Orthodox America

  Our Battle With the Angels

Priest Dimitri Dudko 

Against the Powers of Darkness

 l. From Christian literature we know that Archangel Michael was the first to rise up against Lucifer, the spirit of wickedness. Earlier, many angels rose up against God and sowed discord in the heavenly realm. Archangel Michael then rose up against these rebellious angels and enraged them in battle. Many angels sided with Archangel Michael, and these angels faithful to God vanquished the insurgent angels who were cast out from the heavens ,i.e., from the place of holiness. These began to seek a dwelling-place for themselves, and they found an abode in man. And by bitter experience we see that now men have risen up against God. 

2. In celebrating the Synaxis [in Russian, "sobor"] of Archangel Michael ("sobor" signifies single-mindedness) we should express our oneness of mind with the loyal angels, the angels of good, and engage in battle against the evil spirits and, consequently, also with those who are possessed by these evil spirits. The battle is unequal inasmuch as they are angels and we are humans. However, the evil angels battle on earth with God for men's souls by means of humans, and therefore our battle will be fought on equal ground. And furthermore, we shall be aided by the good angels, so the victory should be on our side. 

3. What form will our battle take?

    To answer this question we must look objectively at the field of battle. What is happening in our life? First of all we see godlessness spreading everywhere; we see holiness trampled upon and mocked; we see men crown corrupt and the foundation of the family destroyed. Debauch, drunkenness, foul language.., have spilled over in an enormous wave. The spirit of evil is warring against God, and the field of battle--as our Christian writer expressed it--is the hearts of men. It is in this arena that we, too, must conduct our warfare. 

4.    . The Power of this world, all its weapons, its cunning--exist only up to a certain point in time, and because of this their gain is only temporary; death destroys for them any victory.

5.     For us, victory has a different meaning. From a human perspective it may appear that we suffer defeat. But this is not so. Defeat, i.e., the Cross, is for us also victory-because death is vanquished and it cannot interfere with our victory. For when you admit [the power of] death, then victory is also subject to death. We believe in the resurrection from the dead, and all our sufferings acquire an eternal significance. Herein lies our victory!

6. The godless may say: 'What's the point of a victory after death? The main thing is to achieve victory here.' But, one must reply, this is a fleeting shadow, for is it possible to keep it? Any victory on earth can at this very moment come to naught, and if there is death no one can be sure of anything. So these arguments of the godless are simply delusions of the Evil One.

7. We must believe that the death of Christ vanquished our death, and that there exists an eternal life. In the face of any sufferings or defeats, this faith in the Resurrected Christ will give birth to a calm and joyous disposition of soul. In this way we shall never suffer defeat of any kind. And this assurance will give us strength,

8. Each of us is given our own Guardian Angel. The Guardian Angel, as one theologian described it, is the bright side of a person, his heavenly part. When we believe in God we are made twice as strong, for we have our own powers and also the powers of our Guardian Angel. It is not by chance that a human being--the Mother of God--became more honorable than the cherubim. 

9. Angels are always bright, pure; this is their invincible armour. Our armour should be purity of heart. Chastity, righteousness, love. 

10. Now the entire warfare of the Evil One has been transferred to our sinful world, The spirits of wickedness war against us. They fight to tear us away from the angels, from God. We must strengthen ourselves and stand firm. We must critically examine ourselves. We have all become feeble soldiers. Within us, faith in God coexists with sinful actions. This means that we are going into battle without being fully armed. Each person must, therefore, pay strict attention to his inner condition. What is nesting in our heart: malice or love, fear or cowardice? To be timid or cowardly nowadays means to be crushed.

    We must be bold! With the same boldness as Archangel Michael. This has been given to all the heavenly powers. For the battle with the darkness of this are, with the spirits of wickedness under the heavens. 

11. Let us remember that we are soldiers of Christ and that we must have a fighting spirit. He who deserts the battlefield or hides is not a soldier. Thinking thereby to save himself, he perishes.

    Let us. clothe ourselves in the full armor of God's righteousness, filling our hearts with love and courage, And let us not become despondent or despair, for under the leadership of Archangel of God Michael, all the good heavenly powers are marching with us into battle. Even if we are smitten and fall, we are not conquered but conquerors, for everything in Christianity leads to victory, to the attainment of the Kingdom of Heaven and life eternal. 

(Translated from Vovremya I Ne Vovremya; Foyer Oriental Chretien, Brussels, 1978)

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