Monday, November 08, 2010

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael & the other Bodiless Powers: Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salaphiel, Jegudiel, & Barachiel

Commemorated on November 8

All the Angels, according to the Apostle Paul, are ministering spirits, - sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation - (Heb. 1:14). God set them as overseers of every nation and people, and guides to that which is profitable (Deut. 32:8); and while one Angel is appointed to oversee each nation as a whole, one is also appointed to protect each Christian individually. He commands them to guard them that hope on Him, that nothing should harm them, neither should any evil draw nigh to their dwelling (Ps. 90:10-12). In the Heavens they always behold the face of God, sending up to Him the thrice-holy hymn and interceding with Him in our behalf, seeing they rejoice over one sinner that repents (Esaias 6:2-3; Matt. 18:10; Luke 15:7). In a word, they have served God in so many ways for our benefit, that the pages of Holy Scripture are filled with the histories thereof. It is for these reasons that the Orthodox Catholic Church, wisely honouring these divine ministers, our protectors and guardians, celebrates today the present Synaxis that is, our coming together in assembly for their common feast to chant their praises, especially for the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, who are mentioned in the Scriptures by name. The name Michael means "Who is like God?" and Gabriel means "God is mighty." The number of Angels is not defined in the divine Scriptures, where Daniel says that thousands of thousands ministered before Him, and ten thousands of ten thousands attended upon Him -(Dan. 7:10). But all of them are divided into nine orders which are called Thrones, Cherubim, Seraphim, Dominions, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.

The name Michael means "Who is like God?"

The Archangel Gabriel whose name means "the strength (power) of God," is the herald and servitor of Divine omnipotence (Dan 8:16, Luke 1:26). He announces the mysteries of God.

On icons the Archangels are depicted in according to the character of their service:

Gabriel appears with a branch from Paradise, presented by him to the Most Holy Virgin, or with a shining lantern in his right hand and with a mirror made of jasper in his left.

The Archangel Raphael, whose name means "the healing of God," is the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3:16, 12:15)

Raphael holds a vessel with healing medications in his left hand, and with his right hand leads Tobias, carrying a fish for healing (Tobit 5-8).

The Archangel Uriel, whose name means" the fire or light of God" (2 Ezdras 4:1, 5:20, 10:28). We pray for him to enlighten those with darkened minds.

Uriel in his raised right hand holds a naked sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand "a fiery flame."

The Archangel Selaphiel, whose name means "the prayer of God, impelling to prayer" (3 Ezdras 5:16). He prays to God for mankind.

Selaphiel in a prayerful posture, gazing downwards, hands folded on the chest.

The Archangel Jehudiel, whose name means "one who glorifies God," encourages us to strive for the glory of the Lord, and intercedes for our efforts to be rewarded.

Jehudiel holds a golden crown in his right hand, in his left, a whip of three red (or black) thongs.

The Archangel Barachiel, whose name means "the blessing of God," entreats the mercy of God for people.

Barachiel is shown with a white rose on his breast.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O Commanders of the Heavenly Host, we the unworthy beseech you, that through your entreaties you will fortify us, guarding us in the shelter of the wings of your ethereal glory, even as we fervently bow before you crying: "Deliver us from all danger, as Commanders of the Powers on high! "

Kontakion in the Second Tone
Chief Commanders of God; ministers of divine glory; guides for men and leadership of the Incorporeal; as Chief Commanders of the Incorporeal, plead for our welfare and for great mercy.



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