The Holy Archangels and Angels of God (Part II)


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


By Mother Alexandra

"The Lord has set up his throne in heaven, rules with universal sway. Bless the Lord, all you Angels of his; Angels of sovereign strength, that carry out His commandment, attentive to the word He utters; bless the Lord, all you Hosts of His, the servants that perform His will; bless the Lord, all you creatures of His, in every corner of His Dominion; and thou, my soul, bless the Lord" (Psalm 102:19-22).

From earliest times, these Angelic Hosts were conceived as divided into three hierarchies Saint Dionysius the Areopagite called "choirs." This is the most fitting term as their whole activity is like an eternal song of praise and thanksgiving to the Most High.

First come the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones. These are Councilors and have no direct dealing with man, but are absorbed in unending love and adoration of God. No other creature is so intensely capable of loving God.

Second come the Dominions, Virtues, and Powers. These are understood to be the governors of space and the stars. Our orb, consequently, as part of the galaxy is under their dominion; otherwise, we have no direct contact with the Second Choir.

Third come the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. These have this earth of ours in their special charge. They are the executors of God's will, the perpetual guardians of the children of men, and the messengers of God.  

The Archangels have distinct individualities and are an Order of Celestial beings in themselves, partaking of the nature of both Principalities and Angels. Yet they are also Messengers, like the Angels. There are seven Archangels, the first four of whom are mentioned by name in the books of the Holy Bible:

A.    Michael (Who Is Like God?). The greatest leader of the Heavenly Host. It was he who overcome the Dragon (Lucifer) and thrust him out of Paradise.

B.    Gabriel (The Man of God). The Angel of the Annunciation (Evanggelismos).

C.    Raphael (The Healing of God). The Chief of the Guardian Angels, and the one who bears our prayers to the Lord.

D.    Uriel (The Fire of God). The interpreter of prophecies.

The names of the other three archangels are not found in the Holy Scripture. "Like God, Man of God, Healing, Fire." Here in the utter simplicity of the interpretations of the Archangelic names, we get momentary glimpses of their personalities, through which their relationship to God becomes more the same time, keep in mind that Saint John is giving a symbolic account of the heavenly war which began long before the earth's creation, and in which the Church is still engaged:

 "Fierce war broke out in heaven, where Michael and his Angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought on their part, but could not win the day, or stand their ground in heaven any longer; the great dragon, serpent of the primal age, was flung down to earth; he whom we call the devil, or Satan, the whole world's seducer, flung down to earth, and his angels (demons) with him...Rejoice over it, heaven, and all you that dwell in heaven; but woe to you, earth and sea, now that the devil has come down upon you, full of malice because he knows how brief is the time given him" (Rev. 12:7-12).

Satan's fall from heaven left him with a great consuming fury for it is on earth alone that he has power. Satan is doubly angry because his power is limited to our world and he knows fully that when our world is ended, his power to deceive mankind ends with it. His time for each one of us is shorter still, as his ability to reach us as individuals is limited to the life span granted us on the earth. It is eternity that man reaps the fulfillment of this earthly battle.

The story of Satan's fall is so dramatic that it is difficult to drag our eyes away from that bottomless pit over which he is king (Revelation 9:11), and to look up once more to those Holy Angels who did not fall, but turned their burning love in all its magnificence to humbly adore (worship) their Creator and fulfill His will.  

"Thou Lord of all dost clearly save the breed of mortal men by the appointment of the Angels. For Thou hast set them over all the faithful who sing Thy praises in the right faith, Thee the God of the fathers Who is praised and passing glorious" (Monday Canon, Tone 1).