Yesterday, August 6/19, we celebrated the bright Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ (St Matthew 17:1-13; St Mark 9:2-13; St Luke 9:28-36; cf. II Peter 1:17-18). Two thoughts occurred to me as I heard the following sung in Church yesterday morning:
|Тамо где Израиљ победи Сисару
Изволи се тамо и Небесном Цару
На молитве поћи и на ноћна бдења,
Да покаже славу Свог Преображења,
И утврди веру својих следбеника
У победу трајну Њега – Победника.
Ту светлост божанску Он из Себе пусти
Па обасја Тавор, мрак разагна густи;
Светлост што ј’ у Себи дуго задржав’о
Од које је свету по мало раздав’о
Пустио је сада лучама обилним,
Лучама радосним, лучама умилним.
Небу да открије блесак човечанства,
Земљи и људима истину Божанства.
Нека небо види Посланика свога,
Нека земља позна Спаситеља Бога.
|Where Israel defeated Sisera,
There also did the Heavenly King deign to go
To pray in nightly vigils,
To manifest the glory of His Transfiguration,
And confirm the faith of His followers
In his eternal victory as Victor.
There He shone forth with divine light,
Dispelled the thick darkness, and illuminated Tabor.
The Light, long concealed within Himself,
Which He had shed upon the world in brief flashes,
Now burst forth in abundant rays–
Joyful rays, sweet rays–
To reveal to heaven the brilliance of His humanity,
And to reveal to earth and men the truth of His Divinity.
Let Heaven see its messenger,
Let the earth recognize God the Savior.
Firstly, as some of you may already know, this is the “hymn of praise” for yesterday’s entry in the Prolog of Ohrid. English speakers who only know these from the two-volume edition by Sebastian Press may not realize that these are not only sacred poetry—they are spiritual songs (duhovne pesme), many of them with well-known melodies that are often used in liturgical and paraliturgical settings. It is therefore not unusual to hear the “hymns of praise” from the Prolog sung on various feast days. I have searched to no avail for a recording of the above hymn, but there is a recording of the Prolog hymn for St Thekla (whose feast, incidentally, is my Krsna Slava) available from Svetigora Radio.
Secondly, the opening lines of this hymn strike me as an excellent example of how the Church reads the Bible. At once Mount Tabor, the place of the Transfiguration, is recognized as the place of the victory of the children of Israel over the armies commanded by Sisera (cf. Judges 4-5). And it is in this place of victory that the Lord was transfigured, revealing to his disciples before the Passion his victory over death and hades in the Resurrection.
“Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in Thy name” (Psalm 88:13, LXX).