My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE CELESTIAL HIERARCHIES
When Adam and Eve were cast out from Paradise and the Lord God "caused him to dell over against the garden of Delight, He STATIONED THE CHERUBS AND THE FIERY SWORD that turns about to keep the way of the Tree of Life [Genesis 3:24]." In the Psalter, there are many references to Angels, as well as in the prophetical writings and the Book of Job, "When the stars were made, all My Angels praised Me with a loud voice [Job 38:7]."
"The Prophet Isaiah writes: "I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, and the house was full of His glory. And Seraphs stood round about Him. Each one had six wings; and with two, they covered their face, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one cried to the other, and they said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the lintel shook at the voice they uttered, and the house was filled with smoke…And there was sent me one of the Seraphs, and he had in his hand a coal, which he had taken off the altar with the tongs: and he touched my mouth, and said, ‘Behold, this has touched thy lips, and will take away thine iniquities, and will purge off thy sins" (Isaiah 6:1-7).
"The Prophet Ezekiel beheld the Cherubim in his vision of the temple and wrote: "I looked, and, behold, over the firmament that waw above the head of the Cherubs there was a likeness of a throne over them, as a sapphire stone… and I saw the Cherubs having the likeness of men’s hands under their wings. And I saw, and behold, FOUR WHEELS STOOD BY THE CHERUBS, ONE WHEEL BY EACH CHERUB. AND THE APPEARANCE OF THE WHEELS WAS AS THE APPEARANCE OF A CARBUNCLE STONE. AND AS FOR THEIR APPEARANCE, THERE WAS ONE LIKENESS TO THE FOUR, AS IF THERE SHOULD BE A WHEEL IN THE MIDST OF A WHEEL. WHEN THEY WENT, THEY WENT ON THEIR FOUR SIDES; THEY TURNED NOT WHEN THEY WENT, FOR WHICHEVER WAY THE FIRST HEAD LOOKED, THEY WENT; AND THEY TURNED NOT AS THEY WENT. And their backs, and their hands, and their wings, and the wheels, WERE FULL OF EYES ROUND ABOUT THE FOUR WHEELS. And these wheels were called Gelgel (St. Jerome writes that it means"REVELATION.")… Then the glory of the Lord departed from the house and went up on the Cherubs…
"Saint Dionysios the Areopagite writes: "How many ranks are there among the heavenly beings? What kind are they?… According to him, the first group is forever around God and is said to be permanently united with Him ahead of any of the others and with no intermediary. Here, then, are the most holy ‘THRONES’ and the orders said to possess many eyes and many wings, called in Hebrew the ‘CHERUBIM’ and ‘SERAPHIM’…The second group, he says, is made up of ‘AUTHORITIES,’ ‘DOMINIONS’, and of the heavenly hierarchies, is the group of ‘ANGELS.’ ‘ARCHANGELS,’ and ‘PRINCIPALITIES.’
"The title of the most sublime and exalted ‘thrones’ conveys that in them there is a transcendence over every earthly defect, as shown by their upward-bearing toward the ultimate hights, that they are forever separated from what is inferior, and that they are completely intent upon remaining always sin the presence of Him Who is truly the Most High, that, free of all passion and material concern, they are utterly available to receive the Divine visitation, that they bear God and are ever open, like servants, to welcome God.
"The revealing name ‘dominions’ signifies, in my view, a lifting up which is free, unfettered by earthly tendencies, and not inclined toward any of those tyrannical dissimilarities which characterize a harsh dominion… It rejects empty appearances, returns completely to the True Lord, and shares as far as it can in that everlasting and divine Source of all dominion.
"The term ‘heavenly principalities’ refers to those who possess a godlike and princely hegemony, with a sacred order most suited to princely powers. They have the ability to be returned completely toward that Principle which is above all principles and to lead other to Him like a prince, and the power to receive, to the full, the mark of the Principle of principles and, by their harmonious exercise of princely powers, to make manifest this transcendent Principle of all orders.
"The holy ‘authorities,’ as their name indicates, have an equal order with the divine dominions and powers. They are so placed that they can receive God in a harmonious and unconfused way and indicate way and indicate the ordered nature of the celestial and intellectual authority. They do no tyrannous harm to the inferiors. They are harmonious and unfailing uplifted toward the things of God, and, in their goodness, they lift up with them the ranks of those inferior to them.
The Names of the Archangels
"In the Holy Scripture, we find the names of some of the Archangels. Archangel Michael, whose name signifies "Who is like unto God?" Archangel Gabriel, whose name signifies "Man of God", Archangel Raphael, whose name signifies "God heals," Archangel Uriel, whose name signifies "The Fire or mercy of God" Archangel Salathiel, whose name signifies "Prayer to God", or Archangel Phalitiel. Apart from these names, although pious tradition lists two other Archangels, they are not listed in Holy Scripture: Jehudiel, whose name signifies "The praise of God", and Barachiel, whose name signifies "The blessing of God." (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George