July 13, 2023

Homily on the Commemoration of the Archangel Gabriel on July 13th

 By Metropolitan Gerasimos of Petras and Herronisos

(Delivered during Great Vespers on July 12th 2022 
at the Church of the Archangel Michael in Exo Lakonia)

Although, my beloved brethren, there exists for today the commemoration of the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel, unfortunately the synaxarion does not give us the reason of the commemoration, whether it is for a miracle or an appearance of the Archangel. It seems to have been forgotten over the centuries. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, who wrote the Synaxaristes, despite his research in all the archives and libraries of the Monasteries of Mount Athos, failed to discover the reason why the Archangel Gabriel was celebrated on July 13.

The feast, however, is an opportunity to address the Commander-in-Chief Gabriel who, together with the Archangel Michael and all the heavenly Angelic Orders, are at the service of people, because God sends them to serve, protect and help the human race . After all, each of us also has his personal Holy Angel, whom he receives on the day of his baptism. Archangels are the ones who convey God's commands and will to people. They are liturgical Spirits sent to minister, as the Old Testament mentions and the theology of the Fathers of the Church teaches us.

There were many appearances of the Archangel Gabriel in the world during the Old Testament. First, he was revealed to the captured Prophet Daniel, to interpret the inexplicable dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar, which foretold his defeat by the kings of the Medes, Persians and Greeks. However, he appeared a second time to the Prophet Daniel and revealed to him when the Incarnation of the Son and Word of God will take place. He also appeared to Hannah and tells her that she will give birth to Samuel, but also to the Prophet Zechariah to whom he tells that Elizabeth will give birth to the Honorable Forerunner.

But his greatest appearance was before the Most Holy Theotokos, in Nazareth, where he conveyed to her the salvific message of the Lord that she will bring into the world the Savior of the World; that is why, as the interpreters of the Fathers of the Church note, the name of the Archangel Gabriel means "God and man." But also throughout the Incarnate Economy and Christ's presence in the world, the Archangel Gabriel is present and heralds the coming and incarnation of the Lord, as well as the salvific events of the Divine Economy.

So we have come here today to honor the Archangel Gabriel, to call upon him to save us from all sorrow, from all wrath and temptation, to give us all health, spiritual and physical, and his grace to accompanying us all the days of our lives. And let us beg him to never leave us, to always have us under the shadow of his wings and to help us, together with all the heavenly Angelic Orders, to apply God's will in our lives.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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