Archangels and Angels According to Orthodox Christianity

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangel Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the 4th century at the Council (Synod) of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th holy Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of Angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.

A Feast-Day was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there Nine Ranks of Angels. The 8th day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the eighth day by the Holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the eighth day, and then "the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and ALL Holy Angels with Him" (St. Matthew 25:31).

The Angelic ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: Highest, Middle and Lowest.

The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

The Six-Winged Seraphim (Flaming, Flery) (Isaiah 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.

The Many-Eyed Seraphim (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Genesis 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people's minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His Glory.

The Thrones (Col. 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God's justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.

The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three ranks: Dominion, Powers, and Authorities:

Dominions (Col. 1:16) hold dominion over the Angels subject to them. They instruct the earthly authorities, established by God, to rule wisely, and to govern their lands well. The Dominions teach us to subdue sinful impulses, to subject the flesh to the spirit, to master our will, and to conquer temptation.

Powers (1 Peter 3:22) fulfill the will of God without hesitation. They work great miracles and give the grace of wonderworking and clairvoyance to Saints pleasing to God. The Powers assist people in fulfilling obedience. They also encourage them to be patient, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.

Authorities (1 Peter 3:22, Col. 1:16) have authority over the devil. They protect people from demonic temptations, and prevent demons from harming people as they would wish. They also uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil thoughts.

The Lowest Hierarchy includes the three ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and angels:

Principalities (Col. 1:16) have command over the lower Angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of God's commands.

They watch over the world and protect lands, nations, and people. Principalities instruct people to render proper honor to those in authority, as befits their station. They teach those in authority to use their position, not for personal glory and gain, but to honor God, and to spread word of Him, for the benefit of those under them.

Archangels (1 Thess. 4:16) are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the Light of the Holy Gospel.

Angels (1 Peter 3:22) are the lowest rank of the Heavenly Hierarchy, and closest to people. They reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They support those who remain steadfast, and they raise up the fallen. They never abandon us and they are always prepared to help us, if we desire it.

All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers are called Angels, although each has its own name and position by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest ranks of the Angels, and they in turn inform the others.

Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means "who is like unto God", the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander. He cast down from Heaven the arrogantly proud Lucifer and the other fallen spirits when they rebelled against God. Michael summoned the ranks of Angels and cried out, "Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and do not consider doing what is displeasing unto God!"

According to the Holy Orthodox Church Tradition, and in the church divine services to the Archangel Michael, he participated in many other Old Testament 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. Through him the power of the Lord was made manifest, annihilating the Egyptians and Pharaoh who were in pursuit of the Israelites. The Archangel Michael defended Israel in all its misfortunes.

He appeared to Joshua Son of Navi and revealed the will of the Lord at the taking of Jericho (Josh 5:13-16). The power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185,000 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 (Daniel 3:22-25)

The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).

We invoke Saint Michael for protection from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries on the field of battle. He conquers all spiritual enemies (demons).

Gabriel: strength (power) of God, herald and servitor of Divine Omnipotence (Daniel 8:16, St. Luke 1:26). He announces the Mysteries of God.

Raphael: the healing of God, the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3:16, 12:15).

Uriel: the fire or Light of God, enlightener (3 Ezdras 5:20). We pray for him to enlighten those with dark minds.

Selphiel: the prayer of God, impelling to prayer (3 Ezdras 5:16). He prays to God for mankind.

Jehudiel: the glorifying of God, encouraging exertion for the glory of the Lord and interceding for the reward of efforts.

Barachiel: distributor of the blessings of God for good deeds, entreats the mercy of God for people.

Jeremiel: the raising up to God (3 Ezdras 4:36).

Each person has a Guardian Angel, and every nation also receives its own Guardian Angel form God (Daniel 10:13). When a church is consecrated, it also receives a Guardian Angel (Palladius, Dial. Ch. 10). (Source: Orthodox Church in America)


+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Angel of Christ, Holy Guardian and Protector of my soul and body, forgive me for everything that I have done to offend you every day of my life; and protect me from all influence and temptation of the Evil One. May I never again anger God by any sin. Pray for me to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace + of the All-Holy Trinity, and of the Most Blessed Theotokos, and of all the Saints. Amen.



The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.


"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom


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

+Father George