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~ The greatest lack in this world is compassion and care ~

~ The greatest lack in this world is compassion and care ~
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Thursday, 17 March 2016

Angels from an Orthodox Christian Perspective

What Orthodox Christians Believe About Angels


Created Long before HumansSaint John of Damascus tells us: "God is Himself the Maker and Creator of the angels; for He brought them out of nothing into being and created them after His own image. They are an incorporeal race, a sort of spirit or immaterial fire, even as the divine David says that ' His angels are spirits , and His ministers a flame of fire (Ps 103:6).

Nature of AngelsAngels are active spirits with intelligence, will and knowledge. They serve God to carry out His will and glorify Him. The angels are bodiless and invisible to our physical eyes. They have no bodily needs or desires and passions, no cares about food, drink, clothes or shelter. Nor do they possess the impulse and cravings for procreation. They neither marry nor are given in marriage (Matt. 22:30). They have no worries about the future either, and no fear of death. For, though God created them before man, they are neither aged nor aging, but unchangingly youthful, beautiful and strong. They have no anxiety about their salvation and no struggle for immorality, being already immortal (Luke 20:36). Unlike men, they are not faltering between good and evil, being already good and holy as when God created them.

Peter informs us that in their might and power they surpass all earthly governments and authorities (II Peter 2:10-11). But as created beings they have limitations. They do not know the depths of the essence of God (I Cor 2:11). They do not know the future that only God knows (Mark 13:32). They do not fully understand the mystery of the Redemption yet they wish to (I Peter 1:12). They don't know human thoughts (III Kings 8:39). And thy cannot by themselves perform miracles without the will of God (Ps 71:19).

"An angel, then, is an intelligent essence, in perpetual motion, with free will, incorporeal, ministering to God, having obtained by grace an immortal nature. The Creator alone knows the form and limitation of the angelic essence; but all that we can understand is that it is incorporeal and immaterial. For all that is compared with god, Who alone is incomparable, we find to be dense and material. For in reality only the Deity is immaterial and incorporeal." Saint John of Damascus.

• Thrones, Cherubims, and Seraphim - those closest to God.

The Seraphim (Means flaming) are aflame with love for God and kindle others to such love. They are closest to God as the prophet Isaiah saw, saying: "And the seraphim stood around Him, each having six wings" (Isaiah 6:2). They are fire-like, "For our God is a consuming fire." (Heb 12:29); "His throne was a flame of fire" (Dan 7:9), "Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire" (Ps 103:4).

After the seraphim, are the many-eyed Cherubim (Means Great understanding) who are radiant with the knowledge of the mysteries of God and the depths of His Wisdom. Through the cherubim wisdom is sent down to others and spiritual enlightenment is given to see of God and gain knowledge of Him.

Next are the Thrones. On them God intellectually resides. Residing on them in an incomprehensible manner, God makes His righteous judgment, according to the word of David: "Thou hast sat upon a throne, O Thou that judgest righteousness." (Ps 9:4). They serve His justice, glorifying it and pouring out the power of justice onto the thrones of earthly judges, helping kings and masters to bring forthright judgment.

• Dominions Virtues and Powers

The Dominions dominate the rest of the angels. They send down power for prudent governing and wise management to authorities on the earth set up by God. Further they teach how to control the senses, how to subdue in oneself dissolute desires and passions, how to enslave the flesh to the spirit, and how to rule over one's will and be above all temptations.

The Virtues (Authorities) work miracles and send down the grace of miracle-working to those worthy of such grace, so they may work miracles. They help people laboring and those overburdened by troubles and they bear the infirmities of the weak. They also strengthen every man in patience.

The Powers have power over the devil, to restrain the demons, to repulse the temptations brought upon people by them. They help those wrestling with passions and vices to cast out evil thoughts.

• Angels, Archangels, and Principalities - those closest to ManThe Principalities direct the lower angels. They are entrusted with the management of the universe and the keeping of all the kingdoms and princedoms, of lands and all peoples, races and nations. They raise worthy people to various honorable offices and direct them so that they take power for the sake of spreading and augmenting of God's holy glory, and for the sake of the benefit of their neighbors.

The Archangels are the heralds of good news. They reveal prophecies, knowledge, and understanding of God's will which they receive from the higher orders of angels and announce to the lower order. They strengthen people in faith, enlightening their mind with the light of knowledge of the holy Gospel and revealing the mysteries of devout faith.

The Angels are the lowest of all the orders and the closest to man. They announce the lesser mysteries and intentions of God and teach people to live virtuously and righteously before God. They are appointed to guard each of us who believe.

Guardian AngelThe Orthodox Church believes that each person is assigned a guardian angel. Christ said, "Take heed that ye despise not ye of these little ones, for I say unto you, that their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven" (Matt 18:10).

Read full and original complete article here.

Peace be with you
Pauline Maria

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