ARCHANGELS DAY

ARCHANGELS DAY

11/8/2017 8:00:00 AM

Name day of everyone named Angel, Angelina, Mihaill, Gavrail, Radka, Radko, Raina, Ognian, Plamen, Emilia, Emil.

Ceremonial table: Rite bread, red wine, lamb.

The Christian holiday Council of St. Archangel Mikhail, called by the people in Bulgaria Rangels day or Hrangels day is celebrated in November because it is the ninth month since the creation of the world. The church honors that day because of the existing idea of the nine angels? ranks, classified in three subsequent hierarchies ? upper, middle and lower. The Christian church has introduced this holiday in order to counteract the heretics pagans and idolaters who bowed down before the sun, moon and stars and thought that angels were the creators of the discernible creatures and that they were more supreme than Christ Himself. With the establishment of the holiday the Orthodox Priesthood applied the idea of the advent of the nine angels? ranks in the Judgment day, which was also called ?Day eighth?.

The dedication of that day to Archangel Mikhail can be explained with the idea about the Saint as a superior and chieftain of all the angels in the hierarchy ? seraphims, cherubim, might, power and beginning. According to the people?s beliefs, St. Rangel is one of the six brothers-heroes who got the world of the dead at the time of splitting the world into parts. This is why he is usually depicted as an angel descending over the dying, taking their souls with a knife or a sword.

People call Archangel Mikhail the soul-taker. The Saint leads the souls of the dead to the world of the dead where together with his brother St. Peter he determines how sinful the dead were and sends their souls either to Heaven or to Hell. This is the reason why in the Christian icon tradition Archangel Mikhail is portrayed as a saint holding a bloody knife in his hands, or scales, which he uses to measure the human sins.

Western European tradition celebrated the Feast of Michaelmas that day ? it usually fell about the time of the autumnal Equinox. The equinox marked the period when the nights would be getting longer and the earth would begin to die. St. Michael came to be seen as the protector against the forces of the dark, and so became very popular in the Middle Ages. Many monasteries and churches were dedicated to him, usually on high places near the sea. His feast was celebrated with a traditional well-fattened goose which had fed well on the stubble of the fields after the harvest. In many places, there was also a tradition of special large loaves of bread made only for that day.

By Michaelmas the harvest was supposed to be completed and the new cycle of farming would begin. It was a time for beginning new leases, rendering accounts and paying the annual dues. On the manors, at Michaelmas, a reeve was elected from among the peasants to keep watch over the work and to assure that production was up to expectation. If rents or donations of goods fell short, the reeve had to make it up on his own. It was not a popular office.

The Orthodox Church defines St. Mikhail (St. Michael) as one of the seven notable angels who always stay in front of the throne of God. Archangel Mikhail presents the words of God, Archangel Gavrail is a bearer of God?s secrets, Rafail is a healer of the weaknesses, Uriil is educator of the souls, Salatiil is petitioner and defender before God, Iehudil glorifies God and Varahiil is a bearer of the Gods blessings. The angels are guardians of the human kind and every person is given a guardian angel in the minute he was born in this world.

On Archangels day, the Bulgarians make votive offering in honor of the saint protector of the dead. They usually sacrifice a male animal - ram or lamb whose head and legs are boiled whole and then blessed. The women in the house make and give away special rite bread called Rangels or Gods bread. The oldest member of the family cross splits the rite bread, pours wine on it and blesses: St. Archangel Mikhail, St. Nikola and All Saints, help us, we honor you and we pray to have high rye growing this year! A representative of the church blesses the ceremonial table. The fur of the rite animal is always granted to the church.