This is the only feast of angels that the Reformers retained. It goes back to the fifth century when a basilica was dedicated to St Michael. The Gregorian Sacramentary (no 726) has this collect for the commemoration in the Basilica of the Holy Angels on September 29. Michael and Gabriel are the only archangels named in the Hebrew Scriptures, Raphael and Uriel are named in the Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal scriptures. Cranmer took the collect from the Sarum Missal which drew it from the Gregorian. He translated it as:
EVERLASTYNG God, which haste ordayned and constituted the services of all Angels and men in a wonderfull ordre: mercifully graunt, that they whiche alwaye doe thee service in heaven, may by thy appoyntment succour and defende us in earth: through Jesus Christe our Lorde, &c.
“by thy appointment” is lacking in the Latin. “and worship” is an addition. Angels are described as worshiping God and assisting us.
Let us pray (in silence) [that we may share in the ministry of the angels]
you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order
the ministries of angels and mortals:
Mercifully grant that,
as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven,
so by your appointment
they may help and defend us here on earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
you have ordained and constituted
the ministries of angels and mortals in a wonderful order:
grant that as your holy angels always serve you in heaven,
so, at your command,
they may help and defend us on earth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
(Common Worship CofE)
God our Father,
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Christ, the fair glory of the holy angels,
thou who hast made us, thou who o’er us rulest,
grant of thy mercy unto us thy servants
steps up to heaven.
Send thine archangel Michael to our succor;
peacemaker blessèd, may he banish from us
striving and hatred, so that for the peaceful
all things may prosper.
Send thine archangel Gabriel, the mighty;
herald of heaven, may he, from us mortals,
spurn the old serpent, watching o’er the temples
where thou art worshiped.
Send thine archangel Raphael, the restorer
of the misguided ways of men who wander,
who at thy bidding strengthens soul and body
with thine anointing.
May the blest mother of our God and Savior,
may the assembly of the saints in glory,
may the celestial companies of angels
ever assist us.
Father Almighty, Son, and Holy Spirit,
God ever blessèd, be thou our preserver;
thine is the glory which the angels worship,
veiling their faces.
Words: Latin, ninth century;
trans. Athelstan Riley, 1906
Music: Caelites plaudant (Rouen), Christe sanctorum, Caelitum Joseph, Iste Confessor
Meter: 11 11 11 5