- Thursday | December 31, 1969
- All Day
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, ONE GOD. AMEN.
On this day is commemorated the festival of the Four and Twenty Priests of heaven, who are round about the throne of God, who are priests indeed, and who are beings of the spirit and have no bodies. They are exalted above all the saints and the spiritual hosts. They are saints with God and they make intercession on behalf of the race of men, and they bring unto Him the prayers of the saints like incense in the censers, which they have, in their hands. And alms and oblations cannot ascend to God except through them even as Saint John the evangelist says in the Vision of the Apocalypse, “I saw the place of Four and Twenty elders round about Him, and they were sitting on four and twenty thrones; and on their heads were four and twenty crowns, and in their hands were four and twenty censers containing sweet-smelling incense, which is the prayers of the saints who dwell upon earth, and which they make to rise up before God, the Sustainer of the Universe.” And he also says, “And I heard Four Beasts praising and saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord [God] of Hosts, the heavens and the earth are filled full of the holiness of Thy glory. And straightway the four and twenty priests of heaven fell down with their faces to the ground, and they took off their crowns, and they said unto Him, Glory, and honor, and thanks are fitting for Thee. And when a command went forth from God they fell down again with their faces to the ground, saying, Glory, and power, and judgment, and righteousness belong to our God” (Rev. iv and v). And because the doctors of the Church have found statements about these Four and Twenty Priests of heaven in the Holy Scriptures, and have seen stories told of them by the Apostles and in their Canon, saying that they are nigh unto God, they have ordered and ruled, saying, “The name of him that celebrates their commemoration shall be revealed upon earth. And they shall entreat God on his behalf to forgive him all his sins.” Therefore the doctors of the Church tell the people to honor the festival of the commemoration of the Four and Twenty Priests of heaven.
Salutation to you, O priests of the Law.