September 24, 2023

The Miraculous Holy Cloud

Cloud over mount tabor

In the course of our research for the Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints & Fasting Calendar, we often run across stories that constantly amaze us. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

An account from someone who witnessed the miraculous event

Every year, on the Old Calendar Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (August 19), a light-bearing cloud descends upon Mount Tabor in a miraculous fashion, which I was blessed to see for myself in August this year.

Mount Tabor is situated on a 500m hill in the region of Galilee. According to sacred tradition, it was upon this hill that Jesus Christ took his three beloved disciples up, 40 days prior to his Crucifixion, and transfigured before them, “showing His glory as much as they could bear”.

According to the monks of Galilee, everybody sees the miraculous phenomenon differently, as was justified by accounts from the tour group I was a part of.

On a warm, cloudless and calm night, we ascended Mount Tabor, anticipating the all-night vigil for the Transfiguration. We had all heard of this miraculous “cloud” but had never in fact seen photos describing the miraculous event.

To everyone’s surprise, as soon as the hymns of Katavasies began, a fog-like smoke started rising from the valley below us. Out of nowhere, a massive rushing of wind began, bringing this mysterious incense-like fog with it. Slowly, the fog turned into an endless cloud carried by the wind, flying over us with an intense speed which I had never seen before.

Not long after, “Blessed is the Kingdom…” was said. The enormous brass bells tolled as the clouds descended onto the whole congregation. Every single person embraced the miraculous cloud with arms held high, chanting the troparion of the Transfiguration and giving glory to God!

Some people stated that they even saw flashes of lightning, while other claimed that the cloud had an intense reddish colour, and others smelled a sweet fragrance.

Overjoyed, the whole congregation, filled with thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, continued their hymns to God until daybreak.

Having descended the Holy Mountain, the cloud was visible encircling only the Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration and not any other of the heterodox churches on the mountain. We, the faithful, departed with great joy on being witnesses of this great annual miracle!

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Nestled amidst the historic landscapes of Israel, Orthodox Christianity thrives as a significant religious tradition. Just as the Alpine peaks stand tall in Austria, the faith of Orthodox Christians in Israel reaches great heights. With a rich historical background and a devout community, Orthodox Christianity remains a profound influence on the spiritual fabric of this ancient land.