Welcome to Monday’s Angel, an eight week series exploring angels in Christianity.
This week, we find out exactly what the Church believes about angels…
The Orthodox Christian Church dedicates every Monday to the holy angels. Church services include the prayer: “Holy Archangels and Angels, pray to God for us.” But what do we actually know about angels?
- The word ‘angel’ comes from the Greek word- aggelos- and means ‘herald’ or ‘messenger’.
- The Bible refers to angels hundreds of times and tells us that there are thousands of angels.
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering. ~ Hebrews 12:22
…and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. ~ Daniel 7:10
- Angels are bodiless, but can take on the appearance of man if necessary.
- Every Orthodox Christian receives a guardian angel at baptism with the prayer: Yoke unto his (her) life a shining Angel to deliver him (her) from every plot directed against him (her) by the Adversary, from encounter with evil, from the noon-day demon, and from evil dreams.
~ The World of Angels ~
The Heavenly Hierarchy is made up of 9 Ranks of angels. There are 3 hierarchies:
- Seraphim:Â The closest to God, the Seraphim are described as six-winged and fire-like. They blaze with love for God and kindle others to the same.
- Cherubim: Their name means ‘enlightenment’. Through the cherubim, wisdom is sent down to give knowledge of God and spiritual understanding.
- Thrones: The Thrones are living symbols of God’s justice and authority.
- Dominions: The Dominions dominate over the rest of the angels who follow behind them. They instruct earthly authorities to rule wisely, teach us to resist temptations and sinful desires and master our will.
- Powers: They are filled with divine strength and easily fulfil the will of God. They work miracles and give miracle-working abilities to saints who God has deemed worthy. They help with patience and spiritual strength and fortitude.
- Authorities: They protect people from demonic temptations and have authority over the devil. They also help people struggling with evil thoughts and guard over ascetics.
- Principalities: They have command over the lower angels and instruct them in fulfilling God’s commands. They watch over the world and nations and teach those in authority to use their position as God wants, rather than for any personal gains.
- Archangels: They are messengers of great and miraculous news. They reveal prophecies, knowledge and understanding of God’s will as is passed down to them from the higher angels. They deepen faith in God by enlightening with the knowledge of the Holy Gospel.
- Angels: They are closest to man and reveal the lesser mysteries of God and His intentions. They guide people to a holy life. They are always prepared to help if we want it. They are appointed to guard each believer.
I hope you have enjoyed this overview of angels in Orthodox Christianity.Â Next week we will meet our first angel- Michael.