Today is the feast of Holy Michael and All Angels, according to the 2019 Prayer Book. Throughout the world, many churches are celebrating ‘Michaelmas’ right now. St. Michael is understood (from texts like Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7) to be the chief or captain of the angelic hosts, an “archangel”. Thus, with Michael, we celebrate today also all the other angels who serve God in their mysterious and wonderful ways. This holiday can be traced to the 5th century when a church near Rome was dedicated to St. Michael’s name, and by the 9th century St. Michael’s Day was a widely celebrated feast day.
But this was not always the only angelic feast day. Other churches, particularly in the East, have had feast days for other angels for centuries. Only in the 1920’s did Rome pick up a couple of these holidays: Gabriel on March 24th (sensibly the day before the Annunciation!) and Raphael on October 24th. These did not last long, though; the Roman calendar rolled them into St. Michael’s Day in 1969, though some hardy folks still hang on to that brief-lasting calendar. There is also a roughly-1,000-year-old tradition of honoring the ministry of the Guardian Angels on October 2nd.
But the Prayer Book tradition has typically been one of brevity and simplicity. We have one official feast day for all the angels today, September 29th.