I was so discombobulated coming back from our trip that I didn't see that yesterday (July 13th) was the synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel. I feel terrible about that. I was focused on it being the commemoration of the Fathers of the first six ecumenical councils.
|The hand-painted icon of Gabriel that was sent to us in honor of little Gabriel.|
Gabriel, commander of the heavenly hosts,
we who are unworthy beseech you,
by your prayers encompass us beneath the wings of your immaterial glory,
and faithfully preserve us who fall down and cry to you:
“Deliver us from all harm, for you are the commander of the powers on high!”
The reason why Gabriel is most celebrated, though, is his role in the Annunciation and other events in New Testament times attributed to him by Tradition (although his name may not be mentioned explicitly in the text). Starting in Luke 1, Gabriel first appears to Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zachariah initially refuses to believe that his barren wife, Elizabeth, and he will have a child in their old age. This is the moment in which Gabriel says, "I am Gabriel. I stand before God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this this good news" (Luke 1:19). He then strikes Zachariah mute until the birth of his son because of his disbelief.
Often Gabriel is also recognized as the angel who announced the birth of the Theotokos to her parents Joachim and Anna and who came to Joseph the Betrothed in a dream, telling him that Mary's pregnancy was indeed miraculous and that he should protect and care for her. He then appeared to the shepherds near Bethlehem, telling them of the Nativity. Thus he was the key figure in revealing to humanity the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also announce the Second Coming of the Lord by blowing a trumpet.
Holy Archangel Gabriel pray to God for us!