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Question 104.

Your blessing Father Christopher,

Among the evening prayers used by the Russian church there is a special one addressed to the Holy Guardian Angel. My question concerns the excerpt below:
"O Angel of Christ, my holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me all wherein I have sinned this day, and deliver me from all opposing evil of my enemy lest I anger my God by any sin."
Can an angel forgive sins? (I refer to any sin)
With love in Christ


Answer to Question 104.


Dear Akakios,
The prayer you mention is also among the prayers of Small Compline (ΜΙΚΡΟΝ ΑΠΟΔΕΙΠΝΟΝ) of the Greek Church but I think the translation that you have is not correct.
We pray to our guardian angel because we believe that each and every one of us has been assigned by God an angel whose mission it is to help, protect and guide us on the road to salvation. When we sin we not only turn our back to God, but also to our guardian angel whose guidance we ignore and by doing so grieve and offend him. It is therefore only natural and right that we should ask his forgiveness for the grief we have caused him. The prayer therefore is not a plea for forgiveness of all our sins against God, but only the sins we have committed against our guardian angel.
My translation from the Greek of the lines you mention is as follows:
"Yea, O Holy Angel of God, guardian and protector of my wretched soul and body; forgive me all, however many times I have grieved thee all the days of my life, and whatever sins I have committed this day."
You ask: "Can an angel forgive sins? (I refer to any sin)".
You are either reading the prayer wrongly or the translation is completely off the mark. The "any sin" you mention is from the following line of the prayer which reads: "Shelter me this night and preserve me from every influence of the adversary: that I may not anger God by any sin." The prayer is not asking the angel to forgive me of any sin". We are asking our guardian angel to protect us during the night from the influences of the devil so that we do not fall into sin and thereby offend and anger God with sins committed during the night.
Below is the Greek prayer to the Guardian Angel and also my translation of the prayer.

With love in Christ
Fr. Christopher