Altar servers process in front of an icon of the Archangel Michael at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, CA.Saints who healed and refused payment, the first bishop of the missionary church that would become the Antiochian Archdiocese, the bodiless hosts that protect us, a Great Feast of the Theotokos, and a major American holiday fill the celebrations of the Orthodox Church in the month of November. The Liturgical Texts to guide us through services on these holy days, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for download from the Online Liturgical Guide.
On the first day of the month, we commemorate Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia in Asia Minor. These "unmercenary" saints received no money for the medicine they practiced and the healings they performed. They are not to be confused with Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1) who were also unmercenaries.
Each year on the first Saturday of November we commemorate St. Raphael Hawaweeny. He said of himself: "I am an Arab by birth, a Greek by primary education, an American by residence, a Russian at heart, and a Slav in soul." His multicultural influences and love of Jesus Christ helped him become the "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America." The Archdiocese celebrates St. Raphael close to the date of his birth, November 8.
And that day happens to be the feast of the Archangels. The Orthodox Church celebrates Raphael – the namesake of the first bishop of Brooklyn – Michael, Gabriel and all the bodiless powers of heaven that minister directly to God the Father and protect us on earth who are called to be heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14).