Friday, 31 October 2014

Patronal Festival

Those who failed to show up for the Autumn Fayre can make amends by helping to make
out Patronal Festival a great success.
Acceptances of invitations have come in from far and wide and so we look forward to
welcoming lots of visitors to our spacious, warm church in Dresden on Saturday 8th.

We shall serve Great Vespers and Memorial on the Friday at 7pm at Audley, then on the
Saturday 10am Matins, 11am Divine Liturgy and Artoklasia at Dresden, with festal
refreshments in Saint Marina’s Hall afterwards. Let’s make this a very special occasion to
show our hospitality and share our joy.

It is difficult to know how many are likely to turn up to the services and to the feast 
afterwards, but if you are able to provide food and/or drinks for the occasion then please make lots! There are facilities at Saint Marina’s Hall for heating things up, so hot food is just as welcome as cold.

Archangel Michael

The Holy Archangel Michael is one of the most celebrated of the Angels and bodiless 
powers; he is called the Archistrategos, or chief commander, of all the bodiless powers. 
According to Holy Scripture and Tradition, he has interceded for humanity multiple times 
and continues to serve as the Defender of the Faith. St Michael is most often invoked for 
protection from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries 
on the field of battle. He is celebrated primarily on November 8, the Synaxis of Michael and 
all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven; September 6 also marks the miracle of the Archangel at Colossae.

The name Michael means "like unto God" or "Who is like unto God?"
Michael first appears in the Old Testament in the book of 
Joshua's account of the fall of Jericho. Though Michael is not 
mentioned by name in the text, it is said that Joshua "looked 
up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn 
sword in his hand." When the still unaware Joshua asks which 
side of the fight the Archangel is on, Michael responds, "neither...but as commander of the army of the Lord I have 
now come" (Joshua 5:13-14) (1).

In the book of Daniel, Michael appears first to help the Archangel Gabriel defeat the Persians (10:13). In a later vision it is revealed to Daniel that "at that time [the end times] Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then..." (Ch. 12) (1). 
Michael thus plays an important role as the protector of Israel and later of his chosen people, the Church.

The Church Fathers also ascribe to Michael the following events: During the Exodus of the 
Israelites from Egypt he went before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar 
of fire by night; the power of the great Chief Commander of God was manifest in the 
annihilation of the 185 thousand soldiers of the Assyrian emperor Sennacherib (4/2 Kings 
19:35); also in the smiting of the impious leader Heliodorus (2 Macc. 3: 24-26); and in the 
protection of the Three Holy Youths: Ananias, Azarias and Misail, thrown into the fiery 
furnace for their refusal to worship an idol (Dan 3:22-25). Through the will of God, the Chief 
Commander Michael transported the Prophet Habbakuk (December 2) from Judea to 
Babylon, to give food to Daniel in the lions' den (Dan. 14:33-37). The Archangel Michael 
disputed with the devil over the body of the holy Prophet Moses (Jude 1:9). 

In New Testament times, the holy Archangel Michael showed his power when he 
miraculously saved a young man, cast into the sea by robbers with a stone about his neck on the shores of Mt Athos. This story is found in the Athonite Paterikon, and in the Life of St 
Neophytus of Docheiariou (November 9).

Perhaps his most famous miracle, 
though, is the salvation of the church 
at Colossae. Here a number of pagans 
tried to destroy this church by 
diverting the flow of two rivers directly 
into its path. However, the Archangel 
appeared amongst the waters, and, 
carrying a cross, channelled the rivers 
underground so that the ground the 
church stood on would not be 
destroyed. The spring which came 
forth after this event is said to have 
special healing powers.

Michael also has been associated with 
healing in other cases, as well as his 
primary role as leader of the Church 
Militant. He has been said to appear to 
Emperor Constantine the Great (d. 
337) at Constantinople, to have 
intervened in assorted battles, and 
appeared, sword in hand, over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope St. Gregory I the Great (r. 590-604) that a plague in Rome should cease. Russians in particular have a special veneration to Michael, along with the Theotokos. 
According to OCA, "Intercession for Russian cities by the Most Holy Queen of Heaven 
always involved Her appearances with the Heavenly Hosts, under the leadership of the 
Archangel Michael. Grateful Rus acclaimed the Most Pure Mother of God and the Archangel 
Michael in church hymns. Many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are 
dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael. In Russia there was not a city where there was 
not a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael."

Michael, Captain and leader of the armies of heaven,
Unworthy as we are, we beseech the without cease to surround us with 
thine intercessions,
And cover us beneath the shelter of the wings of thine ethereal glory.
We bend our knee, and cry out with perseverance;
Deliver us from danger, O Prince of the Powers on high.