Angels: Nine Ranks –

According to Orthodox doctrine, God created not only the visible world, but also the invisible spiritual world. What do we know about the world of “Heaven Powers”?

From ancient Greek, the word ὁ ἄγγελος (angelos) is translated as “messenger”, “messenger”.

Good angels bring messages from God, carry out His commands and proclaim His will, so meeting them is also meeting the God who sent them.

Angels, according to the testimony of Sacred Scripture, the lives of saints and the writings of the Church Fathers, appear, for example, when passing from this life to another world. In the Old Testament, angels sometimes even destroy and kill people (2 Kings 19:35; 1 Chron. 21:15-16; 2 Chron. 32:21; Is. 37:36), although of course , much more often they protect and save a person.

An angel (Greek messenger, messenger) is a spiritual, invisible being who, like man, was created by God and has a personal being. In the relationship between man and God, angels play a role of service: they proclaim to men the will of God.

According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, all angels (heavenly forces) are divided into three faces. In turn, each face is subdivided into three others. This division is based on two principles: the degree of closeness to God and the type of service.

One way or another, but the appearance of an angel is actually a very, very difficult test. It is very important to know that the holy fathers advised to be extremely careful of the appearance of angels or spirits, and rather not to trust them. After all, “Satan is transformed into an angel of light…and his servants are transformed into servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). This is what St. Ignatius Brianchaninov said about the sensual manifestation of spirits, to which, in the opinion of the hieromonk Seraphim Rose (“The soul after death”), belongs the clearest orthodox consideration of the question of a person’s ability to make contact with spiritual beings.

If primordial man, clothed in an immortal body and foreign to evils and fat, had the ability for direct sensual communication with spirits and with God himself, then after the fall he lost it . Now, “due to extreme corpulence and grossness, bodily feelings are not able to communicate with spirits, they do not see them, they do not hear them, they do not smell… Holy spirits have shunned communication with people, as unworthy of such communication; the fallen spirits, who dragged us down in their downfall, have mingled with us, and in order to keep us more conveniently in captivity, they try to make us invisible themselves and their chains… All of us who are slaves of sin need to know that fellowship with holy angels is unusual to us because of our alienation from them by the fall, which is characteristic of us for the same reason, fellowship with pariah spirits, to whose class we belong in soul…Sensually appearing to people who are in sin and who fall, they are demons, and not holy angels”.

First rank

Seraph. Reference: Isaiah 6:2. Translation: Hebrew, c. – burning, ardent, blazing;

The six-winged angels, closest to God. They take their name from the ardent love they have for their Creator.

Cherubim. Reference: Ex 25:18-20; 37:7–9, etc. ; Heb 9:5

Translation: Hebrew. kerubim – spirits, distributors of knowledge and wisdom;

Four-winged, four-faced angels. Their main service is education.

Thrones. Citation: Eze 1:18; Pass 1:16

Figuratively, the Lord God sits on them, as on a throne, and executes His judgment.

As the Church teaches, the degree of holiness and closeness of these ranks to God is so high that no one else can reach it. As soon as the Mother of God (being a human being) was worthy of this glory, as the Church sings: “Most honest of Cherubim and most glorious without comparison of Seraphim.”

Second rank

Dominance. Reference: Col 1:16; Ep 1:21

They are invisible mentors of earthly authorities and God-appointed leaders. They also help a person to tame his passions, to control them.

Forces. Reference: Rom 8:38; Ep 1:21

They are endowed with a special power to perform miracles, they bring down this grace on the righteous and the saints of God.

Authorities. Reference: Col 1:16; Ep 1:21

They have the power to tame the power of fallen angels, and also command the elements.

Third row

Directions (Beginnings). Reference: Col 1:16; Ep 1:21

They are endowed with the right to command the laws of the universe, of nature, and also to protect peoples and countries.

Archangels. Mentioned: Rev. 12:7, etc.

Heads of angels. Teachers and heralds of God’s will for man, transmitters of Revelation.

A special place in the angelic hierarchy is occupied by the archangels, the archangels of the celestial armies. These include Archangels Michael and Gabriel and five other Archangels – Jeremiel, Raphael, Uriel, Salafiel, Egudiel, Barahiel. Archangel Michael is considered the supreme archangel, the patron of the entire heavenly host.

Angels. Mentioned: Rev 1:7 etc.

Closest to man, they are the conductors of God’s will, as well as guardians, protectors. In this case, the word angel precisely designates the rank of the Celestial Forces.

In a broader sense, this word means a representative of any rank in general, without specifics.

guardian angel

An angel who is invisibly attached to a specific person during baptism in order to pray for them before God and protect them from harm.

Source of the original publication in Russian: Journal “Foma” No.: No. 1 (141) January 2015.

Photo: Cherub / Infographic “Angel_On_Two_Wheels_Tetramorph_clip_art_hight

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