St. John the Theologian, beloved to Christ, in his first letter to the Church, pointed straight to the heart of the Gospel that unites heaven and earth when he wrote:
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 
St. John followed the consubstantial “Way” of Christ that opens a door where human capacities end and divine initiative begins. He witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus, shining with unapproachable light, and gradually came to realize the central message of the Gospel. He who declared “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one goes to the Father except through me”  is both God and man simultaneously.
Understood in light of this revelation these words are so much more than a narrow exclusivist political or cultural declaration. They do not indicate some kind of humanly derived philosophical meta-narrative that postmodern voices rightly fear, just another version of an earthly tyrant, e.g. “Here’s the new boss, same as the old boss.” 
These words point to the widest possible inclusivity of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which Met. John Zizioulas calls the “Communion of Otherness.” The Church unites and illumines our uniquenesses, male and female, captives and free, Jew and Greek, married and monastic, because Jesus Christ is not a humanistically-derived ideology or philosophy. Nor is He merely a guru or buddha who brings a new method of self-divinization or path for transcendence of the particular and unique human presence through the practice of meditation. He is the living reality of the person of God in Whose Image we are made and into Whose presence we are invited through a Communion of love so that “no power in heaven or on earth can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ.” 
We don’t obtain salvation as a “get out of jail free card” merely by believing in Jesus as a historical figure or by memorizing dogmatic formulas or by having an emotional experience or doing good works. Salvation is better understood as life-long communion consummated existentially by freely receiving and ascetically responding to the divine initiative of love in and through love for one another. God seeks union with all humankind through Jesus Christ.
It is through responding to the divine initiative that we are transformed, for “the Logos is a personal divine creative proposal awaiting a response.”  Salvation is not something God does without human consent and response. Fr. George Metallinos, writes,
The believer, who moves within the territory of supernatural knowledge, “knowledge” of the Uncreated, is not called upon to learn something metaphysically, or to accept it logically, but to “undergo” something, by communing with it. It is at this point that the Church’s mission as the body of Christ is substantiated, as is Her reason for existence in the world: to render [humanity] receptive of that knowledge, which is simultaneously [our] salvation. 
St. John encountered first hand the divine glory of Jesus Christ revealed in the Spirit on the mount of transfiguration along with his fellow disciples Peter and his brother James. A short while later he suffered through the confusion of witnessing the trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus and following the resurrection, spent forty days with the risen Lord on earth before his Ascension.
Then for another 60 years or so, the one Jesus named “a Son of Thunder” traveled and gave personal testimony through his actions and words, to the transforming power of Christ in his life, giving witness to the transfiguration of his own heart and the one taking place in the assemblies of believers gathering as the Body of Lord all over the earth, His church.
Living in exile for a time and afterward, bequeathing the Church the precious gift of his Gospel, letters and the book of Revelation, St. John lived and taught well into his nineties. Having cared for the Lord’s mother and learned from her details of the Lord’s early life that remained untold, he bore the human grief of the martyrdoms, first of his brother James, and later of all the rest of his brother apostles. His voice is a living link into the 3rd century for we have the testimony, in word and deed, of St. Polycarp who knew St, John as well as others of those who have seen the Lord, and that of St. Irenaeus (A.D. 140-202) who remembers St. Polycarp who he met as a young man.
Near the end of his life, when St. John was just shy of 100 years old, St. Jerome tells us he was so frail he had to be carried into the church. Still giving witness to the glory of Jesus Christ, ripened by wisdom and mercy distilled into a single exhortation, he would often say, “My little children love one another.” When asked “Why do you say the same thing over and over?” St John replied, “Because it is the Word of the Lord and if you do this it will be enough.” 
The Jesus whose consubstantial glory St. John gives testimony too, Who dwelled in the flesh and Who he saw and touched and witnessed His glory both with his five senses and noetically by the illumination of his heart, was a fully human being and simultaneously the uncreated infinite God, two natures indivisibly united in one person.
St. John is an eye witness, and a noetic witness of the heart, that Jesus died and rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples on earth in his risen physical form before his Ascension into Heaven. His body passed through solid locked doors with the same ease as it defied the laws of death that govern all flesh and yet he testifies that the risen Jesus sat on the beach creating a charcoal fire for the fish the Apostles had just caught. In this way he offered the astounded, uncomprehending disciples the familiar comfort of a meal of bread and broiled fish, as he gradually introduced them to a way of understanding being persons in this world and the one to come, that is beyond human understanding.
Forty days later Jesus ascended into heaven, returning to the Father, carrying in his human nature and deified flesh the recapitulation of the entire human race. This is and has always been the witness of the Church. Denial of any part of this in order to make it comprehensible and possible by rational humanism alone, replaces God with man, and is a failure to comprehend the fullness of the Way, the Truth, and the Life of Jesus Christ. This inevitably invites confusion and leaves us more vulnerable to tragic departures from the way that leads to Eternal Life of the Church, which is a communion that involves both a human community and a divinely offered life in Christ.
Our community, Holy Transfiguration, began to form in 1993 with six families—Russian, Greek, American– converts and cradle Orthodox. Two years later in 1995, having added other families, we came to consensus in choosing the name “Holy Transfiguration” for our assembly because we agreed that the true unity of the Church is recognized not by our respective nationalities, but by the gathering of persons of all nations in a common love and faith, who struggle and worship together in the hope of sharing one transfigured life of Christ that illumines us all.
We were granted the status of a mission church in 1995 and four years later had grown enough to purchase the building on our current location. Under the leadership Fr. Vasili Bitere, acting as our contractor and serving as our priest, we remodeled and expanded the church with parish labor into its current form. Today we are grateful to celebrate our 18th anniversary in our current location and delighted to welcome back among us, Aurel Onut, the iconographer from Romania who spent tireless months among us rendering all the iconography that adorns our beautiful Temple.
If you look up on the ceiling as you enter Narthex, you will see the large icon that was the last one he did. It is a special icon, perhaps unique in the Church. One day when our Metropolitan Alexios was visiting and surveying the sanctuary after we had built an extension on to the narthex. I asked His Eminence what he saw and he remarked with joy on the beautiful icons. I recalled how in the book of Revelation, St. John writes, that the New Jerusalem will be illumined by the uncreated light of the Lamb of God and by this light all the nations will walk, and “the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.” 
In other words, the Kingdom of God will be filled with the communion of otherness of all the nations whose uniqueness is not crushed in the name of one culture, but illumined and perfected by the humble Grace of the Living Christ whose love celebrates the diversity of all. The Greek Orthodox Church is a home for all the nations. I asked His Eminence at that moment, if he would bless us to have an icon on the ceiling that expressed this, by showing all the nations surrounding Christ as in the New Jerusalem. He gave his blessing and we invited Aurel back a second time to bring this additional icon to life for us.
With this vision of Christ, who is love and transfigures all who love him to be persons together with Him, as He is person, we celebrate the most Holy Church of Jesus Christ of which our Holy Transfiguration is an integral part, as a home for all the nations and we join the Apostles, the Holy Theotokos and all the Saints in committing one another and our whole lives, to Christ our God!
 I Jn. 1:1-4ff
 Jn. 14:6.
 lyrics from the song “Wont Be Fooled Again” by rock band, The Who
 Rom. 8:39
 Loudovikos, N.“Person Instead of Grace and Dictated Otherness: John Zizioulas’ Final Theological Position.”
 fromThe Way: An Introduction to the Christian Faith
 Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2000, p. 211.
 Rev. 21:24.