Gallery The Guardian Angel

9. april 2019

The motive of the icon rests on the words of the book Exodus: „Behold, I am sending an angel before you to protect you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.“ (Exodus 23:20) Angels are also mentioned in the Psalms: „For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. “ (Psalms 91:11-12)

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE ICON

In the centre of the icon, the entire figure of an angel standing on the cloud is depicted on a golden background, presenting God's glory. It has golden wings and gold nimbus around the head. Dressed in a light blue bottom garment (chiton) with a light green tint and decorated with a wide gold trim. They are symbols of the heavenly kingdom and the spiritual world. Over the shoulders has a white top garment (himation), a sign of purity, simplicity. White is the colour of spiritual beings. He holds a three-armed cross in his right hand and a fiery sword in his left. He has a white ribbon in his hair, a symbol of immediate and unreserved obedience, and has red shoes on his feet, a sign of the fiery mark of God. Above his head sits on the clouds the God's Son Jesus Christ giving his blessing, dressed in a red-gold glow framed by a green sphere with two angels - six-wing seraphims. His undergarment is bright red. It is the colour of the King of heaven and earth and symbolizes His divine nature. The outer garment is dark blue with rich “assist“- gold hatched decor, which is a sign of His human nature. There are four scenes on the sides of the icon. Scenes on the right depict the life of a righteous man who prays and reads the Holy Scriptures in front of the icon of the Saviour and above his feast and life, the Angel watches him with joyfully spread wings. On the left are scenes from the life of a sinner who dies alone, and his Guardian Angel holds a fiery sword and is sad, suggested by the bowed-down wings, because the sinner did not invite the Creator into his life, and Satan, the black angel, watches over his feast. The whole depiction is enhanced by two small figures of angels bringing Christ the sum of human life. The Guardian Angel bears a list of good deeds on the letter, and the Angel of the Sinner cries, holding a scarf in his hands, wiping tears.

 

SPIRITUAL HERITAGE

Jesus said: „See that you do not look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.“(Matthew 18:10)

One of the first testimonies of respect for the guardian angel has been preserved from St Basil: "For every believer there is an angel who guides him through life as an educator and shepherd."

In the parable of the good shepherd and the lost sheep, the Church has always seen Christ and Adam representing the stray human race. The well-known Russian iconographer and monk Grigorij Krug sees in this parable not only the salvation of man as such, but also his return to the fold of sheep that have not got lost, a return to the world of angels. He recalls that the eternal adoration of God is inherently connected with the unification of the human race with the angelic world. Pure spirits, standing steadily by the throne of God, willing to fill His will, have become so quickly the ideal of monks who have sought constant prayer. To this day, in the Christian East, status of the religious order is called "angelic life", that is, the life of those who seek to live by spirit and not by body.

According to Origen, the guardian angel joins every one of our prayers. It teaches us that this encounter with God is to become a permanent and fundamental attitude of man. God gives a man a friend in his guardian angel who protects his being, which is in relation to God, his truth, which is nothing but to be what God wanted him to be. It reveals to us the greatness of God's love for man, who is not left on the path of life alone and without help. God, through his angels, constantly assures us of his faithfulness and love.

The guardian angel sees in God the truth of humans more true than in himself, because God created him when he intended this truth. In the "face of the heavenly Father" the angel reads this creative truth and enlightened by His love he sees how the love is threatened by the weakness of man. Our angel not only protects us from the dangers that come from outside, but also from those coming from ourselves. Through the voice of consciousness, in the warnings of the heart, through the words of our friends, he desires to protect us from disobedience, dishonesty, laziness, or indifference.

According to Origen, the guardian angel also teaches us the wisdom of God, to look at the world and the circumstances of life with God's eyes. After all, what do the angels of God see in us that they help us so devoutly? Above all God's image. They admire this form over and over again in an unimaginable way, though it is covered by sin in us. They see in us the heirs of the kingdom invited to eternal dwelling in God's closeness, the beloved children of God redeemed by the dear blood of the Lamb.

 

Prayer written under the feet of the angel:

Oh, my Holy Angel, sent to watch my poor soul and my miserable life! Do not leave me, sinner, and do not depart from me for my sin. Don't let the evil demon control my soul and my body. Strengthen my weak and sinful soul and lead me to the path of salvation. O holy angel of God, watchman and patron of my poor soul and body, please forgive me all that I have insulted you all the days of my life, and all that I have sinned against you the last night and save me this day. Save me from every enemy temptation, so that I will not annoy God with any sin. Pray for me to the Lord to forgive me sins, to strengthen in me the fear of Him and to acknowledge me, unworthy, worthy of His mercy. Amen.

 

Sources:

Romano Guardini: Andélé, Kostelní Vydří 1998.

Tomáš Špidlík: Prameny svetla, Rím 1981; A. H. Mateje: Viem, komu som uveril, Rím 1987.

Alexander Strižev: Pravoslávna ikona, kánon a štýl, Moskva 1998.

Billy Graham: Anjeli - tajomní Boží služobníci, Medzinárodná biblická spoločnosť 1996.

Rodewyk: Anjeli nás strážia, Szent Gellért Egyházi Kiadó, Szeged 1991.

Bentchev, I., Ikony Anjelov. Obrazy nebeských poslov, Oto Németh, Bratislava, 2012.

Ангеле святый, посланный с небесе… in https://ragazza-mare.livejournal.com/1495.html