One of the famous 16th century Stavronikita Festal set of icons, this icon depicts the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ before his three Disciples, Peter, and James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who are seen here fallen on the ground from the brightness of the Glory of God revealed for that moment to men. Christ was always fully glorious in His Divinity, but only at moments did this shine forth before the darkened eyes of fallen men while He walked on earth. The Prophets Elias (or Elijah) and Moses are seen here appearing from the netherworld, confirming His Godhead.
The monk Theophanes the Cretan painted this set of icons on the iconostasis, or icon screen which separates the Bema, or sacred Altar, from the body of the Church, or Nave, where the Faithful stand for Divine Liturgy and other liturgical services. The set shows many of the most important events in the life of Jesus and the Church in its early and formative stage. This icon is the fifth in that set. Theophanes’ icons are considered masterpieces of iconographic art, still adorn the church at Stavronikita Monastery on Mount Athos, and show marvelous Cretan post-Byzantine form.