The celebration of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and all the Heavenly Powers was established at the Ecumenical Council held in Laodicea during the 4th century. The 35th canon of this Council forbids us to give the angels the worship that is due only to Christ. Not because the angels are not worthy of veneration, but because the veneration we give must be appropriate for those who ceaselessly serve around the throne of the King of Heaven. At that time, the 8th of November was designated for the Feast dedicated to all the Heavenly Powers.
The Holy Scriptures teach us that the angels are creatures of God, having no material body, sent—as their name indicates—to proclaim God’s will to man. There are nine angelic ranks, each having a name and a special function. The Archangel Michael is over them all, being the Captain of the Heavenly Hosts. Michael is the one who cast Lucifer and the other fallen angels out of heaven, those who had dared to rise up against God.
The angels are the messengers of God to proclaim His will to us. But the angels also minister. Their ministry is compared to that of the priest and the faithful at the Divine Liturgy: “We also thank You for this Liturgy, which You deign to receive from our hands, even though there stand before You thousands of archangels and tens of thousands of angels, the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim, soaring aloft, borne on their wings, singing the triumphant hymn, shouting aloud, crying out and proclaiming: Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Hosts…!” Together with the angels we glorify God in Three Persons, the Father who loved the world so much that He sent His own Son, and the Holy Spirit Who reveals the glory of God, according to the prayer for the transformation of the Holy Gifts.
The ministry of the angels thus reveals to us our own ministry, that of glorifying God. The angels are God’s messengers to man, but are also co-ministers with us—witnesses in heaven to the glory of God, but also witnesses on earth. For in proclaiming to us the will of God, they also help us to fulfill it, thus enabling us to be witnesses as well. In this way we fulfill the commandment of the Savior to bear witness to him before men, that we may be worthy of His witness to us before His Heavenly Father.