Transfiguration and the blessing of grapes

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Transfiguration is really what got me started on this whole journey of sleuthing out the traditions associated with various feast days. Back when we had our tiny mission, Transfiguration was one of those special feasts where even though we shared priests committed to their larger parishes, we still got to celebrate because one of them was on the Old Calendar. The first time I showed up though, one of the other families was like, “Where are your grapes? You’re supposed to bring grapes to be blessed!” Honestly, I was so confused. Once I got past that, it started to be one of my favorite feasts because as you can see above, our priest had a joyous flair for feasts involving him blessing things with water.  Nowadays I just buy a case of grapes and don’t think much of it, but it really threw me for a loop that first time. There are some pretty heady articles out there with quotes from canons, saints, and bishops on the reasons why we bring and bless grapes, but what I can surmise it boils down to is the symbolic offering the first fruits to God (with all the hybridization and varieties as well as the ability to export and import things from all over the world we lose the seasonal sense of this, but a lot of varieties of grapes begin to ripen at the beginning of August) and because grapes are “transfigured” into wine and then wine along with bread is transfigured into the body & blood of Christ during the Liturgy for communion. These images are from some of my past attendance at Transfiguration services. Sadly our mission parish closed its doors some time ago, but we’ve kind of followed our priest that was on the Old Calendar since then so we’ll try to make it to Liturgy down there on August 19 instead. I did buy a case of grapes to have with dinner tonight though because I just can’t seem to completely adapt to the Old Calendar quite yet. 

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