The commemoration of the angel Gabriel (Arabic)   Leave a comment

Today (according to some traditions) is the commemoration of the archangel Gabriel. Below the picture, which is from an Ethiopian manuscript dated 1280/1 CE, is an English translation of his commemoration from an Arabic synaxarion, known as the Synaxaire arabe jacobite, rédaction copte (text, ed. René Basset, in PO 3 (1909): 506-507).

The annunciation, from EMML 1832, 17v.

The annunciation, from EMML 1832, 17v.

On this day is the commemoration of the glorious angel, the archangel Gabriel, the announcer, of the building of his church in the city of Caesarea, of the appearance of marvels in it, and of its consecration on this day.

There was a man who had lived in a distant city a long time as a sick man and no rest came to him. Then he heard of the marvels and signs that took place in the Church of Gabriel the Angel. It happened to be the night of [the angel’s] feast, and [the man] made a vow, saying, “Mention me before God, that he might grant me health, and that I might get some rest!” At midnight, he perspired and was saved: God granted him health. He got up early very happy and he gave his son twenty-five dinars of gold and sent him to the church. While [the son] was traveling on the road, a lion came out of the forest and attacked him, and he cried out, saying, “Angel Gabriel! Mention me before God, that he might save me!” And right then Gabriel came down from heaven and grabbed the boy from the beast and put him atop the lion to ride and brought him to his church: [the boy] drove [the lion] as he would ride a riding animal until he arrived at the church. When the crowds saw him, they marveled, and he very happily presented the vow that was in his hand. As for the lion, he hitched it to the door of the church and left. Everyone was marveling and gazing at what had happened with wonder, as Archelaus, bishop of the aforementioned city, bore witness: “This is the glorious angel who was sent to the virgin and was entrusted with the good news apart from all the other angels, and when he came to the virgin, he said to her, ‘Peace to you, full of grace! The Lord is with you!’ He is also the one who gave Zechariah the good news of the birth of John the Baptist. Great are the honors of this angel, Gabriel the great, chosen, honored announcer, so let us gather together now for his feast with right intentions! Let us let go of enmity and be reconciled to each other. Let us put our hopes in God, the merciful, that he might look upon us. We ask him [Gabriel] with all our hearts, together with his companion in authority, Michael, to help us and to preserve us from all the traps of Satan, because without God’s help and the intercession of his saints no one is saved.”

The meaning of Gabriel is “Man of God” and it is he that announced the good news to the shepherds, saying, “Born to you today is a savior, who is Christ the Lord.” May the intercession of this great angel be with us, our shield!

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