountain, Thou didst reveal Thy glory to Thy disciples in proportion as they could bear it.  Let Thine everlasting Light also enlighten us sinners, through the intercessions of the Theotokos; O Thou Giver of Life, glory to Thee.

Kontakion: Thou wast transfigured on the mount, and thy disciples, in so far as they were able, beheld thy glory, O Christ our God: so that, when they should see thee crucified, they would remember that thy suffering was voluntary, and could declare to all the world that thou art truly the effulgent splendor of the Father.


  1. Discussion questions:

What preceded the Transfiguration? (Matthew 16:13-end: Jesus asked the disciples who He was? Peter answered. Jesus then told them about His suffering to come and told them that some of them would die before seeing Him in His glory, and a few days later…) In what way was Jesus preparing his disciples for his crucifixion? Why did the disciples forget about the Transfiguration and run away like cowards? Were the disciples chosen because they were such strong and perfect men? Or were they weak and fragile and quite ordinary, just like you and me? So the Troparion recalls their weakness in “as far as they could bear it”.

In Transfiguration, we see Jesus as both God and man. Is he 2 people? Which council settled this issue? (Chalcedon)  These are the questions of St. Ephraim: If Jesus were not human, who lay in the manger? If He were not God, whom did the angels glorify? If Jesus were not human, whom did Simeon take in his arms? If Jesus were not God, to whom did Simeon say, “Dismiss me in peace”? If Jesus were not human, whom did John baptize? If Jesus were not God, of whom did the Father speak? If Jesus were not human, who took Peter and James and John to the mount? If Jesus were not God, who spoke with Moses and Elijah?

We also see the Trinity at Transfiguration. At which feast was the triune nature of God (3 persons in 1 God) first revealed? (Theophany) Why doesn’t the Holy Spirit keep the same form on Mt. Tabor (What? luminous cloud) as at the Jordan (What? dove) or at Pentecost (What? tongues of fire)? It would be easier to recognize him if He would. Jesus always appears as a man since the Incarnation. But, the Spirit is not incarnate in the dove or the fire or the cloud; “He is everywhere and fills all things”.

The Transfiguration of our Lord occurred forty days before He was crucified. Remember some other important 40s in the Bible – 40 years in the wilderness for the children of Israel and 40 days in the wilderness being tempted for our Lord? With His Transfiguration, our Lord strengthened the faith of his disciples and helped prepare them for His coming crucifixion. Knowing His divinity, they could understand that His suffering was of His own free will.


  1. Review the Old Testament stories of Moses and Elijah. Why would God have chosen these two men for Jesus to speak to? What was their importance in the Jewish history? Two very important threads throughout the Old Testament are the Law and the Prophets? Who represents the Law? The Prophets? Also, Jesus was soon to die for the salvation of both the living and the dead. Who represents the living? (Elijah, because he was taken into heaven and never died) Who represents the dead? Both are considered to be forerunners of Jesus. Many people thought that John the Baptist was Elijah come back to life. How was John like Elijah? How was Jesus like Elijah? How was Jesus like Moses? But, even more important, Jesus was clearly greater than these great prophets, not one of them – an important understanding for the disciples.


  1. The Feast of the Transfiguration is celebrated on August 6. We bring fruit to church on the feast. Why? We are asking God to bless the harvest of fruit and the crops, which are just becoming ripe at this time. Clusters of grapes, ripe in Greece and in Palestine at about the time of the feast, are especially symbolic. What is made from grapes? (wine) Where does our Lord have us use wine each and every Liturgy? (the Eucharist) Why do the Russians bless apples at this time? (the climate is too cold for grapes!)


  1. Play a learning game: Guessing Game. Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team should have a captain as spokesperson. Both teams listen as the scorekeeper (teacher) reads a description of a character from the lesson (Jesus, Peter, James, John, Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist). Try for a long description, beginning with trivia (This person is a man. He has a beard…) and saving the critical facts for the end. The captain should stand when his team knows who it is. If right, that team gets the point.
  2. Add to your time line as usual.  
  3. Close with prayer. Ask God to bless the fruit and crops now and every year.