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#1 Guest_Loretta

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Posted 07 October 2003 - 02:24 PM

Greetings to all in Christ,

I just finished watching an interesting two hour program (I was being lazy about beginning my chores today) on the History Channel about Angels.

Can we talk about Angels from an Orthodox view? I did a search on previous Angel topics but couldn't find anything. If this subject was previously discussed, I'd appreciate someone's direction to that thread.





#2 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 05:01 AM

Loretta, this is one more example to add to the list of how "coincidences" are anything but!

Just a couple of days ago I started thinking about guardian angels and what they were and what the Orthodox Church believes. I downloaded quite a lot of information to read and study.

I will now reread and post any information that I feel you might find interesting.

Effie


#3 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 09:25 AM

Just a little more, Loretta.

The Church's Teaching Concerning Angels – the following excerpts are from http://orthodoxinfo....ath/angels2.htm

The Creation, Nature and Purpose of the Angelic World.

Angels in Holy Scripture

The word "angel" means "messenger" and this word expresses the nature of angelic service to the human race. From the days of man's life in paradise, mankind has known of their existence, and its almost universal recognition is reflected not only in Judaism but in most other ancient religions as well.

The Creation of the Angels

In the Symbol of Faith we find the following words: "I believe in One God . . . the Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible." The invisible, angelic world was created by God before the visible world. "When the stars were made, all My angels praised Me with a loud voice" (Job 38:7). The Apostle Paul writes: "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16). Studying the first words of the Book of Genesis, "in the beginning God created heaven and earth", some of the Fathers of the Church understand the word "heaven" as meaning not the firmament, which was created later, but the invisible heaven, the world of angels.

“The Nature of the Angels

By their nature, angels are active spirits endowed with reason, will and knowledge; they serve God, fulfil the will of His Providence and praise Him. They are incorporeal spirits, and because they belong to the invisible world, cannot be seen by our bodily eyes. St. John of Damascus writes: "When it is the will of God that angels should appear to those who are worthy, they do not appear as they are in their essence, but, transformed, take on such an appearance as to be visible to physical eyes." In the book of Tobit, the angel accompanying Tobit and his son Angels, being incorporeal spirits, are capable to the highest degree spiritual development. Their mind has a much more exalted quality than that of the human mind and in power and strength they transcend all earthly authorities, as St. Peter teaches (II Pet. 2:11). The nature of an angel is higher than the nature of a man, as King David teaches us when, to stress the dignity of a man, he remarks, "Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels" (Ps. 8:5). However, even their exalted qualities have their limits. Holy Scripture tells us that they do not know the depths of the essence of God, which is known only to the Spirit of God: "The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:11). They do not know the future, which is also known only to God: "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, ... not the angels which are in heaven" (Mark 13:32). The angels are also incapable of fully understanding the mystery of redemption, which they "desire to look into" (I Pet. 1:12) but cannot. They are even incapable of knowing all human thoughts (Kings 8:39), and cannot perform miracles on their own but only by the will of God. "Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel, Who alone doeth wonders" (Ps. 71:19).

In Holy Scripture we find the names of some of the highest angels. There are two such names in the canonical books, "Michael" ("Who is like unto God?" Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Jude v. 9; Rev. 12:7-8) and "Gabriel" ("Man of God" Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19-26). In the deutero-canonical books of the "Apocrypha" we have "Raphael" ("The help of God" Tobit 3:17; 12:15); "Uriel" ("Fire of God" A.V.) or "Jeremiel" ("The highness or mercy of God" R.V.), in II Esdras 4:36; "Uriel" also in II Esdras 4:1; "Salathiel" ("Prayer to God" A.V.) or "Phaltiel" R.V. or "Psaltiel" (in Syriac, II Esdras 5:16). Apart from these names, pious tradition gives yet another two names of angels, "Jehudiel" ("The praise of God") and "Barachiel" ("The blessing of God"), although these names do not appear in Holy Scripture. Various listings exist of the great archangels and in these many alternative names occur, yet it is significant that in all cases only seven names are given and this is in agreement with the words of St. John in the Revelation: "Grace be unto you and peace, from Him Which is, and Which is to come: and from the seven spirits which are before His throne " (Rev. 1:4).

The Service of the Angels

But what is the purpose of the beings who people the spiritual world? Obviously God intended and intends that they should be the most perfect reflections of His majesty and glory and share in His bliss. If we are told of the visible heavens, "The heavens declare the glory of God", how much more is this the purpose of the spiritual heavens. For this reason St. Gregory the Theologian calls them "reflections of the Perfect Light" or secondary lights.

The angels of those ranks which are closest to the human race appear in Holy Scripture as messengers or heralds of the will of God, guides for people and the servants of their salvation. The Apostle Paul writes: "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14).

You can read the full text if you go to the link I posted, Loretta.


Effie






#4 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 09:31 AM

Another link, Loretta.

http://www.fatherale...h/angels.htm#n5

Effie




#5 Guest_Loretta

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Posted 08 October 2003 - 11:44 PM

Effie, Thank you for all your help. Your links are most interesting.




#6 Guest_Xenia

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Posted 09 October 2003 - 01:39 AM

I hesitate to post this, but maybe you good people will be interested.

I believe I actually met my guardian angel. Years ago, I was struggling with a sinful habit. I had pretty much gotten victory over it, as we used to say. One night, I had a vivid dream, and in this dream I was about to commit the sin again. "No no!" I yelled. "I don't wanna do this anymore. Jesus, help!" Then, up in the left corner of my range of vision appeared a little devil who was chuckling and said "Jesus can't hear you now! This is a dream!" "No, that can't be!" I cried. "Jesus, save me!" And at that moment, an angelic being appeared in the upper right corner of my range of vision. "Ok, let's sing," he said. And he started singing a good song that we sang at church that listed all the wonderful attributes of Jesus Christ. I barely knew the words, but I tried to sing along and pretty soon the angel and I were singing loudly. As we sang, the demon got smaller and smaller and vanished. Eventually, the angel and I were front and center, holding hands and singing praises to God. End of dream. I woke up, totally amazed.

Well, I like to think that was an encounter with my guardian angel. I know we Orthodox are taught to be careful about visions, but this happened before I was Orthodox. I am still inclined to think it was my dear guardian angel. What do you folks think?

I won't be offended if you think it was "just" a dream.

Love, Xenia


#7 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 12 October 2003 - 09:45 PM

Can we talk about Angels from an Orthodox view?


Dear Loretta,

I wonder if, after some days have passed since you initially posted your question, you've had time to reflect on the responses and materials you received and now might have some more particular questions on the Orthodox understanding of angels? I think this is a topic of interest to many, and perhaps a start might be made in discussion if you could pose some particular questions or thoughts to narrow down the otherwise very large field.

INXC, Matthew

#8 Guest_Loretta

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 12:51 PM

Thank you again Effie, and also Xenia and Matthew,

I have to admit that most of the time I'm unaware of my guardian angel - thank God he continues to stay by my side. I can remember three times that I've encountered the affects of my guardian angel though not in any visual circumstance.

Sinful as I am, I've come to think that the promptings of my angel are responsible in my struggles to remain in God's presence. Surely I don't have the spirituality or intelligence to follow Our Lord on my own. I think angels speak to our souls, not our ears.

My angel will probably never appear to me in human form, but I expect to recognize him when I pass from this world to the next.

Back to my original statement - upon viewing the "angel program", it seemed shallow in assuming that winged creatures in ancient flowing robes and curly hair were the basis for belief among so many peoples. Perhaps it is just man's pitible attempt to portray these invisible creatures.

I pray to the Holy Spirit to instruct my guardian angel to constantly stay close to my side less I stray.

Loretta


#9 John Wilson

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 01:27 PM

One of our priests, quoting someone else who I cannot remember, said that every time a baby smiles he is looking at his guardian angel.

I have lost count of the number of times we watched our youngest child lying on his back, looking up in fascination at the corner of a bare ceiling with a look of sheer joy on his face.

John.


#10 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 04:07 PM

Reply to Xenia, post no. 7.

Dear Xenia, I, myself, haven't had any similar experience to yours that I remember but my mother has.

She was very sad and lonely a couple of years ago and she had been crying and praying. She thinks she dozed off when she saw a light in front of her. she saw a figure in the light and the figure told her not to be afraid and to sleep in peace. She said that her fear and sorrow disappeared immediately and she had a sweet and restful sleep. I don't know all the details because, loving daughter that I am, I gave her a smart answer and told her that she probably imagined the whole thing - another of the things I regret in my life. She is firmly convinced that an angel visited her.

Effie


#11 Guest_Rebecca

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 06:36 PM

This isn't about angels, but Effie's uplifting post reminds me...A friend of mine once told me that when she was a little girl, she was sleeping and the Theotokos came to visit her...sitting next to her on the bed, Panagia told the little girl that despite what was about to happen, everything was going to be ok. Next morning the little girl woke up to find her mom had passed away. But the little girl knew she was going to be ok.


#12 Richard Leigh

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Posted 13 October 2003 - 08:36 PM

Loretta,

Wings, in the depiction of Angels (or, for that matter, any of the heavenly host) either in iconography, are to convey the idea of speed, as well, I suppose of "upwardness" or "heavenlyness," to our lowly human minds. They clearly do not always appear that way.

Richard




#13 Guest_Fr John Wehling

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 04:47 PM

John,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) has written on infants in his book "Life after Death", starting (in the English edition) on p. 94. It specifically deals with the death of infants, but has much good to say about the purity of infants in general. This relates, by the way, I believe, to what Matthew has posted re: Adam and Eve as infants.

Met. Hierotheos cites your reference to infants seeing angels and attributes it to an Athonite elder.

Peace,
Fr John


#14 Jason Adams

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:48 AM

John,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Met. Hierotheos (Vlachos) has written on infants in his book "Life after Death", starting (in the English edition) on p. 94. It specifically deals with the death of infants, but has much good to say about the purity of infants in general. This relates, by the way, I believe, to what Matthew has posted re: Adam and Eve as infants.

Met. Hierotheos cites your reference to infants seeing angels and attributes it to an Athonite elder.

Peace,
Fr John


We often assume that children (to what age??) are innocent and don't sin. Is that correct?

Often children are behaving like little demons, not little angels. They make their parent miserable, they beat their siblings, they can deal quite sadistically with animals, insects etc.
What are we to make with this?

Jason

#15 Effie Ganatsios

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 07:05 AM

That they are human, nothing more, nothing less.

A child is born, he or she is cherished by its parents and is their priority. Suddenly, a new baby arrives, all the attention is now focused on it. It is natural that the first child feels jealousy and reacts according to its nature

A young child will sometimes hit its little brother or sister. I hardly think this is a sin. A young child cannot control its emotions and is expressing how its feels. This is where parents show their love. They will direct the child, they will train it and they will allow the love in it to shine through.

Children copy their parents. They are also very fair minded and when they see that their parents are paying more attention to a brother or a sister they will react. If they don't react they will keep their feelings inside themselves and this is much worse.

I have seen a lot of unruly children in my time, and each and every time, it was obvious to me that the parents, especially the mother, was to blame.



Children are not born with sin, they want and need love and when they think they are deprived of it, they react.

Effie

#16 Alice

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 08:33 AM

What Effie says, (as she always does, because she is a wise woman) is very true about children copying their parents. I have seen that jealous parents have jealous children and visa versa.

One older Greek woman I knew, who was a jealous woman, had a very jealous adult son. He was always jealous of his younger brother as a child and as an adult, and also of others.

One time she was over my house when my son (the older child) was acting out because he was clearly jealous of my daughter (the baby). I explained to him that he was acting the way he was because he was feeling jealous, and that it is an emotion that we all feel at one time or another, but one which we should be aware of and try to overcome.

When the older woman heard me she said: " SHHHHHHH! Do not say THAT word (jealous) EVER! ". I suppose that this meant that she believed that if you ignored and did not label the negative emotion, that it wouldn't exist or that it would go away". Clearly that is why her adult son had so many issues with it, and she did also. Unfortunately, she never went to confession (it being an almost non-existent, non mandatory and encouraged sacrament for the Greek people for a long time) or else she would have had to analyze her negative emotions and would have to have faced up to their existence.

I am happy to say that through the years of raising my children, I discussed jealousy from a spiritual point of view when it reared its ugly head (which it inevitably does when one's classmates have 'this' or 'that'), and that jealousy, as a passion, is not one which defines my children...

(Atleast that is one thing I seemed to have done right! *wink*)

Alice

(sorry for going off topic--my next post will be about an encounter I had with what I believe was an angel)

#17 Alice

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 09:02 AM

When I was a younger woman, my mother was in the hospital in New York City for an operation at a well known, mid-town hospital. One day I decided to take my elderly grandmother to see her in her expensive car. I told her that I would drive. This meant driving from the northern suburb I lived in, into Manhattan. I was new in the area, so I didn't know the roads into NYC very well. At one point, upon entering the city, I took a wrong road which led me into a very dangerous and unrecognizable area of Manhattan. My grandmother, who was a native New Yorker, and who loved to drive in her day and knew practically all areas of the city, didn't even know this area. The streets were not numbered like in other parts of the city, but named--so we were both clueless as to how to get out of there.

New York has changed alot in the past four decades. This was in the early 1980's when New York was a much more dangerous place than it is today, and when a deep recession was widely felt, so that a brand new expensive car, as the one which I was driving, stood out greatly--even in the best of neighborhoods. Racial tensions were also high at that time...

So here is this young white girl with her elderly grandmother driving around lost in an expensive car. I stopped to ask directions from a young man who looked somewhat nice. He gave me directions which eventually got me even more lost, although he was trying to help. He added: "You should be very careful driving here and do not open your window to ask directions from anybody again". Ofcourse, that made me even more nervous, as I was a timid and easily frightened young person. I was literally shaking and crying as I drove around in circles, past people sitting and standing outside their buildings, and who were clearly not amused to see my presence. I started praying to God to help us..I felt so scared for myself, but also for my beloved grandmother who was with me.

As soon as I finished my prayer for help, an all white (interior and exterior) Mercedes convertible with a beautiful black woman dressed in all white with a white turban came to find itself infront of me. Since, this was a most unusual sight for this particular neighborhood, my instincts told me to follow her...and that such a person would probably be headed into a 'better' neighborhood. So I followed my 'instincts' and simply followed her, and eventually, sure enough, I found myself at the extreme outer edge of Central Park, where all one has to do is follow the avenue as the streets then become numbered and lead to mid-town. I breathed a sigh of relief and 'poof', the white car disappeared.

I thought this was a most unusual turn of events, but it wasn't until I shared the story with my mother that I realized that the woman dressed all in white, in the all white car, was probably an angel who came to help me in answer to my prayer!

Alice




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