Archangel

Archangel

[ahrk-eyn-juhl]
Archangel: see Arkhangelsk, Russia.
archangel, chief angel. They are four to seven in number. Sometimes specific functions are ascribed to them. The four best known in Christian tradition are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. In early Jewish literature archangels are called "angels of the presence."
or Archangel

City (pop., 2002: 355,500), northwestern Russia. Located near the mouth of Northern Dvina River, it has a large harbour kept open in winter by icebreakers. The area was settled by Norsemen in the 10th century AD. In 1553 it was visited by the English who were looking for the Northeast Passage. Founded in 1584 as a monastery of Michael the archangel, it became a trading station of the Muscovy Co. It was opened to European trade by Tsar Boris Godunov and flourished as the sole Russian seaport until St. Petersburg was built in 1703. Arkhangelsk was the scene of British, French, and U.S. support of the northern Russian government against the Bolsheviks in 1918–20. During World War II it received convoys of lend-lease goods from Britain and the U.S. (1941–45). It is a major timber-exporting port and has extensive shipbuilding facilities.

Learn more about Arkhangelsk with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Archangels are superior or higher-ranking angels. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. The only archangel ever clearly named as being of the order in the Bible is Michael. Gabriel, named in Luke, is considered to be an archangel, as are Raphael (mentioned in the Book of Tobit) and Uriel (mentioned in the Book of Enoch). The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on 29 September.

The word archangel derives from the Greek αρχάγγελος archangelos.

In Judaism

There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Indeed, even angels are uncommon except in later works like Daniel, though they are mentioned briefly in the stories of Jacob (who, according to several interpretations, wrestled with an angel) and Lot (who was warned by angels of the impending destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah). The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental periods (e.g., 4 Esdras 4:36).

It is therefore widely speculated that Jewish interest in angels developed during the Babylonian captivity. According to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270 AD), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon.

Within the rabbinic tradition, the Kabbalah, and the Book of Enoch chapter 20, and the Life of Adam and Eve, the usual number of archangels given is at least seven, who are the focal angels. Three higher archangels are also commonly referenced: Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel. There is confusion about one of the following eight names, concerning which one listed is not truly an archangel. They are: Uriel, Sariel, Raguel, and Remiel (possibly the Ramiel of the Apocalypse of Baruch, said to preside over true visions), Zadkiel, Jophiel, Haniel and Chamuel.

In addition, traditional homes often sang an ode to the angels before beginning Friday night (Shabbos) dinner. It is entitled Shalom Aleichem, meaning "peace unto you" (referring to the angels).

In Christianity

The New Testament speaks frequently of angels (for example, angels giving messages to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds; angels ministering to Christ after his temptation in the wilderness, an angel visiting Christ in his agony, angels at the tomb of the risen Christ, the angels who liberate the Apostles Peter and Paul from prison), but makes only two references to "archangels": Michael in Jude 1.9 and I Thessalonians 4:16, where the "voice of an archangel" will be heard at the return of Christ.

The Protestant Bible provides names for two archangels: Michael and Gabriel. In the Book of Tobit of the Catholic Bible, a third name, Raphael; sometimes Uriel or Phanuel is given as a fourth.

Eastern Orthodox Tradition mentions "thousands of archangels but venerates only seven of them by name. Uriel is included, and the other three are most often named Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel (an eighth, Jeremiel, is sometimes included). The Orthodox Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers on November 8 of the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, November 8 falls on November 21 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). Other feast days of the Archangels include the Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel on March 26 (April 8), and the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Colossae on September 6 (September 19). In addition, every Monday throughout the year is dedicated to the Angels, with special mention being made in the church hymns of Michael and Gabriel. In Orthodox iconography, each angel has a symbolic representation:

  • Michael in the Hebrew language means "Who is like unto God?" or "Who is equal to God?" St. Michael has been depicted from earliest Christian times as a commander, who holds in his right hand a spear with which he attacks Lucifer, Satan, and in his left hand a green palm branch. At the top of the spear there is a linen ribbon with a red cross. The Archangel Michael is especially considered to be the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith and a fighter against heresies.
  • Gabriel means "Man of God" or "Might of God". He is the herald of the mysteries of God, especially the Incarnation of God and all other mysteries related to it. He is depicted as follows: In his right hand, he holds a lantern with a lighted taper inside, and in his left hand, a mirror of green jasper. The mirror signifies the wisdom of God as a hidden mystery.
  • Raphael means "God's healing" or "God the Healer" (Tobit 3:17, 12:15). Raphael is depicted leading Tobit (who is carrying a fish caught in the Tigris) with his right hand, and holding a physician's alabaster jar in his left hand.
  • Uriel means "Fire of God", or "Light of God" (III Esdras 3:1, 5:20). He is depicted holding a sword against the Persians in his right hand, and a fiery flame in his left.
  • Selaphiel means "Intercessor of God" (III Esdras 5:16). He is depicted with his face and eyes lowered, holding his hands on his bosom in prayer.
  • Jegudiel means "Glorifier of God". He is depicted bearing a golden wreath in his right hand and a triple-thonged whip in his left hand.
  • Barachiel means "Blessing of God". He is depicted holding a white rose in his hand against his breast.
  • Jeremiel means "God's exaltation". He is venerated as an inspirer and awakener of exalted thoughts that raise a person toward God (III Ezra 4:36).

Some Protestants view Michael as the sole archangel, as the only one explicitly described as such in the Protestant canon of the Bible. In their view, Gabriel is never called 'archangel' in the Gospels. According to Origen verse 1:9 of Jude is an insertion that led to the writing of The Assumption of Moses.

The edition of the Bible used by Protestants, which excludes the Apocrypha, never mentions a "Raphael" and he is therefore not recognized by many of them. Raphael, however, is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, one of the deuterocanonical books. In the story, Raphael comes to the aid of Tobit, healing him of blindness, and his son Tobias, driving away a demon that would have killed him. Raphael also plays an important role in the Book of Enoch.

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Michael is one of the names Jesus has in heaven. In this view, Michael is the first and greatest of all God's creatures, the chief messenger of Jehovah that takes the lead in vindicating God's sovereignty, sanctifying God's name, fighting the forces of Satan and protecting God's people on earth. (Revelation 12:7; 19:14,16• Daniel 12:1) This belief is held because of the prominence Michael has among the heavenly sons of God in the Bible, the similarity of Michael’s and Jesus’ mission and the connection of Jesus with the archangelic office in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, where it is said: "Because the Lord himself will descend from Heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice." Taking also into account that the Bible refers to one archangel only using a definite article (Jude 9), Jehovah's witnesses have concluded that Michael and Jesus are one and the same..

A similar opinion is held by certain Protestants, such as Seventh-day Adventists, the Baptist evangelist Charles Spurgeon and the Presbyterian Commentary author Matthew Henry, who believe that the Archangel Michael is not an angel but is instead, the divine Son of God. In this view "archangel" means "head of the angels" rather than "head angel," and is a title similar to "Prince or Leader of the host." (Daniel 8:11) While not all Baptists hold to this view, Seventh-day Adventists generally do.

In Islam

In Islam, the named archangels include:

• Gabriel (or Jibraaiyl or Jibril or Jibrail in Arabic). Gabriel is the Archangel responsible for revealing the Qur'an to Muhammad. Gabriel is known as the angel who communicates with the Prophets. He is mentioned specifically by name and as the Holy Spirit in the Qur'an.

• Michael (Mikail or Mikaaiyl in Arabic). Michael is often depicted as the Archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth.

• Raphael (Israfil or Israafiyl). According to the Hadith, Israfil is the Angel responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day by blowing a horn and sending out a Blast of Truth. It translates in Hebrew as Raphael. • Azrael (Izra'il). Azrael is the Angel of Death who is responsible for parting the spirit of the human from the body at the time of departure from this earthly realm. The Qur'an never uses this name, referring instead to Malaikat al-Maut (which translates directly as Angels of Death; not one angel). Since it is not mentioned either in the Qur'an nor Hadith, it is not part of the religion. The spirit is removed from the body from the same point it entered, via the Latifa located between the eyebrows, known as the Khafi, or the Hidden.

Other traditions

Occultists sometimes associate archangels in Kabbalistic fashion with various seasons or elements, or even colors. In some Kabbalah-based systems of ceremonial magic, all four of the main archangels (Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel) are invoked as guarding the four quarters, or directions, and their corresponding colors are associated with magical properties.

In anthroposophy, based on teachings by Rudolf Steiner, there are many spirits belonging to the hierarchical level of archangel. In general, their task is to inspire and guard large groups of human beings, such as whole nations, peoples or ethnic groups. This reflects their rank above the angels who deal with individuals (the guardian angel) or smaller groups. The main seven archangels with the names given by Saint Gregory are Anael, Gabriel , Michael, Oriphiel, Raphael, Samael and Zachariel have a special assignment to act as a global Zeitgeist ('time spirit'), each for periods of about 380 years. Since 1879, Michael is our leading time spirit. Four important archangels also display periodic spiritual activity over the seasons: spring = Raphael, summer = Uriel, autumn = Michael and winter = Gabriel. In anthroposophy, archangels may be good or evil; in particular, some of their rank are collaborators of Ahriman, whose purpose is to alienate humanity from the spiritual world and promote materialism and heartless technical control.

In the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, the invocation includes the words "Before me Raphael; Behind me Gabriel; On my right hand Michael; On my left hand Auriel [i.e., Uriel]..."

In art, archangels are sometimes depicted with larger wings and many eyes. Some of the more commonly represented archangels are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Metatron, Uriel, and Satanel.

In the noncanonical 1 Enoch, Saraqael is described as one of the angels that watches over "the spirits that sin in the spirit". (20:7, 8)

References

Bibliography

*

See also

External links

Search another word or see archangelon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature