This is part 2. You can read part 1 here.
It is this focus on the death of Christ, his divinity, and the salvation of mankind that seems to be the foci of both feasts. The Transfiguration foreshadows the death and resurrection of Pascha: “Calling Moses and Elijah to be witnesses of this exceeding grace, He made them sharers in His joy, foretelling his decease through the Cross and his saving Resurrection… [Christ] wast transfigured, and has made the nature that had grown dark in Adam to shine again as lightning, transforming it into the glory and splendour of [his] own divinity” (The Festal Menaion 476-7). At Pascha, the Deacon chants, “In the grave with the body but in hades with the soul as God; in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit was thou, O Christ, filling all things, thyself uncircumscribed,” and “Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life” (Liturgikon 383).
Christ overcomes the sinfulness of man. At The Transfiguration, he gives a brief glimpse of his divinity. His disciples heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, who has come into the world to save mankind” (The Festal Menaion 477). During the feast of The Transfiguration, Christians cry out to Christ to “give light now to our souls,” just as he had shone light upon his disciples (The Festal Menaion 478). This light is given to Christians at Pachca. Fr. Schmemann tells us that Pascha (which is normally celebrated at night) “becomes brighter than the day,” and is a celebration of the joy that comes from the reality of salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of God.
The Transfiguration demonstrates that Christ is able to overcome mankind’s sin, and bring glory into the world by focusing upon the Resurrection. In this way, Christians are encouraged to look past the suffering of the cross and to notice the Resurrection (The Festal Menaion 62). The glory that was shown that day is one that all Christians can share. That glory is made available because of Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection – Pascha. On the feast day of The Transfiguration, Christians sing, “…let us…direct our minds to heavenly things, being shaped anew in piety according to the form of Christ. For in His mercy, the Saviour of our souls has transfigured man and made him shine with light upon Mount Tabor” (The Festal Menaion 468). That human transfiguring is accomplished through the sacrifice of Pascha:
As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death. For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection… Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ. (Romans 6:3-4,8; read on Great Holy Saturday)
To Be Continued...