Archangels (/ˌɑːrkˈeɪndʒəl/) are the second lowest rank of angel in the hierarchy of angels. The word "archangel" itself is usually associated with the Abrahamic religions, but beings that are very similar to archangels are found in a number of other religious traditions.
Some branches of the faiths mentioned have identified a group of seven Archangels, but the named angels vary, depending on the source. Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are always mentioned; the other archangels vary, but most commonly include Uriel, who is mentioned in 2 Esdras.
The Amesha Spentas (Avestan: Aməša Spəṇta, meaning "beneficent immortals") of Zoroastrianism are likened to archangels. They individually inhabit immortal bodies that operate in the physical world to protect, guide, and inspire humanity and the spirit world. The Avesta explains the origin and nature of archangels or Amesha Spentas.
There are no explicit references to archangels in the canonical texts of the Hebrew Bible. In post-Biblical Judaism, certain angels came to take on a particular significance and developed unique personalities and roles. Though these archangels were believed to have ranked amongst the heavenly host, no systematic hierarchy ever developed. Metatron is considered one of the highest of the angels in Merkavah and Kabbalist mysticism and often serves as a scribe. He is briefly mentioned in the Talmud, and figures prominently in Merkavah mystical texts. Michael, who serves as a warrior and advocate for Israel, is looked upon particularly fondly. Gabriel is mentioned in the Book of Daniel and briefly in the Talmud, as well as many Merkavah mystical texts. The earliest references to archangels are in the literature of the intertestamental periods (e.g., 4 Esdras 4:36).
In the Kabbalah there are twelve archangels, each assigned to a certain sephira: Metatron, Raziel, Cassiel, Zadkiel, Samael, Michael, Uriel & Haniel, Raphael & Jophiel, Gabriel, and Sandalphon. Chapter 20 of the Book of Enoch mentions seven holy angels who watch, that often are considered the seven archangels: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sariel, Raguel, and Remiel. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel. Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides made a Jewish angelic hierarchy.
The New Testament makes over a hundred references to angels, but uses the word "archangel" only twice, in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ("For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first", KJV) and Jude 1:9 ("Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee", KJV).
The Fourth Book of Esdras, which mentions the angel Uriel (and also the "archangel" Jeremiel), was popular in the West and was frequently quoted by Church Fathers, especially Ambrose, but was never considered part of the Catholic biblical canon.
Eastern Orthodox Tradition mentions "thousands of archangels"; however, only seven archangels are venerated by name. Uriel is included, and the other three are most often named Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel (an eighth, Jeremiel, is sometimes included as archangel). 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 July 13 (July 26), 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:
Seventh-day Adventists hold that the titles "Michael" and "archangel" are in reference to Jesus. However, in the Adventist view, they only signify his role as the chief of angels and make no reference to the nature of Jesus, who is fully divine. Adventists credit nonconformist minister Matthew Henry as supporting this view.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) interprets the term "archangel" as meaning "Chief Angel", Michael is the only individual so designated in the Latter Day Saints canon. It is believed that he is the head of all of the angels. LDS Church doctrine also states that the archangel Michael was the first man, Adam. Though no other being is identified as an "archangel", Joseph Smith taught that the angel Gabriel was known in mortality as Noah and the angel Raphael is a being of significant standing, even though he has never been identified with any mortal prophet.
In the Gnostic codex On the Origin of the World, the aeon named Sophia sends seven archangels from her light to save the Archon Sabaoth, the son of Yaldabaoth, after the authorities of Chaos make war in the Seven Heavens. He is then placed in a divine kingdom above the twelve gods of Chaos and becomes the consort of Zoe (the primordial Eve), who gives him knowledge of the eighth heaven, while the seven archangels stand before them. In The Sophia of Jesus Christ and Eugnostos the Blessed, the primordial Adam creates myriads of gods and archangels without number.
Occultists sometimes associate archangels in Kabbalistic fashion with various seasons or elements, or even colours. In some Kabbalah-based systems of ceremonial magic, all four of the main archangels (Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Uriel) are invoked as guarding the four quarters, or directions, and their corresponding colours are associated with magical properties. Lucifer or Satan in Christian traditions, or Iblis in Islam, is considered an archangel by Satanists and many non-Satanists, but most non-Satanists consider him evil and fallen from God's grace.
This clarification is needed, because one could object that in the texts of the past, other archangels have been mentioned, the same as the number of sects in the Book of Enoch: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sariel, Phanuel and Gabriel. The system of seven archangels is in fact an ancient tradition of Judaic origin.
Therefore, with regard to the Archangels, it was established in the Middle Ages that the worship and veneration of any of the other archangels mentioned by the Bible apart from Michele, Gabriele and Raphael was forbidden. Even in the past, in the early Church, great efforts were made to prevent the cult of angels, which was influenced by heterodox practices and the pagan traditions of divine messengers, from leading to a form of idolatry.
The archangel Michael, wearing a suit of studded armor, sits on a throne backed by an elaborate blue and gold brocade. In this painting, Michael simultaneously enacts his two principal roles: weigher of souls on Judgment Day and destroyer of Satan. On the left an angel embraces a soul, while on the right, Satan appears as a fantastic two-faced monster ready to capture another soul. Michael positions his lance over the monster. This painting was originally a side panel of a large altarpiece dedicated to John the Baptist, installed in the church of Sant Joan del Mercat in Lleida, Catalonia.Source: Eye of the Beholder, edited by Alan Chong et al. (Boston: ISGM and Beacon Press, 2003): 155.
The cult of Saint Michael goes back to the 5th century AD. In Italy, the Monte Gargano is a site dedicated to St Michael recognised since the end of Antiquity, before the cult of the archangel extended to the whole of medieval Western Europe.
The archangel therefore symbolises the power of the forces of good against evil. The medieval iconography represents him brandishing a sword or spear, the defeated dragon at his feet. Michael is also a psychostasis and psychopomp angel, meaning he weighs the souls at the Last Judgment and takes them to Paradise.
According to the Revelatio ecclesiae sancti michaelis, the oldest text recording the origins of Mont-Saint-Michel, the first foundations of the Abbey were laid in the year 708. This date was chosen as that when Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, built the first sanctuary dedicated to the Archangel Michael on Mont-Tombe, now Mont-Saint-Michel. According to the legend, the archangel appeared to Aubert three times in a dream, asking him to establish a sanctuary in his name.
As tradition has it, on the third attempt, the archangel went as far as poking his finger into Aubert's skull to get him to perform his wishes. Aubert sent messengers to the Monte Gargano in Italy, to bring back the relics of the archangel to the Mont-Tombe. Once completed, the sanctuary was finally dedicated to Saint Michael on 16 October 709.
The two reunited at Brennor, which was about to come under siege by the forces of the archdemon Assur. Siggard was incredulous that Tyrael was an archangel and that those around him knew so, but as Tyrael pointed out, he'd never asked. But to answer the question of what aid he could provide, all Tyrael could offer was advice. As Assur was protected by the Glyph of Invincibility, Tyrael advised the fortress's defenders to focus on his army instead.
Tyrael's euphoria did not last long. His mortal comrades departed Heaven and, now mortal himself, he struggled to find his place. Food and other necessities of mortal life were non-existent in Heaven, and the constant light of the realm interfered with his sleep patterns. While he could find rest, he began to suffer nightmares from the corruption that Diablo had brought to the realm. What had been familiar was now foreboding, and he felt out of place as a mortal amongst his angelic brethren. In the Courts of Justice (his former domain), fleeting visions of every angel who had perished at the hands of Diablo assaulted him. The fallen angels held Tyrael responsible for their deaths. Overcome with guilt, Tyrael lacked the courage to face their judgement and fled. More and more, Tyrael longed for the simplicity of his life as an archangel, to exist beyond mortal limitations. Such yearning reached its apex when he witnessed the Lightsong. Now mortal, he could only watch the event, not take part as he had done so previously. 781b155fdc