|Major Symbol in Art - Angel|
The word "angel" comes from the Greek word angelos, which means "messenger". They are engaged in God's service to perform specific divine tasks. While they do not have material bodies, they often appear in human form as men or as children but never as women.
In chiristian tradition all angels are not known by name only by the function assigned them both in the Bible and by St. Paul, but the arrangement in hierarchies was given by Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite around 500 AC. In his " Celestial Hierarchy" he devided the celestial court into three groups of three, means nine choirs of angels devided into three ranks:
1. Councillors (Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones)
2. Governors (Dominations, Virtues, Powers)
3. Ministers (Princedoms, Archangels and Angels)
In the last group 4 Angels, special tasks ministers of God to man, are known by name Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel. Michael and Gabriel are mention by name in the books of the Bible, Raphael and Uriel are known from apocrypha "Book of Henoch" where their functions and responsibilities are revealed wider and more detailed.
Michael whose name means "Who is like God?"
is invested with authority from God Capitan-General of Heaven
and a Protector of the Church.
Gabriel whose name means "Mighty one of God" or "God is my strength" appears as God's special messenger of His kingdom program. He is a guardian of the celestial treasury, the Angel of Redemption and he is the Angel of the Annunciation usually portrayed as a young, beautiful, majestic figure with large white wings dressed in richly robe embroidered in white lilies - symbol of the purity of the Virgin, sometimes wears a crown and bears a scepter to indicate sovereignty.
Raphael whose name means "the Medicine of God" is chief of the guardian angels and the guardian angel of all humanity, protector of the young and innocent, especially pilgrims and wayfarer. He is usually shown as a kind, mild and loving person dressed in the richly traveler robe, wears sandals but burley touching the his path, almost dancing in the air, his curly hair is bound with a diadem. Usually he carries a medicine, a cure for illness, scroll or fish in his hand , and there is sometimes a gourd of water or a wallet slung to his golden belt. According to the Bible he was the protector of Tobias on his journey to collect money of his blind father. According to the Gospel he was the Angel who appeared to the shepherds on Christmas night.
Uriel, whose name means "the Light of God" is portrayed much less frequently than are Gabriel, Michael or Raphael. Early legend states that it was Uriel who, as ambassador of Christ, appears to the disciples at Emmaus. He is usually shown as a massager carrying a scroll and a book indicating his role as interpreter of judgments and prophecies. The open book represents truth or revelation of the New Testament. Old Testament writings are usually represented by a scroll.
From beginning of the nineth century Dionysius's hierarchical arrangement of angels become the standard text till 13th century when some minor modification were done by Dante. In his "Paradiso" ( 28: 97-124) Dante also added names of the angels known from Apocrypha and from various Jewish writings - Uriel, Raguel, Ramuel, Sariel, Jeramial, Chamuel, Jophiel, and Zadkiel to the angels known by name from the Bible, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael.
However, angels primary function is to praise and serve God to do His will, reveal divine truth, assist man in achieving a proper rapport with God, singing they also are believed to be efficacious in helping man to attain salvation, or special graces, or favors. God has charged his angels to guard you wherever you go, to lift you on their hands for frear you should strike your foot against a stone" (Psalm 99:11) . Although he concept of guardian angel was known from Psalms, it become popular not earlier than at the end of XVIth century and become universal text by pope Clement X in 1670 AC. Thus the guardian angels are believed to be guardians over individuals and nations. They help man in everyday life, watch him and prevent him to offend against God.
The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only.
The contents of this site may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of .