01 March 2015

Photos from Mount Tabor, where Jesus was transfigured

We hear in the Gospel today that the Lord Jesus led Saints Peter, James, and John "up a high mountain apart by themselves" (Mark 9:2). The mountain on which he led them was Mount Tabor.

Located in the lower part of Galilee, the solitary mountain - in geological terms, a monadnock - reaches a height of some 2,165 feet:

On the way to Mount Tabor, taken on the bus
From the base of the mountain
Although the Evangelists do not specify this mountain in their accounts of the Transfiguration of the Lord (cf. Matthew 17:1-13; Mark 9:1-8; and Luke 9:28-36) - nor does Saint Peter in his (cf. II Peter 1:17-18) - there is no doubt Mount Tabor is the mountain they ascended; it is the only mountain in the region.

Even on a cloudy day, the view from the top of Mount Tabor is something to behold:

The first church on the mountain was built around the year 400 A.D.When the Crusaders arrived in the Holy Land, Benedictine monks built a fortified monastery strong enough to defend against the forces of Saladin. However, following the defeat of the Crusaders by Saladin at the Horns of Hattin in 1187, the Benedictines were forced to abandon their monastery. Franciscan friars took over the old monastery in the 1600s and they remain on Mount Tabor today.

The present basilica built in a Roman-Syrian style from the fourth through seventh centuries is the work Antonio Barluzzi:

From within the basilica, one can look through certain places of the floor to the see the rock of the top of the mountain:

Consecrated in 1924, the Basilica of the Transfiguration houses a series of beautiful mosaics:

The Nativity of Our Lord
The Bread of Life
The Lamb of God
The Resurrection of Our Lord
The Transfiguration of Our Lord
In the mosaic depiction of Jesus transfigured, we are able to glimpse something of his majesty revealed to Peter, James, and John:
In this mosaic we see something of what Benedict XVI wrote: "Jesus' divinity belongs with the Cross - only when we put the two together do we recognize Jesus correctly" (Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration, 305).

In these remaining days of Lent, let us ask the Lord to help us recognize his glory hidden in the Cross, so as to experience all the more joyfully his glory revealed in the Resurrection, both in this life and in the life of the world to come.

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