Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael.

Commemorated on November 8 old style/ November 21 new style, September 6 old style/ September 19 new style (miracle at Colossae (Chonae).

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.

A Feastday 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. 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).

The Angelic Ranks are divided into three Hierarchies: highest, middle, and lowest.

The Highest Hierarchy includes: the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones.

The six-winged SERAPHIM (Flaming, Fiery) (Is 6:12) stand closest of all to the Most Holy Trinity. They blaze with love for God and kindle such love in others.

The many-eyed CHERUBIM (outpouring of wisdom, enlightenment) (Gen 3:24) stand before the Lord after the Seraphim. They are radiant with the light of knowledge of God, and knowledge of the mysteries of God. Through them wisdom is poured forth, and people's minds are enlightened so they may know God and behold His glory.

The THRONES (Col 1:16) stand after the Cherubim, mysteriously and incomprehensibly bearing God through the grace given them for their service. They are ministers of God's justice, giving to tribunals, kings, etc. the capacity for righteous judgment.

The Middle Angelic Hierarchy consists of three Ranks: Dominions, Powers, and Authorities:

DOMINIONS (Col 1:16) hold dominion over the angels subject to them. They instruct the earthly authorities, established by God, to rule wisely, and to govern their lands well. The Dominions teach us to subdue sinful impulses, to subject the flesh to the spirit, to master our will, and to conquer temptation.

POWERS (1 Pet 3:22) fulfill the will of God without hesitation. They work great miracles and give the grace of wonderworking and clairvoyance to saints pleasing to God. The Powers assist people in fulfilling obediences. They also encourage them to be patient, and give them spiritual strength and fortitude.

AUTHORITIES (1 Pet 3:22, Col 1:16) have authority over the devil. They protect people from demonic temptations, and prevent demons from harming people as they would wish. They also uphold ascetics and guard them, helping people in the struggle with evil thoughts.

The Lowest Hierarchy includes the three Ranks: Principalities, Archangels, and Angels:

PRINIPALITIES (Col 1:16) have command over the lower angels, instructing them in the fulfilling of God's commands. They watch over the world and protect lands, nations and peoples. Principalities instruct people to render proper honor to those in authority, as befits their station. They teach those in authority to use their position, not for personal glory and gain, but to honor God, and to spread word of Him, for the benefit of those under them.

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.

All the Ranks of the Heavenly Powers are called angels, although each has its own name and position by virtue of their service. The Lord reveals His will to the highest ranks of the angels, and they in turn inform the others.

Over all the Nine Ranks, the Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means "who is like unto God"), the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander. He cast down from Heaven the arrogantly proud Lucifer and the other fallen spirits when they rebelled against God. Michael summoned the ranks of angels and cried out, "Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and do not consider doing what is displeasing unto God!"

According to Church Tradition, and in the church services to the Archangel Michael, he participated in many other Old Testament events.

During the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Through him the power of the Lord was made manifest, annihilating the Egyptians and Pharaoh who were in pursuit of the Israelites. The Archangel Michael defended Israel in all its misfortunes.

He appeared to Joshua Son of Navi and revealed the will of the Lord at the taking of Jericho (Josh 5:13-16). The power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25).

Through the will of God, the Chief Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions' den (Dan. 14:33-37).

The Archangel Michael disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9).

The holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of St Neophytus of Docheiariou (November 9).

From ancient times the Archangel Michael was famed for his miracles in Rus. In the Volokolamsk Paterikon is a narrative of St Paphnutius of Borov with an account of Tatar tax-gatherers concerning the miraculous saving of Novgorod the Great: "Therefore Great Novgorod was never taken by the Hagarenes... when... for our sins the godless Hagarene emperor Batu devoured and set the Russian land aflame and came to Novgorod, and God and the Most Holy Theotokos shielded it with an appearance of Michael the Archangel, who forbade him to enter into it. He [Batu] was come to the Lithuanian city and came toward Kiev and saw the stone church, over the doors of which the great Archangel Michael had written and spoken to the prince his allotted fate, 'By this we have forbidden you entry into Great Novgorod'."

Intercession for Russian cities by the Most Holy Queen of Heaven always involved Her appearances with the Heavenly Hosts, under the leadership of the Archangel Michael. Grateful Rus acclaimed the Most Pure Mother of God and the Archangel Michael in church hymns. Many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael.

In old Kiev at the time of the accepting of Christianity, a cathedral of the Archangel was built, and a monastery also was named for him. Archangel cathedrals are found at Smolensk, Nizhni Novgorod, Staritsa, at Great Ustiug (beginning of the thirteenth century), and a cathedral at Sviyazhsk. In Rus there was not a city, where there was not a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

One of the chief temples of the city of Moscow, the burial church in the Kremlin, is dedicated to him. Numerous and beautiful icons of the Chief Commander of the Heavenly Hosts are also in his Cathedral. One of these, the Icon "Blessed Soldiery," was painted in the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin. The saintly soldiers, Russian princes, are depicted under the leadership of the Archangel Michael.

We invoke St Michael for protection from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries on the field of battle. He conquers all spiritual enemies.

Holy Scripture and Tradition give us the names of the Archangels:

Gabriel: strength (power) of God, herald and servitor of Divine omnipotence (Dan 8:16, Luke 1:26). He announces the mysteries of God.

Raphael: the healing of God, the curer of human infirmities (Tobit 3:16, 12:15)

Uriel: the fire or light of God, enlightener (3 Ezdras 5:20). We pray for him to enlighten those with darkened minds.

Selaphiel: the prayer of God, impelling to prayer (3 Ezdras 5:16). He prays to God for mankind.

Jehudiel: the glorifying of God, encouraging exertion for the glory of the Lord and interceding for the reward of efforts.

Barachiel: distributor of the blessings of God for good deeds, entreats the mercy of God for people.

Jeremiel: the raising up to God (3 Ezdras 4:36)

On icons the Archangels are depicted in according to the character of their service:

Michael tramples the devil underfoot, and in his left hand holds a green date-tree branch, and in his right hand a spear with a white banner (or sometimes a fiery sword), on which is outlined a scarlet cross.

Gabriel with a branch from Paradise, presented by him to the Most Holy Virgin, or with a shining lantern in his right hand and with a mirror made of jasper in his left.

Raphael holds a vessel with healing medications in his left hand, and with his right hand leads Tobias, carrying a fish for healing (Tobit 5-8).

Uriel in his raised right hand holds a naked sword at the level of his chest, and in his lowered left hand "a fiery flame."

Selaphiel in a prayerful posture, gazing downwards, hands folded on the chest.

Jehudiel holds a golden crown in his right hand, in his left, a whip of three red (or black) thongs.

Barachiel is shown with a white rose on his breast.

Jeremiel holds balance-scales in his hand.

Each person has a guardian angel, and every nation also receives its own guardian angel from God (Dan. 10:13). When a church is consecrated, it also receives a guardian angel (Palladius, Dial. Ch. 10).

Troparion - Tone 4

Commanders of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
"Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commanders of the powers on high!"

Kontakion - Tone 2

Commanders of God's armies and ministers of the divine glory,
princes of the bodiless angels and guides of mankind,
ask for what is good for us, and for great mercy,
supreme commanders of the Bodiless Hosts.


The Akathist to St. Michael the Archangel


Chosen captain of the heavenly hosts and defender of mankind, we - delivered by you from afflictions -offer this hymn of thanksgiving, and do you standing before the throne of the King of Glory set us free from all distress that we may cry to you with faith and love:


Hail, Michael great captain, with the hosts of heaven!


First Chant


As leader of the fiery choirs of angels, it is right to praise you with angelic tongue, 0 Michael, but until -taught by you - we have become used to the speech of the bodiless powers, hear the praises from thankful lips though they be those of mortal beings:


Hail, first-formed star of the world!
Hail, candle of truth and justice, shining like gold!
Hail, first receiver, in the choir of angels of the rays of the uncreated light!
Hail, head of angels and archangels!
Hail, you in whom the creative glory of the Right Hand shines!
Hail, you by whom the assembly of all bodiless creatures is made beautiful!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Beholding the splendor of your spiritual beauty and the strength of your right hand that is like a flash of lightning, we - wrapped as we are in the mortal flesh of this earth - but, filled with joy and thankfulness toward the Creator, cry aloud: 0 Archangel of God, with all the hosts of heaven: Alleluia!


Second Chant


0 most wonderful Michael, leader of the heavenly hosts, ask for us a clear understanding, free from passions, that, lifted in thought from earthly to heavenly things, we may sing a hymn of praise to you:


Hail, nearest beholder of the ineffable beauty and goodness of God!
Hail, close participator in the mysteries of the all-good counsels of the most Holy + Trinity!
Hail, faithful fulfiller of the pre-eternal judgments of the + Trinity!
Hail, you at whom the heavenly hosts, with love, stand amazed!
Hail, you to whom those born on earth give glory!
Hail, you before whom the hosts of heaven tremble!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Archangel Michael, you show in yourself the strength of an unconquerable zeal for the glory of God. At the head of the choirs of angels, you have withstood the arrogant daystar Satan, exceedingly proud and breathing out evil when he and his dark fellow-servants had been cast down into the nethermost parts of the world, while the heavenly hosts led by you in your glory shouted as with one voice for joy before the throne of God: Alleluia!


Third Chant


All Christian people have you, 0 Archangel Michael, as a mighty defender and helper in battle against the adversary. Therefore, we, wishing to be granted your marvelous protection, call upon you on the day of your solemn feast in this way:


Hail, you by whom Satan was cast down like lightning from heaven!
Hail, you by whom humanity preserved goes up to heaven!
Hail, splendid adornment of the most radiant world on high!
Hail, most glorious defender of the fallen world here below!
Hail, never-defeated by the forces of evil!
Hail, you, established forever by divine grace in truth and righteousness with all God's angels!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




O chief ruler of the angels, deliver us who keep your radiant feast with joy from the storm of temptations and troubles, for you are a mighty helper in afflictions and the preserver and defender in the hour of death of all those crying aloud to Our Lord and Our Lady: Alleluia!


Fourth Chant


Seeing your boldness against the regiments of Satan, all the ranks of angels followed after you with joy into the fight for the name and the glory of their Master, crying aloud: "Who is like unto God!" And we, seeing Satan cast down beneath your feet cry to you as victor:


Hail, you by whom peace and quiet returned to heaven!
Hail, you whom the spirit of evil was laid low even unto hell!
Hail, you who direct the angelic armies and the hosts of the invisible world to the destruction of evil!
Hail, you who, unseen, calm the agitation and fighting of the elements of the unseen world!
Hail, wonderful defender of those waging war with the spirits of evil!
Hail, strong helper of those on earth grown weak through the temptations and assaults of the world!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




You have appeared in the Church of Khony as a divinely flowing fountain of great miracles. For, not only was a large and fearful serpent dwelling there destroyed by your strength, but a stream of water was revealed there healing all bodily ailments, that all might glorify you, 0 Lord God of the angels, and all might cry out to You with Faith: Alleluia!


Fifth Chant


Hearing you and knowing you as a great light shining among the choirs of angels, after God and His Holy Mother, we run to you, wonderful Michael. With the rays of your light illuminate all of us who sing to you in the following manner:


Hail, mediator of the law given by the hand of Moses on Mount Sinai!
Hail, you by whom the judges and leaders of Israel found strength and protection!
Hail, you, through whom the prophets and high priests of the Jews received the gift of knowledge from the all-knowing God!
Hail, you who provide with secret wisdom the God-fearing givers of the law!
Hail, you who put kindness and mercy into the hearts of those who administer justice and truth!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




You have announced beforehand the judgments of God when, in former times - at the sight of you -Mannah was filled with fear and perplexity, thinking that he would no longer live, but taught by his wife of the goodness of the vision, and the gentleness of your words, from joy at having a son, Samson, who was about to be born, he cried out to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!


Sixth Chant


You have shone forth wonderfully, 0 Michael, when in the form of a man you have stood before Joshua, son of Nun, saying: "Take off your shoes, for I am the chief captain of the hosts of the Lord." And we, marveling, sing to you:


Hail, untiring guardian of leaders, rulers, and governments!
Hail, you, swift to overthrow those withstanding authority as they oppose the command of God!
Hail, you who appease the mighty wave of popular tumult!
Hail, invisible destroyer of vile customs!
Hail, you who enlighten those in doubt in the hour of great perplexity!
Hail, you who save all those tried by soul-destroying and false attacks!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Wanting to show that the fortunes of men are not dependent on themselves, but are always held in His Divine Hand, the Maker of all has given you to the kingdoms of the earth as a defender and keeper, that you may prepare all the tribes and peoples for the Kingdom of God that is eternal. Therefore, all of us knowing your great service for the salvation of mankind, cry to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!


Seventh Chant


The Creator and Master of all miracles has shown us a new miracle on earth through you, chief angel, when you miraculously saved the church built in honor of your name from being flooded with the waters of the river. You commanded the rising stream to turn back into the bosom of the earth, at the sight of which the blessed Archipus together with his spiritual children cried to you in thanksgiving:


Hail, indestructible rampart of the holy Church of God!
Hail, you at whose behest the elements are subdued!
Hail, you by whom all evil intents are brought to naught!
Hail, you who bring joy to all the faithful from the throne of the Almighty God!
Hail, you who lead unbelievers on the path of justice and truth!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Habakkuk, the prophet, saw in his very self a strange wonder of your power, 0 chief captain of God's armies, when carried off at the Divine Command, he was quickly taken from Judah to Babylon to give food to Daniel, a prisoner in the den of the lions. Therefore, amazed at the mighty effect of your strength, he cried out with faith: Alleluia!


Eighth Chant


Standing before the throne of God, Michael, you are entirely in the heights yet you are not far from men and women below upon the earth. You ever fight against the enemies of mankind's salvation. Therefore, all who wish to reach the long-desired homeland of heaven call to you with one accord:


Hail, leader of the thrice-holy hymn of the angels!
Hail, ever-ready advocate and guardian of those on earth!
Hail, who, in strange fashion, struck down Pharaoh with his faithless Egyptians in their ponderous pride!
Hail, who gloriously led the Jews in their wandering through the wilderness!
Hail, you who quenched the flame of the fiery furnace of Babylon for the three youths!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Joyful trembling seized the monks of the Holy Mount of Athos when they saw how you saved the Godfearing child who was thrown into the depths of the sea with a stone around his neck by money-grubbing men. The monastery that received him was adorned by your name, 0 Michael, and cries to God in thanksgiving: Alleluia!


Ninth Chant


Speakers, eloquent in words and who love clever thoughts, have not sufficient strength to declare your might, 0 Michael, and how in one night you destroyed the one hundred and eighty-five thousand warriors of Sennacherih, the king of Assyria, as a warning to him not to blaspheme the Name of the Lord in the future. We, honoring your zeal for the glory of the truth of God, cry out to you with gladness:


Hail, unconquerable leader of the armies of Orthodoxy!
Hail, very fear and defeat of armies whose beliefs are evil!
Hail, planter of the Orthodox faith and worship!
Hail, uprooter of heresies and schisms that harm the soul!
Hail, you who strengthened the pious Maccabees on the field of battle!
Hail, you who struck down in the temple itself Heliodorus, the captain of the evil king, Antiochus!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




0 chief captain of God, be for us who wish to be saved, a firm helper, to deliver and preserve us from distress and mishap, and even more so from our own evil habits and sins so that, progressing in faith, hope and love of Christ, we may thankfully cry out with joy to the Master of angels and mankind for your strong defense: Alleluia!


Tenth Chant


0 chief captain of God, you are a wall for all who believe and a strong pillar in the struggles with visible and invisible enemies. With thankful hearts and voices we cry:


Hail, unconquerable opponent of the enemies of the Faith and the adversaries of the Holy Church!
Hail, untiring helper of those who humbly announce the Good News!
Hail, you who enlighten with the light of faith those sitting in the land of darkness!
Hail, you who direct along the path of truth and repentance those made foolish through false wisdom!
Hail, terrible avenger of those who call in vain upon the Name of the Lord!
Hail, chastiser-bearing lightning for those who foolishly mock the Mysteries of the Holy Faith!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




0 angel of God, every song of praise falls short because of the multitude of miracles performed by you not only in heaven and on earth, but also in the dark shades of the depths of the netherworld, where you have chained the serpent with the bonds of power of the Lord, that those delivered from the evil one’s wickedness might bless the Master of heaven and earth, crying: Alleluia!


Eleventh Chant


0 chief captain, you appeared as a light-bearing servant of truth and the purity of divine worship when, foreseeing the snares of the spirit of darkness, you have forbidden him in the Name of the Lord, that he dare not show the hidden body of the prophet Moses, leader of the Jews, to the sensual children of Israel lest they deify him. Therefore, while we now honor your divinely bright feast, we cry to you:


Hail, you who kept the purity of knowledge of God among the Jews in the days of the Old Testament!
Hail, who by grace have many times uprooted the weeds of error in the days of the New Testament!
Hail, destroyer of heathen prophets and idols!
Hail, fortifier of Christians who struggle and suffer!
Hail, you who fill the weak in spirit with the strength of the grace of God!
Hail, you who clothe in the armor of faith those who fail in the flesh!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




Beg grace for us from God in heaven as we sing to the glory of your honorable name, 0 Michael, that in the shadow of your protection we may live in all piety and purity until, set loose from the bonds of flesh and death, we may be granted to stand before the flaming throne of the King of Glory and sing with all the choirs of angels: Alleluia!


Twelfth Chant


Singing the praises of your many different miracles performed for our salvation, we pray the Lord and Master of all, 0 Michael, that the spirit of zeal for the glory of God that is within you fail not in us who sing to you with these hymns of praise:


Hail, you who divinely set up in the heights of power the servants of God in time of need!
Hail, you who invisibly bring down from the heights of strength and glory those who are unworthy and insolent!
Hail, you, who on the last day, shall gather the chosen from the four ends of the earth!
Hail, you by whom at the voice of God sinners shall be committed like bares to the eternal fire!
Hail, you by whom Satan and his angels shall be cast into the lake of fire!
Hail, you by whom the righteous shall gloriously be made to settle in the mansion of our heavenly Father!
Hail, Michael, great chief captain with all the hosts of heaven!




0 most wonderful leader of archangels and angels, because of your most marvelous service for the salvation of mankind, accept from us the sound of praise and thanksgiving now offered to you, and as you are filled with the strength of God, protect us with your immaterial wings from all visible and invisible enemies, that we may cry without ceasing to the Lord glorified by you and who glorified you: Alleluia!


Prayer of Entrustment


0 great and holy Michael, Archangel of God, standing at the head of the angels before the everlasting + Trinity, 0 advocate and preserver of mankind, who - with your hosts - has broken in heaven the head of the daystar, Satan, the exceedingly proud one, and who always puts to shame his evil and cunning servants on earth, we run to you with faith and pray to you with love: be an unbreakable shield and firm bastion for the Holy Church and for our nation, protecting them with your lightning sword. Be for us a guardian angel, a wise counselor and helper of our land bringing to it from the throne of the Eternal Ruling King and Lord our God enlightenment and strength, joy, peace and comfort. Be for us the chief captain and fellow-fighter of our honorable country, crowning it with glory and victory over unjust adversaries, that all who oppose us may know that God and His holy angels stand ready to defend us. Be the physician and healer of those wounded. Be the pillar and defender of those children of the Church of God that are in captivity. And forsake not, 0 Archangel of God, with your help and protection, those of us who today glorify your holy name. For, behold, though we are great sinners, yet we desire not to perish in our iniquities but to turn to the Lord and be made by Him to live for good works. Illuminate our minds with the light of the Countenance of God that shines without ceasing on the lightning-like forehead, that we may understand that the will of God concerning us is good and perfect and knows all that is right for us to do, and even that which is right to omit and overlook. Strengthen by the grace of the Lord, our weak and feeble purpose, that made firm in the commandments of the Lord we may cease to wallow in earthly thoughts drawn by the lusts of the flesh as senseless children through the perishable beauties of the world. Above all these things, ask from on high for us the true spirit of repentance, true sorrow and contrition for our sins before God, that we may spend the remaining number of our days in this temporal life, not in the satisfying of our feelings and in the bondage to our passions, but in the blotting out of the evil we have done by tears of faith and heartfelt compunction, by works of charity, chastity, and holy acts of loving mercy.


When the hour of our end and of our liberation from the earthly bonds of our own bodies draws near, 0 Archangel of God, leave us not without defense against the earthly spirits of evil who try to hinder the entry of man into the heavenly places. Preserved by you, may we, without hindrance, reach those all-glorious dwelling-places of Paradise where there is neither sorrow nor sighing but only life without end. May we be made worthy to behold the Face of our all-gracious Lord and Master, and falling at His feet with tears may we cry out in joy and tender feeling: Glory to You, our most tender, dear Redeemer, who, because of Your great love for us, your unworthy servants and handmaidens, have been pleased to send Your angels in the service of our salvation! For all the powers of heaven praise You, and we give glory, honor and thanksgiving to You, Father +, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.


0 chosen captain of the heavenly hosts and defender of mankind, we, delivered by you from all afflictions, offer this hymn of thanksgiving, and do you, standing before the throne of the King of Glory, set us free from all distress that we may cry to you with faith and love:


Hail, Michael, great captain, with all the hosts of heaven! Three times.