November 2023

Dear Beloved in the Lord,

I offer you the following words from Elder John Krestiankin for the Feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven:
"The Church has dedicated this day, my dear ones, to Archangel Michael, the leader of the Heavenly Powers, and depicts him on the icons with a threatening and warlike appearance. On his head is a helmet, in his hand is a sword or spear. Under his feet is the dragon he has trampled. With whom and against whom does this valiant leader wage war?! We know, my friends, that the whole angelic world, which was created even before man and the entire visible world, was at the time of creation given great perfection and gifts of grace. And great and glorious was its purpose. Amidst this angelic world, one of the ruling angels—Lucifer—discovered the source of evil and pride in himself and rebelled against his Creator. The angels, like people, were created with free will. And at the beginning they were able to abuse this freedom and fall into sin-
-which Lucifer did. He desired to be independent from God. The spiritual world was shaken, and a portion of the angels followed after him. At that moment, from amidst that same angelic assemblage a fighter came forth for God's glory and showed that he knows God, and recognizes Him alone as the One God, Creator, and Ruler of the whole universe. "There is no one like God!" he boldly and decisively proclaimed, witnessing to God's greatness. By this act he manifested his personal qualities: steadfast faith, boldness and decisiveness of action, and the ability not only to believe but also to witness to God—radiating and spreading the divine Light he had received to the whole world. The struggle was hard, for Lucifer was gifted with great sophistication. But the powers of good orercame the powers of evil...
Lucifer was cast out of Heaven along with his followers. Then Archangel Michael was confirmed as the leader of the whole angelic world faithful to God. From that time on Archangel Michael has always had a sword in his hand, for satan, cast down from Heaven, never ceases to wage war against the dwellers of heaven. The fallen angels' ability to penetrate into the higher realms of the world's foundation has been severed from them. That is why they turn all their malice toward people, and first and foremost upon those who believe in God.
Could the Archangel Michael's sword possibly remain idle under such circumstances? Of course not! The Archangel does not cease warring with the spirits of evil and darkness, protecting God's true children from their cunning machinations. And this struggle will intensify before the end of the world. By now we should all understand why the Archangel Michael is depicted with such a militant appearance. He is the defender of God's Church. And his appearance should bring God's enemies to fear. But we should rejoice that we have such a valiant defender —the leader of the Heavenly Powers under Heaven. We should remember that his protecting sword will always be on our side, if we would only not ally ourselves with that same enemy against which the Archangel Michael wars. As time went on, the angels who remained faithful to their Creator and who comprise the regiments of Archangel Michael have so strongly confirmed themselves in goodness that sin has become impossible for them. Not because they, having free will, cannot go against God's will, but simply because they will never want to do that, they will never want to sin. My friends, pay attention to these words. They will never want to sin! How instructive this is for us. Not wanting to sin means receiving the possibility to come closer to God and see Him as the angels see Him. To serve Him and only Him, fulfilling His commands." Through the prayers of the Holy Archangel Michael and all the bodiless powers of Heaven may God save us, protect us, and have mercy on us! Amen!