Archangel Gabriel

AnnunciationGabriel is considered the most holy and divine archangel. Gabriel has been called the leader of the heavenly hosts; he is associated with numerous happenings in Holy Scripture, particularly his revelation to the Theotokos that she would bear Christ. Thus his primary role has been called one of announcing the salvation of mankind.

The name Gabriel comes from the Hebrew meaning "Man of God." It has alternately been translated "God is mighty" or "the strength/power of God."

Gabriel announced the incarnation of the Logos to those recorded in the Old Testament. By Tradition he inspired the Prophet Moses to write the book of Genesis. He foretold coming tribulations to the Prophet Daniel and the time of the Messiah's appearance (Dan 8:16; 9:21-25) He explained to Daniel the vision of the horned ram, as portending the destruction of the Persian Empire by the Macedonian Alexander the Great, and whose kingdom will be divided up among generals, from one of will spring Antiochus Epiphanes (Daan 8). Then, after Daniel has prayed for Israael, Gabriel flying , switly toucher daniel and communicated to him the mysterious prophecy of the "seventy weeks" of years which would elapse before the coming of Christ (Dan9).

He appeared to the Virgin Mary's mother Anna and announced the conception of a daughter when Anna was praying in the garden.

He is the one who is believed to have visited the young Mary regualrily when she lived in the temple at Jerusalem and continued to watch over her during her earthly life.

Gabriel also appeared 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)1. He then strikes Zachariah mute until

He 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.

Of course we know that He visited Mary to announce that she was to bear the Son of God. He 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. (Matt 1:20,21) He also appeard to Joseph to take the child and His Mother into Egypt (Mt. 2:13)

While Joseph was in Egypt he appeared to hi, telling him to return to Israel *Mt 2:19,20) He is also believed to be the angel who rolled away the stone (Mt 28:2) and announced the resurrection to the Myrrbearers (Mt 28:7).

Gabriel also announced to the Virgin the word "Rejoice!. His Salutation to Mary was 'Rejoice thou who has been shown grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. (Lk 1"28) It has become a form of praise and thanksgiving in the Church.

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.

Gabriel was present during the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. He is identified as the mysterious "young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment ... following Jesus" who fled naked after he was seized during Christ's arrest in Gethsemene (Mark 14:51-2)1.

Most importantly, it was Gabriel who announced Christ's Resurrection to the Myrrh-bearing Women outside the tomb.

The Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel on March 26, the day following the Feast of the Annunciation, and again on July 13; he is also commemorated together with all the Archangels on their Synaxis date, November 8.

GabrielGabriel in Iconography

Since archangels receive commands from MOst HIgh in icons there are bands of ribbons winding or coiling from their ears. It is a sign that they are under authority.

Their clothing is similar to that of a military officer and high-ranking officials at a Byzantine court.

Because the Angels are incorporeal beings, though they nevertheless take on human form when appearing to mankind, it can be difficult to differentiate one from another in icons.
However, Gabriel is usually portrayed with certain distinguishing characteristics. He typically wears blue or white garments; he holds either a lily (representing the Theotokos), a trumpet, a shining lantern, a branch from Paradise presented to him by the Theotokos, or a spear in his right hand and often a mirror—made of jasper and with a Χ (the first letter of Christ (Χριστος) in Greek)—in his left hand.

He should not be confused with the Archangel Michael, who carries a sword, shield, date-tree branch, and in the other hand a spear, white banner (possibly with scarlet cross) and tends to wear red. Michael's specific mission is to suppress enemies of the true Church (hence the military theme), while Gabriel's is to announce mankind's salvation.


Troparion (Tone 4)
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!"

Kontakion (Tone 8)
Supreme commander Gabriel,
you are the glorious intercessor and servant
before the all-radiant, worthy, all-powerful, infinite and awesome Trinity.
Ever pray now that we may be delivered from all tribulations and torments,
so that we may cry out to you: