Meaning of the Blessing of Grapes on Transfiguration


          Because every year someone asks about the meaning of the blessing of grapes on this day, I would like to say a few words about the custom.  The Transfiguration of Christ’s immaculate flesh is the firstfruit, as it were, of the glorious transformation of all creation in the eternal kingdom; therefore, it is appropriate that on this feast we offer the firstfruits of the earth to be blessed as a token of the coming Kingdom, the restoration of all things, which begins to be revealed in each of us with the contemplation of Christ’s glory in our hearts here and now.  Grapes are brought, because this fruit is ready to harvest at this time of year in Mediterranean countries, where our holy faith was first established.  In places where grapes do not grow, other fruits, especially apples, were substituted; therefore, when people prepare their basket of grapes, they sometimes add apples or other fruit.

          The custom of blessing grapes was sanctioned by the holy apostles in the third canon of the Council of Jerusalem and confirmed by the twenty-eighth canon of the Fifth-Sixth Œcumenical Council.