2. november 2020
Feast: November 8
History of the feast and reverence for the disembodied powers:
The liturgical year is a beautiful mosaic, formed by the feasts of Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin, countless martyrs and saints. In the middle of this magnificent mosaic is Jesus Christ. On earth, day and night, he is celebrated through worship by the Church, and in heaven his eternal glory is glorified by the Church, glorified, represented by many angels and saints. Holy Angels, it is God's church of glory, it is God's guard and God's servants who play an important role in redeeming the human race.
The Holy Church, bearing in mind the great importance of the angels for the glory of God and our salvation, has established a special place in the mosaic of the liturgical year to honor the angels (the diembodied powers). In the first place, it is a holiday - the Assembly to Grand Leader Michael and other diembodied powers. The truth is that by the time God created man, angels were already created. There are innumerable of these invisible, immortal, perfect and pure spirits, who have reason and free will. As the prophet Daniel affirms in his vision, where he saw the throne of God and "thousands of thousands served him, and ten thousand and ten thousand stood before him" (Daniel 7:10). And also St evangelist John: The voice of many angels around the throne, beings and old men. There were myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands. ”(Revelation 5:11) Christ himself says in the Gospel of the Legion of Angels:“ Or do you think that I could not ask my Father, and he would send me more than twelve regiments of angels at once? ”( Matthew 26.53)
According to Dionysus Areopagitus in the work On the Heavenly Hierarchy, it was generally accepted in the Church to divide all bodyless beings (angels) into nine heavenly churches, where they are grouped into three hierarchically conditioned groups in three-degree orders (triads). In the first are the Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones; in the second the Kingdom, the Power and the Power, and in the third the Principality, the Archangels and the Angels. All the heavenly churches are collectively called angels because of their ministry, because the very word angel, from the Greek language αγγελος, means messenger. This name was given to the angels by the nature of their service, which God had ordained for them, for the salvation of the human race. What does the Holy Apostle Paul testify of: “Are not all the ministry spirits sent to serve those who are to be saved in the inheritance?” (Hebbrews 1:14) According to St. Gregory Nazianzus, “angels are servants of God's will. As a result of their natural ability, abundant grace, the quick fulfillment of God's command, and the ease of being, they are transmitted to all places and present to everyone. ”According to St. Athanasius the Great: "Why the angels were created by God," writes St. Gregory Nazianzus: She first invented angels and heavenly spirits. The thought did the work through the Word done in the Spirit. Thus the second Lights were created to serve the original Light. ”After the creation of the angels, some of them rebelled against God, as the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John writes:“ In heaven a fight broke out: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, but they could not stand, and there was no place for them in heaven. And the great dragon, the old serpent called the devil, and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was overthrown; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.” (Revelation 12: 7-9) On this basis, the Church, in honor of the angels, puts the Holy Archangel Michael in the first place.
Respect for angels in the Christian East dates back to the beginning of the 3rd century, while it was already widespread in the 4th century. The testimony is the church dedicated to the Holy Archangel Michael, built by order of Emperor Constantine the Great in the suburbs of Constantinople. Another testimony is the establishment of a holiday - the Assembly to Grand Leader Michael and other disembodied powers in the 4th century. This holiday is called the Assembly, because on this day the Church celebrates the congregation - the congregation of all the disembodied powers together with Archangel Michael, as well as the congregation of the people on earth to celebrate the heavenly powers. This liturgical celebration, whether according to the Julian or Gregorian calendar, falls on November, which is not a coincidence, but an intention, as the New Year began on March 1 in the past, November was then the 9th month of the year, a symbolic expression of nine angelic churches.
Description of the icon:
At the top of the icon in the center is the archangel Michael, the grand leader of the heavenly armies, who defeated Satan, which is also reflected in the inscription on the edge of the icon: "Michael is victorious over enemies." to the right dark blue six-winged seraphim. They are among the most important angels in the heavenly hierarchy, who constantly accompany God and are closer to him than all other churches of angels. Below, to his right (from the viewer's left) is the archangel Gabriel, which means "God is mighty." He preached to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ and Zechariah the conception of John the Baptist. Related to it is an inscription, placed under the name of the icon: Gabriel - the herald of God's mysteries. Next to the Archangel Gabriel, a little lower left, stands Salatiel - praying for humanity. In his hand he holds a medallion with the letters IC - an abbreviation of the name Jesus in Greek. At the bottom of the icon (from the viewer's left) is Rafael in a blue robe. The inscription on the margin points to his mission: "Raphael, the physician of human diseases." He clings to an eight-pointed star depicting Christ Emanuel. In the four corners of the star are symbolic images of holy evangelists. He blesses the believer with two fingers, which indicate that he is God-Man. He holds a scroll in his hand, a harbinger of the Last Judgment and the teachings of the gospel. In a vertical line, it is surrounded by red seraphim, who are constantly in God's presence and therefore cannot miss Emanuel or this icon.
In the opposite side, to the left of Archangel Michael, first is Jehudiel (the glorifying God) and then Uriel (the radiant Divine Light). Uriel holds in his right hand a medallion with letters XC (Greek abbreviation of the word Christ). At the front, in dark green robes, is Barachiel, according to the inscription: “The mediator of good things. The one who imparts God's blessing.” Together with Raphael, they hold a red star consisting of two squares - the throne of Christ Emanuel.
The composition of the icon is characterized by impressive symmetry and harmony. The diversity of clothes, faces or poses of individual characters is complemented by astonishing interplay, thus expressing their perfect unanimity, love and obedience. Subordination of lower ranks to higher ones and all together to the Holy Trinity.