Worshippers of the heavenly choir, circling the throne of glory

AND I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Revelation 5:11-14

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An icon of St Michael the Archangel

"In honour and memory of the supreme Generals Michael and Gabriel, and of all the heavenly and bodiless Powers." An icon of St Michael the Archangel.

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“THEN, taking a seal from the same or third Prosphora, and removing a fragment of it, he places it to the left-hand side of the Lamb [for terms, see this guide], saying: “In honour and memory of the supreme Generals Michael and Gabriel, and of all the heavenly and bodiless Powers.”

IN the action of the Divine Liturgy, the heavenly Powers also serve. That is why the priest places a piece to the left of the Lamb in honour of the heavenly Powers.

Prior to the Incarnation of the Word, the angels knew dimly the mystery of Christ: “They knew the simple and singular (μονοειδῆ) wisdom of God”, writes St Gregory of Nyssa.

With the incarnation of the Word, God appeared in the flesh… (and) he was seen by the Angels. “So it was” concludes the divine Chrysostom “that he was seen by the angels too, when he clothed himself in flesh”.

When the fulness of time came, the oeconomy of the mystery hidden from the ages in God appeared to the angels first. And the angels revealed it to men: “It was the angels who first told of the divine mystery of Jesus’s love for mankind, then the grace of that knowledge passed over through them to us.”

The archangel Gabriel visited Zacharias to announce to him the birth of the Baptist, who was messenger before the face of Christ. The same archangel Gabriel visited the Virgin to announce to her that “in her will be born God’s royal mystery, of something unutterably fashioned by God.”

An angel visited Joseph to inform him that the Virgin had conceived by the holy Spirit and was pregnant with the Saviour of the world.

When Christ was born in Bethlehem, an angel of the Lord visited the shepherds, because they had pure souls, because they lived amid stillness, and announced to them the joyful news that Christ was born: “Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Lk 2:13-14)

Cutting the Prosphora with a lance

“In the liturgical Bethlehem – the holy Prothesis – the mystery of the incarnation of the Word is played out in priestly acts.” Cutting the Prosphora with a lance.

Now, in the liturgical Bethlehem – the holy Prothesis – the mystery of the incarnation of the Word is played out in priestly acts.

And angels of the Lord appear to ministers who are pure in heart: “One of the Fathers explained, that there was a pure and holy man from among the Elders, who when he was performing the Prokomidi, saw angels standing at his right hand and at his left”.

And at the time of the holy Oblation (Anaphora), “Angels stood by the priest and all the ranks of the heavenly Powers cry and and the place around the altar is filled, in honour of him that lies there”, of our Master, Christ.

Hieromonk Gregorios, From «Ἡ Θεία Λειτουργία-Σχόλια», published by the Holy Cell of St John the Theologian, of the Koutloumousiou Monastery, Mount Athos. This is my amateur translation from Piraiki Ekklisia, November 2010.

The picture above is taken from this very clear explanation of the Proskomide, from the Church of St Seraphim of Sarov, Sea Cliff, New York, where all the technical terms are explained.

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LET us rival the life of the Angels and give wings to our mind to rise on high. Let us immaterially raise the song with them, praising the Lord, and highly exalting him to all the ages.

Worshippers of the heavenly choir are they, circling the throne of glory and ever wheeling about God, Angels praising and highly exalting him to the ages.

The Angels that minister unceasingly in the heights, the Trinity makes a flame of immaterial fire, and shows them to be spirits. Let us worship him and glorify him to all the ages.

Theotokion

Thou wast worthy to carry in thine arms the One before whom tens of thousands of Angels and Archangels stand trembling in heaven. Implore him, Mother of God, that we may be saved, who glorify him to the ages.

At Matins on the Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangels and the Bodiless Powers, November 8. My amateur translation, from Analogion, with help from Anastasis.

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