The All-Holy Theotokos and Jesus Christ (Center)The Holy Archangel Michael (Left)
The local Council of Ladociea (four or five years before the First Ecumenical Council) rejected the worship of angels as gods and established the proper veneration of angels in its Thirty-fifth Canon. In the fourth century, the present Feast of Archangel Michael and all the other heavenly powers was instituted for celebration in the month of November. Why precisely in November? Because November is the ninth month after March, and March is considered to be the month in which the world was created. Also, as the ninth month after March, November was chosen for the nine orders of angels who were created first. St. Dionysius the Areopagite, a disciple of the Apostle Paul, described these nine orders of angels in his book, On the Celestial Hierarchies, as follows: six-winged Seraphim, many-eyed Cherubim, God-bearing Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The leader of all the angelic hosts is the Archangel Michael. When Satan, Lucifer, fell away from God and drew a part of the angels with him to destruction, then Michael stood up and cried out before the faithful angels: “Let us attend! Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear!” and all of the faithful angelic heavenly hosts cried out: “Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord God of Sabbath! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!” Refer to Joshua 5:13-15 and Jude 1:9.
The Holy Archangel Gabriel (Right)
Gabriel is the herald of the Incarnation of the Son of God. He appeared to Zacharias to announce the birth of the Forerunner. Gabriel said of himself: I am Gabriel that stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). His name Gabriel means “man-God”. The Holy Fathers, in speaking of the Annunciation, comment that an archangel with such a name was sent to signify Who He was, and what He would be like, who would be born of the All-pure one. He would be the God-man, the mighty and powerful God. Some of the Fathers understood that this same Gabriel appeared to Joachim and Anna concerning the birth of the Virgin Mary, and that Gabriel instructed Moses in the wilderness to write the Book of Genesis. The Holy Fathers say that Gabriel belongs to the first and greatest order of heavenly powers, that is, the Seraphim, since the Seraphim stand closest to God. The names of the seven are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel. To this number some add Jeremiel. Each one has his own particular service and all are equal in honor. Michael’s service is to suppress the enemies of the Faith of God, while Gabriel’s is the mission of announcing the salvation of mankind.