Who are they?
The term angel appears from Genesis to Revelation.
The angels are represented throughout the Bible as a body
of spiritual beings intermediate between God and men: "You
have made him (man) a little less than the angels" (Psalm
8:6). They, equally with man, are created beings; "praise
ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts . . .
for He spoke and they were made. He commanded and they were
created" (Psalm 148:2, 5: Colossians 1:16, 17). They
are spirits; the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says:
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister
to them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation?"
(Heb. I, 14).
The word "aggelos" in Greek is used in the Bible
to describe a "messenger." It refers more to an
angelic "office" than to a specific "being."
Angels are mentioned 103 times in the OT and 175 in the NT.
34 books of the Bible attest to their existence (17 in each).
Cherubim and seraphim are most commonly mentioned .The main
idea is that angels were made to serve as messengers of the
Creator who also minister to man in serving the Almighty.
The Bible makes clear that they dwell in a finite number beyond
our count -- "thrones, dominions, principalities, powers,
authorities and heavenly host" (Colossians 1:16; also
- Luke 2: 13).
The Synaxis of the Leader of the Heavenly Hosts Michael, and
the Other Heavenly Bodiless Hosts was established at the beginning
of the IV Century at the local Laodician Council, which occurred
several years before the First Ecumenical Council.
The Laodician Council by its 35th Canon condemned and renounced
as heretical the worship of angels as creators and rulers
of the world and it affirmed their proper Orthodox veneration.
A feastday was established in November -- the ninth month
from March (with which month the year began in ancient times)
-- in accordance with the 9 Ranks of Angels.
The eighth day of the month was decreed for the intended Assemblage
of all the Heavenly Powers -- in conjunction with the Day
of the Dread Last-Judgement of God, which the holy fathers
called the "Eighth Day" -- since after this age
in which the seven days [of Creation] have elapsed will come
the "Eighth Day" -- and then "shalt come the
Son of Man in His Glory and all the holy Angels together with
Him" (Mt 25:31).
The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest,
middle, and lowest. In the Highest Hierarchy are included
the three Ranks: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones. Closest
of all to the MostHoly Trinity stand the six-winged Seraphim
(Flaming, and Fiery) (Is 6:12). They blaze with love for God
and impels others to it.
After the Seraphim there stand before the Lord the many-eyed
Cherubim (Gen 3:24). Their name means: outpouring of wisdom,
enlightenment, since through them -- radiating with the light
of Divine-knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of
God, there is sent down wisdom and enlightenment for true
After the Cherubim, stand God-bearing through grace given
them for their service, the Thrones (Col 1:16), mysteriously
and incomprehensibly upholding God. They serve the uprightness
of God's justice.
The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions,
Powers, and Authorities:
(Col 1:16) hold dominion over the successive ranks of Angels.
They instruct the earthly authorities, established from God,
to wise governance. The Dominions influence rule by miracles,
they quell sinful impulses, subordinate the flesh to the spirit,
and provide mastery over the will to conquer temptation.
(1 Pet 3:22) fulfill the will of God. They work the miracles
and send down the grace of wonderworking and perspicacity
to saints pleasing to God. The Powers give assist to people
in bearing obediences, encourage them in patience, and give
them spiritual strength and fortitude.
(1 Pet 3:22, Col 1:16) have authority to quell the power of
the devil. They repel from people demonic temptations, uphold
ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with
In the Lowest Hierarchy are included the three Ranks: Principalities,
Archangels, and Angels:
(Col 1:16) have command over the lower angels, instructing
them in the fulfilling of Divine commands. To them are entrusted
to direct the universe, and protect lands, nations and peoples.
Principalities instruct people to render honour to everyone,
as becomes their station. They teach those in authority to
fulfill their necessary obligations, not for personal glory
and gain, but out of respect for God and benefit for neighbour.
(1 Thess 4:16) announce about the great and most holy, they
reveal the mysteries of the faith, prophecy and understanding
of the will of God, they intensify deep faith in people, enlightening
their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.
The angel Gabriel announced Daniel with the return of the
children of Israel from captivity, the coming of the Lord
Christ, the time of His coming, that He would be killed, the
destruction of Jerusalem, and that no other Messiah would
come after Him except the anti-Christ. This angel is the one
who announced to Zachariah the birth of John, and six months
later, he came with the glad tidings of the salvation of the
world when he announced to the Virgin Mary saying, And behold,
you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and
shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called
the Son of the Highest; ... And He will reign over the house
of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
(Luke 1:31-33) Therefore, our church has arranged this feast
to venerate this honorable angel.May his intercession be with
us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.