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, we allow God’s Grace to work through us and to persevere us.
The Bible clearly and firmly testifies that Angels incessantly communicate with this world. The Sacred Tradition of the Orthodox Church teaches us the names of the seven leaders of the angelic powers: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel and Varahiil (sometimes an eighth, Jeremiah, is also referred).
Angels were created in the image of God and with the gift of self-authority and free will .
Saint 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 Saint 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.
Above : Orthodox Christian Icon of Archangel Gabriel (holding the icon of the Holy Mother of God), Archangel Michael (holding a departured soul on his hand ) and Archangel Raphael (has fish under his feet, an early symbolism of Jesus’ sacrifice – see Tovit and fish, metanoia and change – also ΙΧΘΥΣ are the Greek initials of words who mean Ιησούς – Jesus, Χριστός – Christ, Θεού – God’s , Υιός – Son, Σωτήρ – Savior )
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).
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).
They experience the fall of the human nature, similar to what Saint Paisios the Athonite described, as he was usually 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…. ”
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.
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 “Salathiel” means “the one who prays to God“ or “ambassador to God” (3 Ezra 5:16). He is the Archangel who always prays to God for the salvation and health of the people and urging people to pray too. He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his chest prayerfully folded on his chest, as is the case of a person in a tenderly prayerful posture. In some versions of the icon of Archangel Salathiel, where he is standing in a cloud, you can see a smoking censer, also symbolizing the heartfelt prayer. It was Archangel Salathiel who appeared to Hagar in the wilderness as she prayed with deep sorrow. He told her: “… the Lord heard your sufferings.” (Gen 16:11). Saint Inokentios of Kherson writes of Archangel Salathiel:
“And now the Lord gave us the whole face of the angels of prayer, with their leader Archangel Salathiel, that by the clear breath of their mouths they might warm our cold hearts in prayer, guide us when and how to pray, that they might offer most of our offerings to the throne of grace.
Archangel “Jegudiel” means “he who glorifies God“, or praise of God. On the right hand, he has a golden wreath ; he also has a triple whip on his left hand. The crown is not depicted in vain: it is a reward for every Christian who works for the glory of the Creator. The golden crown is a reward from God for useful and pious labors to men, and in his left hand, the scourge of three ropes with three limbs, is a punishment for sinners for laziness in pious labors.
Archangel Jegudiel is the Angel sent by God to precede the people of Israel in the conquest of the land of Canaan. When Moses, after forty days of fasting and prayers, ascended Mount Sinai, God appeared to him and by giving him the tablets of the covenant, He gave him the law that the people of Israel had to observe. And the Lord said, “Behold, I send before you My Angel (it was Archangel Jedugiel) to keep you on the way and lead you to the place I have prepared for you. Watch yourself in front of him. Do not insist against him, for he will not forgive your sin, for My name is upon him: When My angel comes before you and leads you to the Amorites,To the Hittites, the Ferezians, the Canaanites, the Eveans, and the Jebusians, and destroy them on your behalf, then do not worship their gods and do not serve them and do not imitate their works, but crush them and destroy their pillars.” (E.g. XXIII, 20-21, 23-24).
Archangel Jedugiel is the protector of ascetics and monks, the Archangel that strengthens the workers who act for the glory of God and intercedes in return for their deeds and labors. He is the patron saint of all those who work hard. The crown he holds symbolizes the reward for intellectual work. Along with other hierarchs of Angels, he is the counselor and protector of all who work for the glory of the Lord, especially kings, judges, and other leadership positions.
Archangel “Jeremiah” means “glorification of God” or “God’s mercy”. He is honored as an inspirer of high thoughts that elevate man to God. He is source of motivation for people to devote more time to spiritual aspects and make the maximum effort in them. In the process of understanding, Archangel Jeremiah will be nearby, and his help will not be long in coming. It will help a person to know Divine wisdom and mercy. This divine servant will indicate the spiritual path that will be right and lead to the salvation of the human soul. He is mentioned in the Third Book of Ezra. He was present at the first conversation of the Archangel Uriel with the priest Ezra and answered the latter’s question about the signs preceding the end of the sinful world and the beginning of the eternal kingdom of the righteous (3 Ezra 4:36).
He is pictured holding a scale in his right hand, as a sign of justice. According to his name, Archangel Jeremiah is sent from above by God to man, to assist in our rebirth- the return of man to God. The Archangel not only opens up the gloomy perspective of the sinful world, but also helps to see in the dying world the sacred grains of eternal life (see John 12:24) Also, according to legend, he is a heavenly prophet of revelations and also helps the souls of people who have just died to reexamine their lives.
Archangel “Varahiil” means “Blessing of God.” He is depicted holding a white rose near his chest in his hand. He is the Angel of God’s blessings that is why he is depicted with many colors in his clothes, which represent the gifts of the Lord. Since God’s blessings are different, the ministry of this Archangel is manifold: through him the blessing of God is sent to every good deed, to every good worldly occupation, for the prayers, labors, and moral conduct of men, and foreshadow bliss and endless peace in the Kingdom of Heaven. Archangel Varahiil is the giver of God’s blessings to people for good deeds and a mediator, asking people for God’s mercy and blessing to live a life of spiritual health and salvation, protector of pious families, guardian of the purity of soul and body.
It is necessary to accept the earthly blessings and earthly happiness sent by God through Archangel Varahiil with gratitude, but we must accept them in a way that we do not forget using them for a good purpose. Finally, we must firmly remember that in the next life we will have to face God’s judgement. And according to the Savior, there will be weeping and teeth grinding (Matthew 22:13).
Archangel “Michael” in Hebrew means “who is like God?” The holy Archangel Michael was already depicted by the early Christians as a General, who holds a spear in his right hand, and in his left hand he holds a green palm branch. On top of the spear is a linen ribbon with a red cross.
Archangel Michael is regarded as the guardian of the Orthodox faith, who fights against heresies.
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 , 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.
“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!”
“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 Heavens 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.”
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 ; for example, 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. According to the tradition of the Orthodox Christian Fathers of the Church, Michael is the one who delivels the souls of the departed ones in front of God and was the one who fought with the dark one over Moses‘ body, when he died.
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”.
Michael also has been associated with healing in other cases, as well as his primary role as leader of the Church Militant. He has been said to appear to Emperor Constantine the Great (d. 337) at Constantinople, to have intervened in assorted battles, and appeared, sword in hand, over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St. Gregory I the Great (r. 590-604) that a plague in Rome should cease.
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.
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 that Archangels, Michael and Gabriel and Raphael and Uriel (the latter also appears in a vision of Saint Niphon for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
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
The Monastery of Mantamados, in the Aegean Island of Mytilini and the amazing story behind the miraculous icon of Archangel Michael (Taxiarchis).
At the location Lesvados, north of the town of Mantamados, is one of the greatest pilgrimages nor only of Lesvos (Mytilini), but of Greece as well, dedicated to the patron Saint of the island, Taxiarchis Michael (Archangel Michael).
According to tradition, the monastery existed already in the 10th century and towards its end it was attacked by Saracen pirates, who destroyed the facilities and slaughtered the monks. Only a novice monk, Gabriel, survived who made the miraculous icon of Taxiarchis by the blood of the monks and clay. The first historical testimony for the existence of the monastery, however, is a document from 1661 and a nearly contemporary inscription to the church itself. It is also well known that in the 18th century the old small catholicon was replaced by a new, older church.
The complex resembled a fortress, since it is surrounded by tall buildings and a tower-steeple on the northwestern side. The present day catholicon, which dominated in the area, was constructed in 1879 and belongs to the type of three-aisled basilica. At its interior a dominant place is occupied by the relief icon of Archangel Michael, unique of its kind, which is kept inside a luxurious canopymade in 1766. At the church they also keep the sakkos and the epitrachelion (liturgical vestments) of the Patriarch Gregory V, at a special spot right of the entrance. The relics were given by the Patriarch himself to his protosyncellus (principal deputy) Porphyrios, who later became Metropolitan of Mytilene.
Noteworthy are the small metallic shoes dedicated to the church by the faithful, since according to tradition Taxiarchis wears out his shoes travelling over the island during the night.
More information on Archangel Michael of Mantamados:
Official site to the Orthodox Christian Monastery of Archangel Michael :
Other religious sights in the Aegean island of Mytilini :
The Monastery of Agios Raphael
On the hill of Karyes, over the Loutropoli Thermis, amidst the olive groves is the Monastery of Agios Raphael, an important pilgrimage in Lesvos (Mytilini), which attracts a lot of visitors each year. According to tradition, it was funded in the Byzantine Period and it was dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary. In 1235 it was destroyed by pirates and its prioress Olympia was killed. In 1433 they re-founded it and in 1454it flourished when the monk Raphael and deacon Nikolaos settled there. In 1463 the monastery was totally destroyed by the Turks, finding as an excuse a rebellion of the people. The monks and the faithful were slaughtered, while the abbot Raphael, Nikolaos and the girl Eirini, daughter of the local ruler also died there. The monastery was in ruins and during the Turkish Occupation only a chapel of the Virgin Mary was there. After the liberation of Greece, the estates of the area became the property of civilians and during the works for constructing a new church, in 1959, the people revealed and identified the ruins of the monastery and the tombs with the remains of the three saints. The present day women’s monastery was founded in 1963 and it was inaugurated in 1969.
Official site of the Monastery :
Archangel Michael’s many miracles
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 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. Archangel Raphael is a doctor of human diseases. 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.
Archangel “Raphael” means “Divine healing” or “God the healer” (Tovit 3, 17 and 12, 15). Raphael is depicted driving with his right hand Tovit (who is holding a fish caught in the Tigris River) and with his left an alabaster medical sheath. 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 &. 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.
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.
Above : Orthodox Christian Icons of 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 for a moment felt 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.
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.
Above: Orthodox Christian Icons of Archangel Uriel
Archangel “Uriel” means “Fire of God”, or “Light of God”, the enlightener (3 Ezra 3.1 and 5.20).
He is depicted holding a bare sword against the Persians in his right hand and a fiery flame in his left, representing his zealous love for God. Archangel Uriel is the enlightener of mental and physical emotions, the mentor of the lost, the awakened through prayer. Archangel “Uriel” , being the radiance of the fire of the Divine, is the enlightener of the darkness, he illuminates people’s minds by revealing truths that are useful to them. Like the Divine Fire, he lights up hearts with love for God and destroys in them the unclean attachments of the earth. People who are dedicated to science , here is your Archangel! Do not forget to follow his example and be servants not only of the light of truth, but also of the fire of Divine Love. As the Holy Apostle Paul said in (1 Corinthians 8:1).
“We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The one who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.…”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. Archangel Uriel – is the enlightener of the dark, the unbelievers and the ignorant, and the very name of the archangel, corresponding to his special ministry, means “Fire of God” as well as “Light of God”.
As an Angel of light, he enlightens people’s minds by revealing truths that are useful to them. as the Angel of Divine fire, he inflames hearts with love for God and destroys unclean earthly attachments in them. 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. 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 Niphon 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 “Gabriel” means “Man of God”, the “power of God”. He is the messenger of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all the mysteries associated with it. He is usually depicted holding in his right hand a lantern with an illuminated candle and in his left hand a mirror made of green jasper. The mirror marks the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.
Archangel Gabriel always accompanies the Most 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. Archangel Gabriel is the heavenly messenger sent by God to announce to people His plans for the salvation of mankind.
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). 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 !”
and was 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.
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 The Annunciation (or Evangelismos in Greek). The Annunciation of Theotokos is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on March 25. According to the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear a son, even though she “knew no man.” According to holy tradition Mary had come home to her parents when she was only fifteen when she was visited by Gabriel.
It was also Archangel Gabriel who brought Panagia 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 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.
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.
Today is the beginning of our salvation,The revelation of the eternal mystery!The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:Rejoice, O Full of Grace,The Lord is with You!
Kontakion (Tone 8)O Victorious Leader of Triumphant Hosts!We, your servants, delivered from evil, sing our grateful thanks to you, O Theotokos!As you possess invincible might, set us free from every calamitySo that we may sing: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride!
Troparion (Tone 4)Today is the prelude of joy for the universe!Let us anticipate the feast and celebrate with exultation:Gabriel is on his way to announce the glad tidings to the Virgin;He is ready to cry out in fear and wonder:Rejoice, O Full of Grace, the Lord is with You!
Kontakion (Tone 8)You are the beginning of salvation for all of us on earth, Virgin Mother of God.For the great Archangel Gabriel, God’s minister,Was sent from heaven to stand before you to bring you joy:Therefore, we all cry to you: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride.
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.
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.
Michael first appears in the Old Testament in the book of Joshua’s account of the fall of Jericho. Though Michael is not mentioned by name in the text, it is said that Joshua “looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.” When the still unaware Joshua asks which side of the fight the Archangel is on, Michael responds, “neither…but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come” (Joshua 5:13-14) The Church Fathers also ascribe to Michael the following events: During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; the power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25). Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 14:33-37). It was The Archangel Michael disputed with the evil one over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).
Genesis 32 :2
Jacob’s Fear of Esau
Daniel 10 :13
In the book of Daniel, Michael appears first to help the Archangel Gabriel defeat the Persians (Daniel |10:13). In a later vision it is revealed to Daniel that “at that time [the end times] Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then…” (Daniel : Ch. 12). Michael thus plays an important role as the protector of Israel and later of his chosen people, the Church.
Daniel : 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.
Saint Nikolaos Velimirovich
The Prologue of Ahridos