Monday, September 29, 2014

The Feast of St Michael and All Angels

We say that there are nine Orders of Angels, for, by the witness of the holy Word, we know that there are Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. For nearly every page of the holy Word bears witness that there are Angels and Archangels. The books of the Prophets, as is well known, often speak of the Cherubim and Seraphim. Paul the Apostle, writing to the Ephesians, (1, 21), enumerates the names of four Orders, saying “above every Principality, and Power, and Virtue, and Domination”. And again, writing to the Colossians, (1, 16), he says, “Whether they be Thrones, or Powers, or Dominations, or Principalities”. When, therefore, the Thrones are added to the four Orders of which he spoke to the Ephesians, there are five Orders; and when the Angels and the Archangels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim are added to them, there are found to be beyond all doubt nine Orders of Angels. But one must know that the word ‘Angel’ is the name of an office, not of a nature. For those holy spirits of the.heavenly fatherland are always spirits, but in no wise can they always be called Angels; for then alone are they Angels, when something is announced by them. Whence also it is said by the Psalmist (103, 4) “Who maketh spirits his messangers!” as if it were to say more clearly, “Who, when He willeth, maketh His messengers even those spirits that He hath always with Him.” - Saint Gregory the Great, Homily 34 on the Gospels

The Nine Choirs of Angels; Greek icon, late 18th-century  

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