8th November – The Synaxis of Michael the Chief Commander, and the other Bodiless Hosts

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


On the 8th of November the Holy Orthodox Church
commemorates the Synaxis of Michael the Chief Commander,
and of the Other Bodiless Hosts.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone

SUPREME Commanders of the Hosts of the Heavens, we, the
unworthy, importune and beseech you that by your supplications
ye encircle us in the shelter of the wings of your immaterial glory,
guarding us who now fall down and cry to you with fervor: Deliver
us from dangers of all kinds, as the great Marshals of the heavenly
Hosts on high.

Kontakion Hymn. Second Tone

SUPREME Commanders of God and Ministers of the Divine glory
guides of men and leaders of the bodiless Hosts: Ask for what is
to our profit and for great mercy, ye are Supreme Commanders
of the bodiless Hosts.

All the Angels, according to the holy Apostle Paul, are MINISTERING SPIRITS, "sent to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). God set them as OVERSEERS OF EVERY NATION AND PEOPLE, and GUIDES TO THAT WHICH IS PROFITABLE (Deuteronomy 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 that hope on Him, that nothing should harm them, neither should any evil draw near to their dwelling (Psalm 90:10-12). In the Heavens, they always BEHOLD THE FACE OF GOD, SENDING UP TO HIM THE THRICE-HOLY HYMN AND INTERCEEDING WITH HIM IN OUR BEHALF, SEEING THEY REJOICE OVER ONE SINNER THAT REPENTS (Isaiah 6:2-3; Matthew 18:10; Luke15:7). 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 honoring these Divine Ministers, OUR PROTECTORS, AND GUARDIANS, celebrates on this day their Synaxis (Assembly), that is, our coming together in assembly for their common feast to chant their praises, especially for the Archangel 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 the Angels is not defined in the Holy Scripture, where Daniel says that "thousands of thousands ministered before Him, and ten thousands of thousands attended upon Him" (Daniel 7:10). But all of them are divined INTO NINE ORDERS which are called THRONES, CHERUBIM, SERAPHIM, DOMINIONS, POWERS, AUTHORITIES, PRINCIPALITIES, ARCHANGELS, AND ANGELS. [Source; The Great Horologion]

The Angels of God have been commemorated by men from the earliest times, but his commemoration often degenerates into the divinization of Angels (IV Kings 23:5; A.V. II Kings). Heretics always wove fantasies around the Angels. Some of them saw the Angels as gods and others, if they did not so regard them, took them to be the creators of the whole visible world. The Local Council in Laodicea, which was held in the Fourth Century, rejected in its 35th Canon the worship of Angels as gods and established the proper VENERATION of them. In the time of Pope Sylvester of Rome and the Alexandrian Patriarch Alexander, in the 4th century, this Feast of the Archangel Michael and the other heavenly powers was instituted, to be celebrated in November. Why November? Because November is the 9th month after March, and it is thought that the world WAS CREATED IN THE MONTH OF MARCH. The 9th month after March was chosen BECAUSE OF THE NINE ORDERS OF ANGELS THAT WERE THE FIRST CREATED BEINGS. Saint Dionysios the Areopagite, a Disciple of Saint Paul (that Apostle who was caught up to the Third Heaven), writes of these NINE ORDERS in his book: ‘CELESTIAL HIERARCHIES’. The Leader of the WHOLE ANGELIC ARMY is the Archangel Michael. When Satan, Lucifer, fell away from God and carried HALF THE ANGELS WITH HIM TO DESTRUCTION, then Michael arose and cried to the UNFALLEN ANGELS: "LET US GIVE HEED! LET US STAND ARIGHT; LET US STAND WITH FEAR! AND THE WHOLE ANGELIC ARMY SANG ALOUD: ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, LORD GOD OF SABAOTH; HEAVEN AND EARTH ARE FULL OF THY GLORY!’ Among the Angels there rules A PERFECT UNITY OF MIND, OF SOUL, AND OF LOVE; OF TOTAL OBEDIENCE OF THE LESSER POWERS TO THE GREATER AND OF ALL TO THE HOLY WILL OF GOD. We must keep in mind that, WHATEVER WE DO, OPENLY OR IN SECRET, WE DO IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL and that, on the Day of Judgment, A GREAT MULTITUDE OF THE HOLY ANGELS OF HEAVEN WILL BE GATHERED AROUND THE THRONE OF GOD, AND THE THOUGHTS, WORDS, AND DEEDS OF EVERY PERSON WILL BE LAID BARE BEFORE THEM. May God have mercy on us and save us at the prayers of the holy Angels Michael and Gabriel and All the Bodiless Powers of Heaven. Amen.


That the Angels are constantly involved in this world is testified to, clearly and unmistakably, in the Holy Scripture. Both from the Holy Scripture and from Holy Orthodox Tradition, the Holy Orthodox Church has learned the names of the SEVEN LEADERS of the Heavenly Powers: MICHAEL, GABRIEL, RAPHAEL, URIEL, SALTHIEL, JEGUDIEL, AND BARACHIEL (and to these is sometimes added an eighth, JEREMIEL).

Saint Michael was depicted in the earliest Christian times as A LEADER, bearing a spear in his right hand with which he attacks Lucifer, and Satan, and holding in his left hand a branch of green palm. At the top of the spear is a plated braid with a red Cross. The Archangel Michael is considered especially to be THE GUARDIAN OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH AND A FIGHTER AGAINST HERESY.

Saint Gabriel is the herald of the Mysteries of God, especially the Mystery of the Incarnation and of all those that are linked with it. He is depicted bearing a lantern with a burning candle in his right hand, and on his left a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the Wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.

‘Raphael’ means HEALING, or God the Healer (Tobias 3:17; 12:15). He is depicted leading Tobias by the right hand (Tobias carrying a fish caught in the Tigris), and holding a physician’s jar in his left.

"Uriel" means ‘FIRE’ or ‘light of God’ (II Esdras 4:1; 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword against the Persians in his right hand and a burning brand in his left.16)

‘Salathiel’ means ‘one who prays to God’ (II Esdras 5:16). He is depicted with his head bowed and his eyes lowered, and his hands placed together in the attitude of prayer.

‘Jegudiel’ means ‘one who glorifies God.’ He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a three-thonged whip in is left.

‘Barachiel’ means ‘the blessing of God.’ He is depicted wearing a white rose on his breast.

‘Jeremiel’ means, ”God’s exaltation." He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of those higher thoughts that raise a person Godward. [Source: The Prologue from Ochrid]


"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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