Thursday, November 8, 2012

Angelic Participation

If you think that only we humans participate in the Divine Liturgy, think again? The heavenly hosts stand in attendance at the Throne of God, participating in the Divine Liturgy.

During the Anaphora of the Divine Liturgy, the priest prays quietly the following:

It is meet and right to hymn Thee, to bless Thee, to praise Thee, to give thanks unto Thee, and to worship Thee in every place of Thy dominion...And we give thanks unto Thee also for this ministry which Thou dost vouchsafe to receive at our hands, even though there stand beside Thee thousands of Archangels, and ten thousand of Angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many-eyed, soaring aloft, borne on their wings.

Then the priest aloud chants: Singing the Triumphal Hymn, shouting, proclaiming, and saying.

As the choir responds: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

We join the chorus in the angelic hymn, which the angels sing, who ceaseless attend to God on High.

The angels also have a Feastday in the Life of the Church (November 8), which is the reason for this latest blogpost. Enjoy reading more about the angels, as well as viewing icons which represent angelic participation (if ya can recall from Holy Scriptures the references to angels being present).

The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.

Synaxis of the Holy Heavenly Hosts
A Feastday (November 8th) was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the Holy Fathers of the Church. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then "the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him" (Mt. 25:31).

Feast of the Ascension of
our Lord (notice the angels)

Myrrh-bearing Women at the Tomb
(notice the angel)
The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.

The Highest Hierarchy includes the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones; the Middle Angelic Hierarchy includes Dominions, Powers, and Authorities; the Lowest Hierarchy includes Principalities, Archangels, and Angels:

ARCHANGELS (1 Thess 4:16) are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.

ANGELS (1 Pet 3:22) are in the lowest rank of the heavenly hierarchy, and closest to people. They reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions, guiding people to virtuous and holy life. They support those who remain steadfast, and they raise up the fallen. They never abandon us and they are always prepared to help us, if we desire it.

Feast of the Nativity of
our Lord (notice the angels)

Feast of the Baptism of our Lord
(notice the angels)

For a simply amazing description of angelic depictions in Orthodox iconography, please take time and read this article HERE.

My home parish in Louisville, Kentucky is dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel. I was baptized, grew up serving as an altar boy, participated in Church School and Teen SOYO, read and chanted at St. Michael's. It is truly a blessed parish community, known as one of the largest Pan-Orthodox communities in North America.

Feastday information taken from OCA Feasts & Saints.

- A Day in the Life of the Youth Director

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