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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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CommunityChurchThe Archangels

The Archangels

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That the angels are constantly involved in this world is testified to, clearly and unmistakably, in Holy Scripture. Both from the Scriptures and from Holy Tradition, the Orthodox Church has learned the names of the seven leaders of the heavenly powers: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel and Barachiel (and to these is sometimes added an eighth, Jeremiel).

 

‘Michael’ in Hebrew means ‘Who is like God?’, or ‘Who is equal to God?’. St. Michael was depicted in the earliest Christian times as a leader, bearing a spear in his right hand with which he attacks Lucifer, Satan, and holding in his left hand a branch of green palm. At the top of the spear is a plaited braid with a red Cross. The Archangel Michael is considered especially to be the guardian of the Orthodox faith and a fighter against heresy.

 

‘Gabriel’ means ‘man of God’ or ‘power of God’. He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the mystery of the Incarnation and all those that are linked with it. He is depicted bearing a lantern with a burning candle in his right hand, and in his left a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.

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‘Raphael’ means ‘God’s 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.

 

‘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 his 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 man God-ward.

 

– From The Prologue from Ochrid: Lives of the Saints and Homilies For Every Day In The Year- Part Four: October, November, December, by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich, Translated by Mother Maria, Birmingham, UK, Lazarica Press, 1986.

 

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