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Image by Greg Rosenke


The Festival of Archangel Saint Gabriel


         In his homily, Saint Gabriel is depicted as one of the archangels who valiantly defended the honor and wisdom of God during a celestial rebellion. This period of turmoil was initiated when a deceptive angel, later known as Satan, sought to ascend above God Himself. Amid this confusion, St. Gabriel encouraged his fellow angels with a resolute message: "We shall persist until we realize our Creator."


         The ensuing conflict in heaven was tumultuous, as Satan endeavored to overthrow the Son of God and those loyal to His will. However, the virtuous angels triumphed. Satan and his adherents were consequently expelled from heaven, a narrative echoed in scriptural passages such as Isaiah 14:12-20, Ezekiel 28:1-19, and Revelation 12:7-9.


          St.Gabriel is also renowned for his role as a divine messenger. He announced to Zacharias the priest that his barren wife would bear a son named John (Luke 1:13). In this revelation, Gabriel conveyed prophecies about John, demonstrating that angels possess knowledge of future events as divinely revealed. Furthermore, Gabriel was the angel tasked with delivering the annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary. He informed her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).


        Additionally, Gabriel serves the role of interpreter of visions when commanded by God. This is exemplified in the case of the prophet Daniel. Confounded by a vision, Daniel received clarity and understanding through Gabriel's explanation, as noted in Daniel 8:16. In a subsequent chapter, Gabriel explicitly states his purpose, saying to Daniel, “O Daniel, I now come forth to give you skill and understanding” (Daniel 9:22).

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church celebrates the Feast of St. Gabriel with great reverence on the 19th day of each month. One such significant observance falls on Tahisas 19 (December 27), marking the miraculous deliverance of the three youths – Sidraq, Misaq, and Abednego – from the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar, a rescue attributed to the intervention of St. Gabriel (Daniel 3).

          On December 31st, the festival honoring the illustrious Archangel Gabriel, who delivered the Annunciation to our Holy Mother Saint Mary, is celebrated with great reverence. This day also commemorates the construction and consecration of the church in the city of Danah, a site where Archangel Gabriel manifested his miracles. The dedication of this church and the events surrounding it are attested by Archelaus, the bishop of the city. Among all the angels, Gabriel is esteemed as the most glorious and trustworthy, specially chosen to deliver the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary.


          Upon his arrival, Gabriel greeted the Virgin Mary, saying, “Peace be unto thee! Rejoice, O thou who art full of grace! The Lord is with thee.” It was also Gabriel who brought the joyful news of the birth of John to Zachariah. The reverence for Gabriel is profound, as is the honor bestowed upon him as the herald of glad tidings.


          On this day of celebration, we are called to unite in True Faith. Let us cast aside hatred, cultivate peace amongst ourselves, reconcile with our neighbors, and embrace love. Let us spiritually crucify our thoughts with God the Merciful, praying for His compassionate gaze upon us. In the spirit of this holy festival, let us fervently implore the glorious angels Gabriel and Michael, exalted in their duties, to intercede with God on our behalf. Their prayers are essential for our deliverance and protection from the snares of Satan, for without God's aid and the intercession of His chosen ones, we are incapable of salvation.


          The name Gabriel signifies “God and man,” symbolizing the union of the divine with humanity. It was Gabriel who proclaimed to the shepherds, “This day is born unto you a Savior, Who is Christ God.”


We offer our salutations to the house of Gabriel in the city of Danah, consecrated by Archelaus, the bishop of the city.

May the intercession of St. Gabriel be with us all!

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