The Church Fathers and the Angels by Joe Gallegos

 "Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture saith, 'Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory.' "
Clement of Rome,Letter to the Corinthians,34:5(A.D. 98),in ANF,I:14

"Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation."
Ignatius of Antioch,Letter to the Smyrnaeans,6(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:88-89

"In reply I said to her, 'This is magnificent and marvellous. But who are the six young men who are engaged in building?' And she said, 'These are the holy angels of God, who were first created, and to whom the Lord handed over His whole creation, that they might increase and build up and rule over the whole creation. By these will the building of the tower be finished.' 'But who are the other persons who are engaged in carrying the stones?' These also are holy angels of the Lord, but the former six are more excellent than these."
Shephard of Hermas,Vision 3:4(A.D. 140),in ANF,II:14

"Hence are we called atheists. And we confess that we are atheists, so far as gods of this sort are concerned, but not with respect to the most true God, the Father of righteousness and temperance and the other virtues, who is free from all impurity. But both Him, and the Son (who came forth from Him and taught us these things, and the host of the other good angels who follow and are made like to Him), and the prophetic Spirit, we worship and adore, knowing them in reason and truth, and declaring without grudging to every one who wishes to learn, as we have been taught."
Justin Martyr,First Apology,6(A.D. 155),in ANF,I:164

"The Logos, too, before the creation of men, was the Framer of angels. And each of these two orders of creatures was made free to act as it pleased, not having the nature of good, which again is with God alone, but is brought to perfection in men through their freedom of choice, in order that the bad man may be justly punished, having become depraved through his own fault, but the just man be deservedly praised for his virtuous deeds, since in the exercise of his free choice he refrained from transgressing the will of God. Such is the constitution of things in reference to angels and men."
Tatian,To the Greeks,7(A.D. 165),in ANF,II:67

"Who, then, would not be astonished to hear men who speak of God the Father, and of God the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and who declare both their power in union and their distinction in order, called atheists? Nor is our teaching in what relates to the divine nature confined to these points; but we recognise also a multitude of angels and ministers, whom God the Maker and Framer of the world distributed and appointed to their several posts by His Logos, to occupy themselves about the elements, and the heavens, and the world, and the things in it, and the goodly ordering of them all."
Athenagoras,A Plea for the Christians,10(A.D. 177),in ANF,II:133

"For His offspring and His similitude do minister to Him in every respect; that is, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Word and Wisdom; whom all the angels serve, and to whom they are subject. Vain, therefore, ark those who, because of that declaration, 'No man knoweth the Father, but the Son,' do introduce another unknown Father."
Irenaeus,Against Heresies,IV,7:4(A.D. 180),in ANF,I:470

"Whence are we to find (words) enough fully to tell the happiness of that marriage which the Church cements, and the oblation confirms, and the benediction signs and seals; (which) angels carry back the news of (to heaven), (which) the Father holds for ratified? For even on earth children do not rightly and lawfully wed without their fathers' consent. "
Tertullian,To His Wife,II,8:4(A.D. 200),in ANF,IV:48

"This also is a part of the teaching of the Church, that there are certain angels of God, and certain good influences, which are His servants in accomplishing the salvation of men."
Origen,Fundamental Doctrine,1 Pref:10(A.D. 220),in ANF,IV:241

"The world has been created for this purpose, that we may be born; we are born for this end, that we may acknowledge the Maker of the world and of ourselves--God; we acknowledge Him for this end, that we may worship Him; we worship Him for this end that we may receive immortality as the reward of our labours, since the worship of God consists of the greatest labours; for this end we are rewarded with immortality, that being made like to the angels, we may serve the Supreme Father and Lord for ever, and may be to all eternity a kingdom to God."
Lactanius,Divine Institutions,VII,6:1(A.D. 304),in ANF,VII:203

"Divine majesty. His ministers are the heavenly hosts; his armies the supernal powers, angels, the companies of archangels, the chorus of holy spirits, draw from and reflect his radiance as from the fountains of everlasting light."
Eusebius,Oration of Eusebius,1:1(A.D. 335),in NPNF2,I:582

"And how do the impious men[ie. The Arians] venture to speak folly, as they ought not, being men and unable to find out how to describe even what is on the earth? But why do I say ' what is on the earth?' Let them tell us their own nature, if they can discover how to investigate their own nature? Rash they are indeed, and self-willed, not trembling to form opinions of things which angels desire to look into (I Pet. i. x2), who are so far above them, both in nature and in rank. For what is nearer [God] than the Cherubim or the Seraphim? "
Athanasius,On Luke X,6(A.D. 342),in NPNF2,IV:90

"At the birth of the Son, there was a great shouting in Bethlehem; for the Angels came down, and gave praise there. Their voices were a great thunder: at that voice of praise the silent ones came, and gave praise to the Son."
Ephraem,Hymns on the Nativity,5(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,XII:237
"Then may you receive the name of Christ, and the power of things divine. Even now, I beseech you, lift up the eye of the mind: even now imagine the choirs of Angels, and God the Lord of all there sitting, and His Only-begotten Son sitting with Him on His right hand, and the Spirit present with them; and Thrones and Dominions doing service, and every man of you and every woman receiving salvation."
Cyril of Jerusalem,ProCatechesis,15(A.D. 350),in NPNF2,VII:4-5

"For You are above every Principality and Power and Virtue and Domination and every Name that is named not only in the present age but in that to come. Assisting You are thousands of thousands and myriads and myriads of Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Dominations, Principalities and Powers."
Serapion,Sacramentary,13:3(A.D. 350),in JUR,II:132

"I, too, am in the dark, yet I ask no questions. I look for comfort to the fact that Archangels share my ignorance, that Angels have not heard the explanation, and worlds do not contain it, that no prophet has espied it and no Apostle sought for it, that the Son Himself has not revealed it."
Hilary of Poitiers,Trinity,II:9(A.D. 359),in NPNF2,IX:55

"They fill the essence of this invisible world, as Paul teaches us. 'For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers' or virtues or hosts of angels or the dignities of archangels."
Basil,The Hexaemeron,5(A.D. 370),in NPNF2,VIII:54

"The word of God signifies the angels were created not after the stars nor before the earth and sky."
Epiphanius,Panarion,65:5(A.D. 374),in JUR,II:74

"But greater than all these things in the perpetual enjoyment of intercourse with Christ in the company of angels, and archangels, and the higher powers."
John Chyrsostom,To the Fallen Theodore,Epistle 1:11(A.D. 374),in NPNF1,IX:99

"Do you see how we get dizzy over this subject, and cannot advance to any point, unless it be as far as this, that we know there are Angels and Archangels, Thrones, Dominions, Princedoms, Powers, Splendours, Ascents, Intelligent Powers or Intelligencies, pure natures and unalloyed, immovable to evil, or scarcely movable; ever circling in chorus round the First Cause (or how should we sing their praises?) illuminated thence with the purest Illumination, or one in one degree and one in another, proportionally to their nature and rank ... so conformed to beauty and moulded that they become secondary Lights, and can enlighten others by the overflowings and largesses of the First Light? Ministrants of God's Will, strong with both inborn and imparted strength, traversing all space, readily present to all at any place through their zeal for ministry and the agility of their nature ... different individuals of them embracing different parts of the world, or appointed over different districts of the Universe, as He knoweth who ordered and distributed it all."
Gregory of Nazianzen,Second Theological Oration,31(A.D. 380),in NPNF2,VII:300

"For in fact, since the Lord is the Maker of angels, the angel is assuredly a thing made by Him that made him: and since the Lord is the Creator of the world, clearly the world itself and all that is therein are called the creature of Him that created them."
Gregory of Nyssa,Against Eunomius,III:1(A.D. 384),in NPNF2,V:136

"We, it is true, refuse to worship or adore, I say not the relics of the martyrs, but even the sun and moon, the angels and archangels, the Cherubim and Seraphim and 'every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come.' For we may not 'serve the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Still we honour the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. We honour the servants that their honour may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says:--'he that receiveth you receiveth me.' I ask Vigilantius, Are the relics of Peter and of Paul unclean? Was the body of Moses unclean, of which we are told (according to the correct Hebrew text) that it was buried by the Lord Himself? And do we, every time that we enter the basilicas of apostles and prophets and martyrs, pay homage to the shrines of idols? Are the tapers which burn before their tombs only the tokens of idolatry? I will go farther still and ask a question which will make this theory recoil upon the head of its inventor and which will either kill or cure that frenzied brain of his, so that simple souls shall be no more subverted by his sacrilegious reasonings. Let him answer me this, Was the Lord's body unclean when it was placed in the sepulchre? And did the angels clothed in white raiment merely watch over a corpse dead and defiled, that ages afterwards this sleepy fellow might indulge in dreams and vomit forth his filthy surfeit, so as, like the persecutor Julian, either to destroy the basilicas of the saints or to convert them into heathen temples?"
Jerome,To Riparius,Epistle 109:1(A.D. 404),in NPNF2,VI:212

"They are referable either to God, or to angels, or to men, or to animals of whatever description, if indeed those instinctive movements of animals devoid of reason, by which, in accordance with their own nature, they seek or shun various things, are to be called wills. And when I speak of the wills of angels, I mean either the wills of good angels, whom we call the angels of God, or of the wicked angels, whom we call the angels of the devil, or demons."
Augustine,City of God,5:9(A.D. 413),in NPNF1,II:91

"We have, it must be admitted, a use for anger excellently implanted in us for which alone it is useful and profitable for us to admit it, viz., when we are indignant and rage against the lustful emotions of our heart, and are vexed that the things which we are ashamed to do or say before men have risen up in the lurking places of our heart, as we tremble at the presence of the angels, and of God Himself, who pervades all things everywhere, and fear with the utmost dread the eye of Him from whom the secrets of our hearts cannot possibly be hid."
John Cassian,Institutes,7:7(A.D. 426),in NPNF2,X:259

"He goes on 'Even though an angel from heaven preach unto you any other Gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.' It was not enough for the preservation of the faith once delivered to have referred to man; he must needs comprehend angels also. 'Though we,' he says, 'or an angel from heaven.' Not that the holy angels of heaven are now capable of sinning. But what he means is: Even if that were to happen which cannot happen,--if any one, be he who he may, attempt to alter the faith once for all delivered, let him be accursed."
Vincent of Lerins,Commonitories,8:21(A.D. 434),in NPNF2,X:136

"Therefore the exulting angel's song when the LORD was born is this, 'Glory to GOD in the Highest,' and their message, 'peace on earth to men of good will.' For they see that the heavenly Jerusalem is being built up out of all the nations of the world: and over that indescribable work of the Divine love how ought the humbleness of men to rejoice, when the joy of the lofty angels is so great?"
Leo the Great(regn. A.D. 440-461),Sermon 21(ante A.D. 461),in NPNF2,XII:129

"And indeed it is a very serious consideration, that now at this time any are forbidden to leave the world; a time when the end of the world is drawing nigh. For lo! there will be no delay: the heavens on fire, the earth on fire, the elements blazing, with angels and archangels, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, the tremendous Judge will appear. "
Gregory the Great(regn A.D. 590-604),To Mauricius,Epistle 65(A.D. 593),in NPNF2,XII:141

"The angel of the Lord was sent to the holy Virgin, who was descended from David's line. Far it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah, of which tribe no one turned his attention to the altar, as the divine apostle said: but about this we will speak more accurately later. And bearing glad tidings to her, he said, Hail thou highly favoured one, the Lord is with thee. And she was troubled at his word, and the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God, and shalt bring forth a Son and shalt call His name Jesus; for He shall save His people from their sins. Hence it comes that Jesus has the interpretation Saviour. And when she asked in her perplexity, How can this be, seeing I know not a man? the angel again answered her, The Holy Spirit shall came upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And she said to him, Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to Thy word. So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her, and granting her power to receive the divinity of the Word, and likewise power to bring forth."
John of Damascene,Orthodox Faith,III,2:3(A.D. 743),in NPNF2,IX:46

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Joseph A. Gallegos © 2001 All Rights Reserved.