On the 8th of November the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast day of the Synaxis of the Taxiarchs and Archangels Michael and Gabriel, along with Raphael, and of the other bodiless and heavenly orders, the Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Authorities, Principalities, Archangels, and Angels.
The word synaxis means the gathering of believers to celebrate a feast or to make a remembrance of a saint. This feast also has a special meaning; it is the gathering of the humans with the angels, “their union, their gathering, and standing in fear in front of the Creator.”(1) Because of the fall of the devil and his angels, this feast is the celebration of the “sobriety and unity” of the rest of the angelic powers who stayed loyal to God. “We celebrate also the contribution of the angels and archangels and their help and support in the war against the dark powers and the devil.”
The Synaxis was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.
A Feast day was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers.
Archangels are messengers of great and wondrous tidings. They reveal prophecies and the mysteries of the faith. They enlighten people to know and understand the will of God, they spread faith in God among the people, illuminating their minds with the light of the Holy Gospel.
The Lord appointed the Holy Archangel Michael (his name in Hebrew means “who is like unto God”), the faithful servitor of God, as Chief Commander. He cast down from Heaven the arrogantly proud Lucifer and the other fallen spirits when they rebelled against God. Michael summoned the ranks of angels and cried out, “Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and do not consider doing what is displeasing unto God!”
According to Church Tradition, and in the church services to the Archangel Michael participated in many other Old Testament events.
Archangel Michael is known as the protector from invasion by enemies and from civil war, and for the defeat of adversaries on the field of battle. He conquers all spiritual enemies.
Today is also the name day of Michael, Michaela, Gabriel, Gabriela, Aggelos, Aggeliki, Panormitis, Panormita, Taxiarhis, Taxiarha.