Thursday, July 19, 2012

Seven Archangels

The Seven Archangels are:

St. Michael the Archangel, St. Gabriel the Archangel, St. Raphael the Archangel

Then depending on what source you read the other 4 vary in name. 

The Eastern Orthodoxy tradition venerates Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel.

Another variation lists them corresponding to the days of the week as: St Michael (Sunday), St Gabriel (Monday), St Raphael (Tuesday), St Uriel (Wednesday), St Sealtiel (Thursday), St Jegudiel, (Friday), and St Barachiel (Saturday).

According to Rudolf Steiner, four important archangels also display periodic spiritual activity over the seasons: Spring is Raphael, Summer is Uriel, Autumn is Michael, and Winter is Gabriel.

In the Coptic Orthodox tradition the seven archangels are named as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Suriel, Zadakiel, Sarathiel and Aniel.

The Roman Catholic Church only explicitly names 3 archangels: Gabriel, Michael and Raphael. Gabriel and Michael are the only two named in the new testament of the Bible. However, the same passages that name Raphael in the book of Tobit also states that he is "one of the seven who stand before God." The other names can be derived from traditional Jewish teaching.

I will try to go into a little more depth about three of the primary Archangels.

Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michaels name means: "Who is like unto God?"  He is the Patron Saint of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.  Holy Scripture describes St. Michael as "one of the chief princes," and leader of the forces of Heaven in their triumph over the powers of hell. He has been especially honored and invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles.
Although he is always called "the Archangel," the Greek Fathers and many others place him over all the angels - as Prince of the Seraphim.

Saint Gabriel the Archangel

Saint Gabriels name means: "God Conquers/ the might of God".  He is the Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Baptism.  Saint Gabriel is the Archangel of the Annunciation and the Incarnation's triumph over sin & death. When Mary "Taking that sweet Ave which from Gabriel came, Peace confirm within us, Changing Eva's name." (Ave Maris Stella, 2nd paragraph).  His lilies represent the new purity of the soul through the sacraments of Baptism and Confession, both sacraments made possible by the Redemption. His banner is a declaration of Our Lady's universal motherhood.

Saint Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphaels name means: "God has healed".  He is the Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Pennance.  He is also the patron of travelers and bearers of good news.  In most pictures you will notice Raphael carries a jug.  This jug contains oil for annointing. You might also notice a fish.  The fish traditionally symbolizes the soul and the oil the healing of it's ailments through confession. The fish is also a reminder of the story of his protection of young Tobias and healing his father Tobit. (see the book of Tobit in the Old Testament for his story; only a Catholic bible will contain this

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