My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,



Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone

SUPREME Commander of the Hosts of the Heavens, we, the unworthy,
importune and beseech thee that by they supplications thou encircle
us in the shelter of the wings of thine immaterial glory, guarding us
who now fall down and cry to thee with fervor. Deliver us from dangers
of all kinds, as the great marshal of the heavenly hosts on high.

SUPREME Commander of God and minister of the Divine glory, guide
of men and leader of the bodiless hosts: Ask for what is to our profile
and for great mercy, since thou art Supreme Commander of the
bodiless hosts.

The Celestial Powers are like fire, like flame, like light, the appearance of which is terrifying for humans. They are divinized creatures, vehicles of the Uncreated Glory and Secondary Lights, "Illumined with effulgences past understanding and divinized in a sacred manner, thou, O Gabriel, standest in awe ministering before the Throne of Grace, and, seen as light, thou dost illumine those who honor thee with faith, O sacred Gabriel, ARCHISTRATIGOS (Chief Commander).

Despite the excellence of their nature, the economy of the mystery of the Incarnation of the Logos/Word was, according to Saint Paul, hidden from the ages in God, and "made known to the principalities and to the authorities in the heavenlies through the Church, according to purpose of the ages which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord [Ephesians 3:9-11]. Saint Peter concurs that these were things into which Angels desired to look [1 Peter 1:12]. Saint John Chrysostom says that "the Church enlightened Angels and Archangels and Principalities and Authorities. The much-variegated wisdom of God was made manifest to them; for they knew not these things. The Virgin who had given birth to the Fire of the flaming ministering spirits, becomes the first participant of divinity among all creatures. She is more eminent than the incorporeal armies and surpasses the Celestial Hierarchies. She receives from the Angels the glory which belongs to her.

The Archangel Gabriel also announced the future Incarnation of the Logos/Word to those of the Old Testament. He inspired the Prophet Moses to write the Book of Genesis. He also foretold coming tribulations to the Prophet Daniel and the time of the Messiah’s appearance [Daniel 8:16; 9:21-25]. He explained to Daniel the vision of the horned ram, as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, after whose death the Kingdom will be divided up among his generals, from one of whom will spring. Antiochus Epiphanes [Daniel 8]. Then, after Daniel had prayed for Israel, we read that the man Gabriel, flying, swiftly touched Daniel and communicated to him the mysterious prophecy of the "SEVENTY WEEKS" of years which should elapse before the coming of Christ [Daniel 9].

He also appeared to the Virgin Mary’s mother, Anna (commemorated on the 25th of July), and announced the conception of a daughter when Anna was praying in the garden. The Archangel also visited the young Virgin Mary regularly when she lived n the Temple of Jerusalem. He continued to watch over her throughout her earthly sojourn. He appeared to the Priest Zacharias [Luke 1:19], the future of Saint John the Baptist, and foretold the birth of the Forerunner of the Lord.

The name of the Archangel Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to Righteous Joseph, to the shepherds, and also to the Lord in the garden. Thus, many believe that the Archangel was dispatched to Righteous Joseph the Betrothed, appearing to him in a dream and telling him NOT TO FEAR to take Mary his wife who shall bring forth a Son Whom Joseph was to name JESUS [Matthew 1:20-21]. This same Angel also appeared to Joseph to take the Child and His Mother into Egypt [Matthew 2:13], forewarning him of Herod’s evil designs. While Joseph was in Egypt, he appeared to him, telling him to return to Israel [Matthew 2:19-20]. When our Lord prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His Passion, it was the Archangel Gabriel, according to some, whose very name signifies "MAN OF GOD," who appeared to Jesus, strengthening Him [Luke 22:43]. He is also accounted to be that Angel who rolled away the stone from Christ’s tomb [Matthew 28:21] and announced the Resurrection to the Myrrh-bearers [Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6].

In the Archangel’s manifestations to us, there is a simplicity and absence of terror which corresponds to his character AS A COMFORTER. In Christian tradition, Gabriel IS EVER THE ANGEL OF CONSOLATION while MICHAEL is RATHER THE ANGEL OF JUDGMENT UPON GOD’S ENEMIES. Saint Proklos, Patriarch of Constantinople, interprets Gabriel’s name as meaning "GOD AND MAN." In accordance with his name, therefore, "Gabriel," comments Saint Proklos, "WAS MOST SUITED TO MINISTER TO THE MYSTERY OF THE DIVINE ECONOMY OF THE INCARNATION OF THE GOD-MAN." The Archangel also announced to the Virgin that word— "REJOICE!" –WHICH HAS BECOME A FORM OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING N THE Church.

"The Logos/Word, desiring to mingle with men IN A FLESHLY HYPOSTASIS (INCARNATION), had thee, O sacred Gabriel, go before Him and prepare a sacred place: do thou still the dreadful tempest of the barbarians which ever assail thy slaves; cause the schisms of the Church to cease; and reward him with the rescue from transgressions those who hymn thee, and grant victories to our civil authorities through THINE ARDENT INTERCESSIONS." (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)


"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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