THE POWERS OF HEAVEN
SERAPHIM CHERUBIM THRONES
LORDSHIPS AUTHORITIES POWERS
ARCHEA ARCHANGELS ANGELS
These are the heavenly powers of the invisible spiritual world, some of whom have contact with us from time to time. Knowledge of these powers will greatly increase the understanding of our Orthodox worship and glorification. The Seraphim are the highest powers, the Angels are among the lower powers.
The Seraphim understands and continually praises God, saying: “Holy, holy, holy Lord of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are filled with your glory.” The Seraphim have so much hatred against sin and iniquity, as much as they have love toward the holiness of God. That is why they are called Seraphim which is a Hebrew derived word meaning incendiaries which burn sin and are warm lovers of the holiness of God. The soul which loves the holiness of God and hates sin resembles the Seraphim, and flies about feeling happy and rejoices around the throne of the holy God. One of the Seraphim took hot coals from the altar of God and burned the sins of Isaias the Prophet, saying: “This has touched your lips and will cleanse you from your sins.” Prophet Isaias saw the Seraphim as animals with six wings, two of them to shield their faces from the divine brilliance, two to cover their feet and the other two to fly about.
The Cherubim means a multitude of knowledge and outpouring of wisdom. They have an understanding of the essence and nature of God and pour out this knowledge to other angelic powers. That is why God is praised as sitting on the Cherubim, because He is known much more by them. The Cherubim is depicted as a calf with wings, carrying God and announcing His presence. As the Prophet David says that God walks on the wings of the wind, meaning this angelic regiment by whom knowledge of God is transmitted. They also represent the soul that theologizes and learns the essence and nature of God, Mind, Logos and Spirit.
The Thrones understand the excellence and the glory of God, exalting and extolling Him. They express the greatness and the glory of God, just as the glory of kings is expressed when they are sitting upon their thrones dressed in royal garments and wearing a royal crown. They represent the soul which realizes and understands the greatness and exaltation of God and His superiority. To us the people they have revealed the one God in Trinity, through His Only-begotten Son and Logos, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, whose Mother is the Ever-virgin Theotokos, the most blessed among women, praised as more honorable than the Cherubim, and incomparably more glorious than the Seraphim
The Lordships are not answerable or responsible because they are absolute Lord before God, the Lord of Lords. They understand the absoluteness of God’s Lordship and express it to the angelical world, and for this reason they are called Lordships. None of the other regiments oppose them because of their irresponsibility.
The Authorities have the right to act freely and unbounded, and no one is able to stop or confine the action of the Authorities. This right to absolute and unconfined and related authority is held only by almighty God, from whom springs every related authority, and no one is able to stop or confine the actions of Almighty God. The Authorities understands and expresses the authority to all angelic powers, hence their name authorities.
The Powers work is to fulfill the will of the Will. All beings have free will, and have some active power in their wills. The powers of free persons, man and the angels are confined and they cannot do all that they will. But the power of God is infinite and without limit, and He alone has this power.
Everything that the Lord willed, he created, including heaven and earth, the waters and all the abysses, he willed and created all beings. The angelic Powers understand and act exactly according to the will of God. Concerning these Powers no other power can overcome them as they execute and act exactly every will of God.
The Archea in cities of people, would be according to the essential meaning those persons on whom the action of the public depends. The people give them ideas and responsibility for their conduct, according to existing laws. The Archea are like laws by which every leader is ruled and in which is concentrated the jurisdiction of each authority. God is the first authority and the first ruler because from His will is dependent all the actions of other beings. The will of God is not only master and self dependent according to the meaning of absolute and unrestricted, but leading and royal, because it established the right law and fulfills it in perfection, asking those under the law no more or less than the law established, and according to it are responsible.
The Archangels are organized by the Archea just as generals and majors are in the army who lead them according to the advice of the highest army authorities. The Archangels lead the angels who are under them according to the advice and orders of the higher Archea (leaders) imitating the princely and infallible will of God. Which safely and unmistakably leads and brings each of the beings and all together to their own end. The Archangels represent the soul that leads other souls on the path to God
The Angels are the third and last regiment of the third hierarchy. They understand and imitate the discipline of the will of God, obeying the law which applies to it and acts accordingly. They rejoice exceedingly before the admirable virtues of God by which it saves the the good law, the order and harmony of ethical and free beings, and for which God is praised as faithful and holy and just. The soul which obeys the divine law resembles the angels.