Archangels, our friends before God…

The names of the Angels have special meanings and each one of them carries a unique task , yet they all unite during their executive missions , which are : the unceasing praising of God, their help in order to carry out God’s Economy of salvation of our souls (God’s plan that is often uncomprehendable to us), and finally the protection of our hearts from unclean sights and thoughts, when, with our good presupposition, allow God’s Grace to work through us and to persevere us.

Angels were created in the image of God and with the gift of self-authority and free will .

St. John of Damascus writes that Angels are intellectual, self-authoritative and ever-moving natures. They serve God and immortal by God’s Grace. According to St. Gregory Palamas, they have nous and logos ( Greek word Logos meaning the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel of John with the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ – source oxford languages by languages.oup.com) ,but unlike man , are without a body. The hesychastic life is called Angelic life, inspired by the lives of Angels, that monks should strive for , which is why they receive the Great and Angelic Figure additional to replacing the order of the lost angels.

A Guardian Angel is appointed to accompany each and one of us , in our time of birth, but often , our Guardian Angel has no choice but to turn his face the other way, because of our wicked ways. That is the only time he ever leaves our side. With eyes filled with tears, our Guardian Angel stands before the throne of God, weeping, because he comes with empty hands, while they should have been full of our good deeds and repentance (Metanoia).

Holy Angels and Archangels gather before Jesus Christ ,
the Son of God and 2nd person of the Holy Trinity

They always look out for us and have our best interest at heart; they are the first to rejoice, everytime a sinner repents and re-enters the loving and warming light of our Father, God . Even after His Crucifixion, even after our betrayal when He came to give us a new life , a renewed life, Jesus Christ, the 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, never stopped caring for us and looking for ways to save our heart from the cold darkness of non-existence (away from God’s loving arms). Saint Paisios the Athonite used to be moved to tears by the sacrifice of Jesus, and he would often plead to Him :

” Oh, my God and my Lord, Help me unroot all of my passions; because it would be too much of a burden, to let You down and go to the pit of the eternal fire, after what You have done for me, for us; Help me , my God, because I don’t want to make You sad , even more than we already, as humans have…. “

Like their little brothers , us , they are gifted with free will, one that was tested while many of them chose to be non-existant , to live outside God’s love , during their fall.

Archangel Michael is known to be the only one of the Angels to defend God , to protect the rest of the Heavenly creatures and to inspire the end of their rebellion ; Archangel Michael put a stop to the deviance of the rest of the Angels. He preached with power and zeal to the rest of the Angels, and warned them not to follow the path of the others who became opposite to God , in fractions of a second, and from bright, sweet and beautiful beings, were degraded to repelling ones.

He encouraged all the Angels , and united all the decrees of Angels, to stay in the warmth of God’s love, and to not betray His trust.

“Let us be aware , what the results of their pride were – they , were our bright and loving brothers in Heaven, just a glance ago, and look where they are now ; there is no place left in the sky for them, that they were forced to fall into the earth and loose all their glory. Let us not forget that God is Lord, the One who Created us , and we are His created beings and His servants.”

“Stand still, stand in fear and contrition (respect) in front of God!”

Archangel Michael said to the Angels that joined him in the battle that followed the fall of the enemy of God, from Heaven. Then the Angels that chose to stay in God’s side , came out victorious of this battle in the heavens, and started to chant for God : ” Holy , Holy, Holy Lord, the heavens and the earth is full of Your Glory !”

Archangel Michael, the Commander of all the Angels, was always sweet but became even more dear to God, after proving his love for God in this big heavenly fight . That is why God rewarded Archangel Michael and made him in charge of all the orders of the Angelic creatures ; also Michael is the only Angel who can directly see God’s grace and join the Holy Trinity , before God’s throne. No other Angel can see God the way Archangel Michael does, because he is the only one that loved God with all his heart and all of his might, that is why Archangel Michael – Taxiarchis , is the only Angel the unclean angels , the fallen ones , cannot stand be around Michael’s presence; such is the power that God has given Michael after preaching and holding together the rest of the angelic orders.

Orthodox Icon of the gathering of the Holy Angels that we honor each year on the 8th of November

Archangel Michael is depicted holding in his right hand, a sword or a scepter and a scale. They are both symbols of the authority God has given him and of justice. Its name means “Who Looks Like God.” Archangel of Mercy and Repentance, Leader of the Order of Archangels and Angels, he often appears as a General of the Angelic armies. We honor their triumphant victory every year, on the 8th of November , also known as “The Gathering of Archangels”. The Holy Angels will be next to Jesus Christ, in the day the story of our time will end , during His Second Coming and the Final Judgment . In the Orthodox Church in general we know as Archangels , Michael and Gabriel and Raphael and Uriel (the latter also appears in a vision of St. Niphon for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.


Archangel Michael ‘s icon , placed in the Holy Monastery of Archangel Michael’s Mantamadou,
in the aegean island of Lesvos

Prayer to Archangel Michael, the 1st of the army of God’s Angels , the General of all Holy Angels :

“Lord God, Great King, Uncreated One! Send, O Lord, your Archangel Michael, upon Thy servant (name) in protection of enemies visible and invisible. Archangel of the Lord Michael, give peace and prosperity to thy servant (name).
Archangel of Lord Michael, fighter of the enemy of God, fight the enemies marching against me, make them as lambs, and turn them away as the wind the dust . O Great Archangel of the Lord Michael! Commander-in-Chief, First of the six-wings of Cherubim and Seraphim and all the Saints, be my protector and helper in my sorrows and in the wilderness, in the streets, in the rivers, and in the sea , be like a serene port.

Save me, Archangel Michael, from the evil ones, when you hear me, the sinful servant (name), calling Thy name the Holy One, steadfast when you hear my prayer.

O Great Archangel Michael! Always win (Nika !) over all that is against me , with the power of the Holy and Life-giving Heavenly Cross of the Lord, by the interceding of the Most Holy Theotokos, the Holy Angels, the Apostles, the Holy Prophet Elijah, St. Nicholas the Miraculous, St. Andrew , fool for Christ (Salos), the Holy Martyr Nikitas and Efstathios and all Thy Saints.

O Great Archangel Michael! Help Thy sinful servant (name), save me from earthquake, flood, and fire, from invisible enemies, from foolish death, from all, Great Michael, Archangel of the Lord, now and on the ages of ages. Amen.” – uncreated prayer

In the Orthodox Church on the 26th of March, one day after the Αnnunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos , Panagia as we call her in the Orthodox – Greek church , we honor the Archangel Gabriel’s gathering, while on the 6th of September we commemorate the miracle of Archangel Michael at the Colossians of Phrygia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3bqquYoyi491

Above : listen to the Paraklessis of Archangel (Archon) Michael, in memory of the miracle in Phrygia | Orthodox Christian Church of Saint Isidoroi, Lycabettus , Athens , Greece

Orthodox Christian Church of Saint Isidoroi, Lycabettus, Athens, Greece

In some part of Phrygia, the earth ascended holy water with the power of Archangel Michael. This water was miraculous and healed every disease of the sick. A pious Christian built a temple on the Holy Water , in honor of God, after the miraculously healing of his daughter . After 90 years, a young man named Archippus came to the temple. The godly young man stayed as a servant in the temple and lived an ascetic and temperate life. As soon as the pagans realized this man’s presence, they were very annoyed and began to beat Archippus. Then they rushed to destroy the temple and to cease the Holy water. But the power of the Archangel was enormous and their hands remained paralyzed, while at the same time flames prevented every movement of the impious. Such was their anger and hatred that prompted them to divert the nearby river, to sweep away the temple and drown Archippus.

Archangel Michael acted miraculously again! The river turned backwards! Then they thought of merging two more rivers. But Archangel Michael presented himself to Archippus and, after he took him out of the temple, made the sign of the cross, and the waters of the rivers stood up like a built up wall. Then , Archangel Michael commanded the waters to merge , and so it was done. To this day, in that place where the miracle happened, the waters of the rivers are joined together and that is why the place was called Chonai (from the greek word Χωναί , which means joined, merged or digested)!

Above : Orthodox Christian Icons of Archon , Archangel Michael

in the monastery of Panormitis in Symi island

The unexplainable mystery of messages in a bottle, on the aegean island of Symi !

There is a great ongoing miracle on the Orthodox Christian Monastery of Archangel Michael (also known as Taxiarchis Michael , which means General of the army of Angels of God). It is inexplicable how hundreds , even thousands of them reach the final destination! Containers, bottles, and parcels sent from the oceans travel as if they have a compass to the Monastery of Taxiarchis Michael in Symi. They always arrive, for the sake of those who in true faith make their vow, and always get an answer from the Monastery.

Archangel Michael, also known Panormitis, in addition to the countless confirmed Miracles he has performed and performed for hundreds of years in this Holy Monastery of Symi, also performs a timeless and at the same time unique worldwide Miracle, to those believers who are in various parts of the world and do not have the opportunity to come to his Monastery themselves: the person who is currently unable to visit the Holy Monastery, can place Incense in a small bottle, either bottled water or orangeade, a paper with the “For Health” and the “For Rest” names of those he wishes, a piece of paper with his Name, address or telephone number. He can also include a letter to the Monastery, for any issue that concerns him and would like it to become a matter of prayer in the Holy Monastery. After placing all these requests to Archangel Taxiarchis Michael inside and closing the bottle, which can be, either from a port or from a ship that is offshore, throw the bottle into the sea, after first praying to Archangel Michael Panormitis and asking him to lead it himself to his Monastery in Symi. Also, the faithful dedicate brooms in front of the great silver icon of Archangel Michael, asking Taxiarchis to cleanse evil from their lives (see second picture above). There are also a lot of athletes who dedicate their trophies to Archangel Michael , Taxiarchis , because of the help they received through him and a lot of men who have served the military, often offer silver swords to the monastery of the Archangel, to show their gratitude for the Archangel’s protection over their hazardous profession.

Archangel Michael Panormitis (after the Monastery ‘s name , dedicated to Archangel Michael, the General of God) will take it over and the bottle with the tributes and requests will finally reach Symi, in the bay of the Holy Monastery, or else it will get entangled in the nets of fishermen of the island. In any case, however, its final destination will be to end up intact in the hands of the people of the Monastery, who in turn (as a confirmation of the Miracle, “for the Glory of God”) will send a letter of thanks to the believer who sent it, thanking him with Tributes. In the Holy Monastery are kept to this day Tributes, which traveled alone for Panormitis from different parts of the world (such as Australia) and from various eras. In the old days, the faithful even sent their Tributes in this way in glass bottles, even in boxes! The Monastery is located at the southern end of the island and is built in the beautiful bay of Panormos, while from the very first Christian centuries it was one of the Centers of local Piety to the Angels. Today’s Church, within which dominates, possessing natural dimensions, the Ephesian Miraculous Icon of Archangel Michael, is built in 1783,The hagiography was carried out in 1792 by two indigenous hagiographers, the Hieromonk Neophytos and Kyriakos Karakostis. Above the main Gate of the Holy Monastery is the famous Bell Tower of Panormitis (Building of 1911), which is related to Russian Bell Towers.

Archangel Raphael

Archangels are closer to God than the other Angels, and their names hold special meanings. The name of Archangel Raphael, means the Lord heals, satisfies the requests. Every name in the Old Testament hid a symbolism or message. In the Book of Scripture “Tovit”, we read that the elder Tobias sent his son Tovit to the Rails of Midia to ask Gavael for the borrowings he had given him, so that he could cope with the difficulties of life as he died. Tovit made this long journey with a wonderful attendant, who stood by him to the end as an indispensable assistant, Raphael.

According to the Bible, Raphael was an “Angel of the Lord” who went along with him and who helped him return back safe and sound (Tob. ch. 5 &amp. 12)! It is worth remembering – to justify the meaning of his name – that Raphael at some point healed Tovit’s wife, Sarah, and towards the end of this whole journey, he gave the light back to the faithful blind old man Tobias!
Raphael is regarded as one of the “seven angels” of the Revelation of John, who, holding a golden censer, offers to the throne of God the prayers of the people (Rev. 8:3-5) and in thee Holy Icon is depicted holding an alabaster container in the left hand that contains medicine.

Archangel Raphael

Saint Makarios, a Roman by descent, was the son of a senator. When he came of age, his parents forced him to marry. But he, on the night of the wedding, abandoned the bride and disappeared.

Walking across the desert, he met an old man.
– Where are you going, Father? asked him.
“Wherever you go,” he replied.

The saint followed the old man, so they both walked for many days in the wilderness. Shortly before they reached their destination, the elder became invisible. Makarios began to grieve and cry.

Then the old man appeared again and said to him:
– I am Archangel Raphael. Praise God, because you have overcome the dark places and reached the brighter ones. Immediately Archangel disappeared, while the saint happily continued his course. In five days he reached a cave. There he settled and practiced asceticism.

Archangel Raphael

With the passing of the years his hair became white as snow and his skin as hard as a turtle’s.

His eyebrows went down low and covered his eyes, while his beard reached to his knees.

Once the saint was cruelly tempted by the demon of fornication, and felt for a moment his heart leaning towards sin. But he immediately recovered and, bitterly repentant, began to leave the cave.

Then his patron Archangel Raphael appeared before him and said to him:
– Where are you going, Makarie?
– I am leaving the place where I sinned.
– Couldn’t you endure a temptation? Go back to your cell.
– Who are you, my lord?
– I am Archangel Raphael, who led you down this road.

And in saying this, Archangel Raphael became invisible.

Archangel Raphael

The saint returned to his cave, knelt down to his ground, and thus spent fasting forty days.

As soon as he got up, he saw the cave full of light. He even saw someone young, purple-clad and crowned with a golden crown. He even heard him sing an unheard-of ode in a rich voice, as if many were singing together. As soon as the chanting stopped, an overpowering , unusual scent spread around.

And immediately the young man who was brighter than a ray of light, Archangel Raphael, flew into the sky and perished from his eyes.

Archangel Raphael
Archangel Uriel

Archangel Uriel is known as “The Executive Angel, the Angel Who Serves., or the Archangel of Salvation”. The Archangel’s name means “The Light of God”, and he is depicted holding a fire in his right hand which represents the great gift that God gave to man, love . The Angel brings the divine light to our lives, as it transforms the painful memories and frees us from the painful burdens or responsibilities of the past; his special mission is the custody of our souls. Ancient sources reveal that Archangel Uriel is associated with the arts, poetry , music and prophecies.

He is also known to be the Archangel of hades, as he is the one who lives the misery of the ones that have not made it to heaven and taste the eternal suffering , away from God. He sings the eighth verse of the 81st psalm: ” Let God Resurrect, and judge the earth!” ; he prays that the day of Judgment will come quickly… something that will be redemption for all mankind… since he will escape the shackles of this ephemeral and earthen world. He is sometimes described as the “Archangel of Salvation”, or “the Fire of God”. The symbol of Uriel is an open hand holding a flame, and is said to symbolize the flame of love, the great gift of God to mankind… Saint Nifon once had a vision of the Archangel Uriel, and he said that he was so alluring and brighter than a lightening and the snow.

Archangel Uriel
Archangel Uriel

The Archangel Gabriel always accompanies the Holy Theotokos and Mother of Jesus Christ and is the one who announced to her the joyful message of the Annunciation and Her departure from this paper world and metastasis (etymological transition) to the real world and real life.
Αrchangel Gabriel is one of the Αrchangels and few angels mentioned in the Bible. His name means “man of God”.

Archangel Gabriel

Gabriel in Hebrew means “Power of God.” He is also called the Angel of Truth and it is said that he will be the one who on the Day of Judgment will call on the living and the dead to face the final Judgment of the Holy Trinity. He also was the one who burned down Sodom and Gomorrah.

It was the archangel Gabriel who revealed to the Prophet Daniel that seventy years will last the captivity of the Israelites because of their apostasy from God, but also that the Messiah will come into the world in four hundred years. (Daniel | 9:21-25). The archangel Gabriel is the angel who appeared to the prophet Daniel, his wife Manoe, and announced to her that he would give birth to Samson. To the priest Zechariah, that he will give birth to St. John the Baptist, and imposed on him the rebuke of dissonance until birth , in his disbelief.

He was the messenger of God who brought Mary, the Holy Mother of God – the Most Holy Theotokos the announcement about the Divine conception :

” Hail, Mary full of Grace ! Blessed thy among women , the Lord Is with You ! and Blessed be the fruit of your womb , that will give birth to our Messiah !”

Archangel Gabriel

and the one who looked after her in the temple when she was a child. He allayed Joseph’s fears and explained to him about how the child that Mary would give birth to, was a fruit of the Holy Spirit and that he should look after her and the baby. He presented himself to the shepherds, when the Uncreated King, Jesus Christ was born. He also announced to Joseph to take Mary and the infant and flee to Egypt and after some time, return to the land of Israel. It was he who rolled the rock from the tomb of Jesus and the one who brought the message to the myrrh-bearing women about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ ; and served the mystery of the incarnation of Logos – the divine word , from beginning till the end.

Archangel Gabriel

Since Gabriel was the Archangel that accomnpanied the Most Holy Theotokos from the time she was an infant and entered the temple, it was also Gabriel who brought her the message of her departure from this world, three days before Her Metastasis to Heaven.

In the modern history of the church, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to a monk on Mount Athos, in front of the icon of the Virgin Mary, to sing Axion Esti. The monk was very pleased with the hymn and was saddened that he could not save anywhere, by writing it down. But the Archangel Gabriel wrote this hymn with his finger on a marble stone and this icon of our Virgin Mary, was named Axion Esti (because the hymn was called Axion Esti as well) and is located in the central temple of Karyes on Mount Athos, to remind that just like Archangel Gabriel, all the Angels are alive, they are among us and they are our good friends, our great brothers from whom we can ask for help at any time.

Most Holy Theotokos Mother of God and Archangel Gabrielrare icon of
the Annunciation of Holy Mother of God, Panagia

Gabriel in Hebrew means “Power of God.” He is also called the Angel of Truth and it is said that he will be the one who on the Day of Judgment will call on the living and the dead to face the final Judgment of the Holy Trinity. He also was the one who burned Sodom and Gomorrah.Saint Gregory Palamas writes that the Angels were made before the creation of the universe. They have many missions – to help souls find their way, to protect man from the enemy of God, to serve God’s Holy Saints , to take our soul before the throne of God when we die. They are the ones that help us and guide us through our trial of the Aerial Toll houses ; they are always our big brothers, ready to help us, if we allow them to, with our good pressupossitions. Archangel Michael is the one who takes one’s soul out of the mouth and delivers it before God’s throne for the outcome of His Judgement. That is it is important that we pray for our family and friends that have exited this temporary inn (Saint John Chrysostom), because the Angels offer these prayers to God for the souls that have hard time making the transition from the toll-houses to the peace of heaven, due to lack of good deeds or because of unconfessed sins , which do not give Angels the right to defend one’s soul in the heavenly court. These prayers (memorial services, 40 day liturgies, etc) and almsgiving in the name of the departed one , can help the lost soul pass through the toll houses and having finally something good to offer to God, something that will justify their entrance and forever stay in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We should never leave the liturgy, before the end, when the priest says ” Di’ efchon” , because only that’s when the Angels leave the church; until then, they participating in the divine liturgy with the priest.

The late abbot of Saint David, elder Iakovos Tsalikis (†1991), lived wonderful experiences in all the holy services, but especially during the divine liturgy. During the services, the abbot shone with purity and magnificence. Often, at the great entrance or at the Holy Prothesis, they saw him not stepping on the ground, but standing and walking in the air. Many times he saw Angels and Archangels holding the Body of the Lord on the altar. “People,” he said, “are blind and do not see what is happening in the temple during the Divine Liturgy.” ” I was in the middle of the service, but I had a hard time getting started for the big entrance of the temple, from the wonders that my eyes could see. The cantor said again and again, “The King of all, we welcome.” Suddenly, I feel someone pushing me by the shoulder and leading me to the Holy Prothesis.I thought he was the psalter.

Orthodox Icon of the Archangels Gabriel (he is holding the icon of Holy Mother of God) , Archangel Michael , Archangel Raphael

I wondered that the blessed man dared to do such disrespect—to come in through the great gate (Oraia Pili ) and push me. I turn around, and what to see! A huge wing, which the Archangel had passed over my shoulder, led me to proceed for the great entrance… “What happens in the temple at the time of the Divine Liturgy! The Cherubic Angels go up and down, and I often feel their wings clapping on my shoulders. Sometimes I can’t stand it (overwhelmed) and sit on the chair. The other priests think I’ve suffered something, but they don’t feel what I see and hear. What a flutter, my child, the angels! And as soon as the priest says “Δι’ Ευχών ,” ( ” Di’ Efchon”) the heavenly powers leave. Then inside the temple spreads absolute silence!”

“Tonight, my child,” he once revealed to a monk, “I was performing liturgy with Saints and Angels on altars that cannot be described. When the time comes and I die, please say that an old man once performed Divine Liturgy every night, together with the Holy Trinity and lived with the Holy Trinity.” When Fr. James performed a memorial service, he often saw the spiritual state of the deceased he was commemoraring.

“Every time I comemorate ,” he said, “I see the souls passing by in front of me and begging me to remember them. And even if I want to forget them I can’t. While every priest takes out portions and mentions the names in the Holy Prothesis, an Angel of the Lord descends, takes the ( portion of bread we offer in the church , to say prayers about our loved ones – look up for “prosforo”) remembrance and takes it to the throne of the Lord Christ as a prayer for those whose memory we have honored. So , you must always remember about how much it is worth mentioning the deceased ones in the Holy Prothesis.”

One time the elder forgot to mention his mother in the commemoration of the names, and she appeared and said to him , complainting:
– Father James, you did not remember me (read a prayer for my name) today!

– What do you mean I didn’t remember you , mother! Every day I commemorate you, I even choose the best portion (of bread , prosforo) for you !

– No, my child, today you have forgotten me, and my soul does not rest as much as on other days.

Source: A holy elder, the late Fr. James, ed. Fathers of the Monastery of Osios David, Rovies, Evia 1993

There are many appearances and strong references of Angels, our Holy Brothers in Heaven, in the Old Testament and the New Testament too.

Genesis 32 :2

Jacob’s Fear of Esau

1And Jacob went on his way, and the Angels of God met him. 2And when Jacob saw them, he said, This Is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Daniel 10 :13

Daniel Comforted

10Then behold, a hand touched me and set me unsteadily on my [d]hands and knees. 11So he said to me, “O Daniel, you highly regarded and greatly beloved man, understand the words that I am about to say to you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And while he was saying this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13But the [e]prince of the kingdom of Persia was standing in opposition to me for twenty-one days. Then, behold, Michael, one of the chief [of the celestial] princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. 14Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision is in regard to the days yet to come.”

Thessalonians A’ 4:16

The Comfort of Christ’s Coming

Believers Who Have Died

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

The Gathering of the Archangels on the 8th of November

Sources :

http://www.romfea.gr

http://www.ekklisiaonline.gr

https://choratouaxoritou.gr/

http://www.saint.gr

http://www.olympia.gr

http://www.synaxarion.gr

http://www.1myblog.pblogs.gr

http://www.proskynitis.blogspot.gr

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