ST. MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

In the Eastern liturgies, many times the angels are referred to in their role of unceasing praise and attendance at the sacrifice of the altar. Here we see St. Michael the Archangel as captain of the heavenly armies, as the book of Revelation refers to him. He is often wearing armor, though not in this icon, and his wings are spread as if in readiness to answer the call to battle. He wears the deacon's sticharion and holds in his right hand a lance, symbol of authority besides being a weapon. His left hand holds an icon of Christ. Barely seen are ribbons in his hair which represent spiritual hearing of our prayers.

His feast day in the East is November 8th per Julian Calendar or November 21st per Gregorian, and he is beloved in both the Eastern and Western churches, with various feast days to commemorate him. The word "angel" denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power.