Christian theology has always been defining angels as channels of communications between the Truth and people. Angel (Late Greek ἄνγελος, ángelos – “messenger”) is an intelligible entity, whose service and functions are to translate the Truth from Its Source to the addressee. It is remarkable that the very act of paying attention to angels clears, enlightens and refines upon the addressee (knowing via contemplation). This, so to say, translating culture from above appears to be historically typical in our society since the Vladimir's baptism of Rus and remains modern.

Using many works on Christian angelology, I tried to express the sounds of seraphims’ choir, according to my lights. They are the highest rank of angels, that exist next to God and are the first to know anything; their singing – translating the Truth to the next steps of spiritual hierarchy, as it goes – is seen, not heard, since they are singing silently and eternally moving, remaining totally still. Their singing is inexpressible through musical means, so I hoped that seeing these active images, the viewer would be communing to the Godly Truth (surely, as far as the image is close to the Truth) in almost unobservable and imperceptible way: he or she would be enlightened, cleared and refined spiritually. To my mind, this is the ultimate aim of real art that remains up-to-date in any historical context.

Gor Chahal. Moscow, 2000-2002. (Translated by Ivan Lukov).


Prelate Ignaty in "the Word about angels" describes them as: the Nearest to Throne of God essence six wings Seraphims (Bonaventura interprets these six wings through digital symbolical exegetic, seeing in them six steps of an ascention of soul to True) as the prophet saw in vision the Sankt Isaya prophet. "I've seen, - he speaks, - God siting on a throne highly and rising and full the house of glory of Him. And Seraphims staying around Him, six wings to one, and six wings to another: and by two - covering faces, by two - covering the legs, both two - flying. And calling friend to the friend and telling: holy, holy, holy God Savaof, all ground full of His glory!" (Is. 6, 1-3). From incessant contemplation of immeasurable greatness of God they are in incessant blessed frenzy and ecstasy and express that by incessant glorification. And their singing (by Isaia words) not only is audible on all seven heavens, but also it is visible.

Expert in Jewish speak, that the sacred name of Seraphims means "flare up" or "burning". Really, the name of Seraphims explanationly specifies their eternal movement around of divine and endless, heat, speed and ebullience this continuous, unrelenting and steady movement, also on their ability to ennoble and is effective to assimilate to itself the lowest, as if to force to boil and inflame them up to equal heat and to clear them, similarly to hurricane and totalburning fire, and also on their obvious, unextinguishable, always equally similar to light and enlightened property - to banish and exterminate any generation of darkness and a gloom.

However it is necessary to address to the Word and at the first explanation of images to investigate, why divinity, almost everything, it appears, prefers sacred depiction of fire. Really, you will find out, that it represents not only fiery wheels (Iez.10, 2, 6-7; Dan. 7,9), but also fiery animals (Iez. 1, 13-14), and men, as fire shining (Mph. 28, 3), and heaps of fiery coal around of heavenly essence believes (Iez. 1, 13; 10, 2) and rivers with intolerant noise flaring fire (Dan. 7,9). But also thrones, the divinity speaks, are firely (Dan. 7, 9; Rev. 4, 5), and that the highest Seraphims are by essence incendiary, the divinity opens in their most name and allocates with their property and action of fire, and in general, to all selectively prefers creation of fiery images. And more, likening to fire finds out, I believe, the supreme degree godlikeness heavenly minds. Because sacred theologians importantness and irrepresentible essence frequently describes as fire (Out. 3.2; 14, 24; 19; 18; Sec. 4, 11-12, 24; Ps. 77, 14; 103, 4; Is. 4,5; 29, 6; 30,30; Iez. 1, 27-28; 8, 2; Dan. 10, 6; Yud. 12, 29), as having many seen displays, if it is possible to be expressed as well, godcommencemet originalities. You see sensual fire is, so to say, in everything, and through all not mixing up passes, and from all is detached, and, being, completely obvious, at the same time as though and concealed, is imperceptible in itself if there is no suitable substance in which he could show the action, imperceptible and invisible, has authority it is necessary to all and changes in what it appears for the influence, heat, all shines clear inspirations, invincible, unmixed, selected, is constant, speed up, is fast, risen transfers itself to everything, those or otherwise to him coming nearer, renews from inflammable, not transferring any belittling to the ground, is in incessant and monotonous movement and moving others, total, is immense, does not require anything the friend, secretly cultivating itself and showing the greatness to substances perceiving him, it is active, mighty, in all it is inherent it is invisible and, all of generously distributing, does not decrease. And still many it is possible to find out special properties of fire - as if sensual displays godcommencement actions. Therefore knowing it godwisdom interpreters also create images heavenly essence from fire, thus opening them godlikeness and, in a measure possible, godimitation. ("Ladder of Iakov", St. Dionisius the Areopagite)

As he (Dionisius) names these the first rankcommencements around of the God directly worth, and in a round dance turning, it is necessary to find out, how they and stand and move as in round dance around the God. To understand it follows as well: any mind from the God - the Reasons of all - being shining because it had shining from the Creator, goes, speak, around of Him, as around of the centre, and it not any movement made in space, but intellectual and alive. Movement of mind on a circle is those: all conceiving thinks, or being mind, or as involved to mind. Real mind thinks first of all, and involved to mind - again. And consequently that real mind thinks, and it is possible to tell, that he goes; Circular this movement is represented because it returnable, and the mind staying around of Him so will comprehend also itself, and One Who was before him and from Whom he had shining as on will Divine received preference, mind around Him, to not tell, around of aspiration and love to the God as around of the centre, will rotate, for the second are not united with those who precedes them, and similarity turns out certain round dance; you see birth, aspiring be on the place, looks on Giving rise, the reference an idea to previous enters representation about circular movement. But as God is everywhere, than everywhere the following behind Him in eternal aspiration of Him to comprehend are pleased to this and drive round dances as if having joy. Thus, speaking, that mind stays in itself and hastens to itself; and that stays in itself and finds out immortality, just and has rest for from the point of view of life that is immortal, it is considered based, and from the point of view of aspiration to itself, goes, not wishing somehow to dissipate ideas about external to him and material. The same movement making, he does not cost, but goes, however, remaining in essence always same, has rest, instead of movement. ("Scolis", Maxim Ispovednik.)

Alexey Losev attaches to all this also a ascetic-selfless doctrine about intimate heat. As is known, under this doctrine, the emotional mood and subjective efforts, developing during a pray, reach sphere of a clever condition where all as though disappears emotional and subjective and equal light of clever impassivity is installed. However it - not the supreme step. Last "edge of desires" - move mind into heart which ardently starts to pulse, being are dawned by waves of Divine good fortune. Devotees too speak about warm, about heat, about inflameble fire, about a clever flame. And that is reached by the terrestrial person very seldom and as a result long-term and strong ascetism gives angels not only without any work and effort, but, on the contrary, makes most them substantional nature, without what they can not exist. In summary it would be desirable to give Dante words, so describing Paradise in "The Divine comedy":

And I, - involuntarily sight paying that
it is possible to see in sphere of that,
from edge see it up to edge, -

I have seen a Point pouring such Sharpest light
which to bear is beyond Eyes power,
burning this acuteness.

The star whose a little hardly is seen with eyes,
Would seem the moon, being close to it,
As with a star a star in open spaces of night.

As near it is twisted with a ring of beams
Heavenly light, its represented
When carrying than pairs all is more dense

So the point was embraced with the circle of fire turning
so quickly, that it was overcome by it
the fastest run, the universe twisted.