The Virtues (Strongholds), also called Malakhim or Tarshishim, lie beyond the Thrones/Wheels (Ophanim) and are the fifth ranking Order or Choir in the Second Hierarchal Sphere of the Hierarchy of Angels and are part of the Heavenly Governors.

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They specifically preside over the elements of the world and the process of celestial life.

Their primary duty is to supervise the movements of the heavenly bodies in order to ensure that the cosmos remains in order.

Thus all heavenly bodies-from the stars and planets to the galaxies themselves-are kept in their divinely appointed routes and progress.

On earth they govern and watch over nature, marking and guiding every facet of natural life, they have control over the seasons, the stars, the moon and even the sun is subject to their command.

"The Brilliant or Shining Ones" - Inspire the Saints...

This order of Angels are also called the Angels of miracles, encouragement, and blessings and are said to be the chief bestowers of grace and valor.

They are particularly involved with people struggling with their faith and encourage humans to turn always to the good and help enhance the person's will to endure hardship and suffering and to have the personal strength to turn ever toward God.

As the angels in charge of miracles, they receive their orders from the powers, but they are also closely interlaced with the saints.

The two Angels at the Ascension of Jesus were traditionally believed to be from this Order who were usually represented in a group. The term "Virtue" appears to be linked to the attribute "Might", from the Greek root "dunamis" in Ephesians 1:21, which is also translated as "Virtue" (see below).

From Dionysius the Areopagite:

"The name of the holy Virtues signifies a certain powerful and unshakable virility welling forth into all their Godlike energies; not being weak and feeble for any reception of the divine Illuminations granted to it; mounting upwards in fullness of power to an assimilation with God; never falling away from the Divine Life through its own weakness, but ascending unwaveringly to the super essential Virtue which is the Source of virtue: fashioning itself, as far as it may, in virtue; perfectly turned towards the Source of virtue, and flowing forth providentially to those below it, abundantly filling them with virtue."

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