Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Holy Archangel Gabriel

This great archangel of God is commemorated on March 26. On July 13, however, his appearances and miracles throughout the entire history of man’s salvation are celebrated. It is believed that this celebration was first established on the Holy Mountain in the ninth century, during the time of the Emperors Basil and Constantine Porphyrogenitus and Patriarch Nicholas Chrysoverges, and was occasioned by the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel in a cell near Karyes, where the archangel wrote with his finger on a stone tablet the hymn to the Theotokos “It Is Truly Meet.” Because of this event, the cell was called, and is called to this day “It is Truly Meet.” Together with this occurrence, the other appearances of the Archangel Gabriel are also commemorated: the archangel’s appearance to Moses while he was tending the flock of Jethro, when he related to this great one called of  God how the world was created and all the rest that Moses later recorded in the Book of  Genesis; his appearance to the Prophet Daniel, revealing to him the mystery of future kingdoms and of the coming of the Saviour; his appearance to St. Anna and the promise that she would give birth to a daughter,  the All-blessed and All-pure Virgin Mary; his repeated appearances to the Holy Virgin while she was living in the Temple in Jerusalem; his appearance to Zachariah the High Priest with the tidings of the birth of John the Forerunner, and the punishment of dumbness upon Zachariah because he did not believe the archangel’s words; his appearance once again to the Holy Virgin, in Nazareth, with the Annunciation of the conception and birth of the Lord Jesus Christ; his appearance to the righteous Joseph; his appearance to the shepherds near Bethlehem; his appearance to the Lord Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he strengthened the Lord, as a man, prior to His passion; his appearance to the myrrh-bearing women, and so on.

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