Meanings of 7 Orthodox Church Archangel Names
There are believed to be seven Archangels in total.
November 8th is the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael, Gabriel and other Archangels.
The word Archangel comes from two Greek words; "arche" meaning ruler, and "angelos" meaning messenger.
Saint Thomas Aquinas once stated; "an angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision." In the Orthodox Faith, angels and saints are spiritual guides that encourage believers on their path to Christ. The Prayer to the Guardian Angel demonstrates the strong Orthodox Theology on the relationship between angels and humans: "O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from Heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in doing good deeds, and set me on the path of salvation."
The Archangel Michael is revered for being the Guardian of the Orthodox Faith. St. Dimitri Rostove, noted Orthodox Theologian, has documented that "Archangels are believed to be part of the Seraphim category which would place them next to the Throne of God." The Orthodox Church acknowledges them as; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel and Barachiel.
It is believed that the four Archangels that reside at the four corners of The Great Throne of God are; Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. Michael is thought to be the leader of the seven Archangels. The Hebrew meaning for Michael is "Who is like unto God". In Orthodox Theology it is believed that at the time of the fall of Lucifer it was Michael that shouted the war cry and led the battle. In Iconography Michael is usually depicted as a warrior with a sword in his hand.
Gabriel is well-regarded for announcing enlightenment from God. In Hebrew, Gabriel means "Man of God". St. Paul wrote in 1st Thessalonians, makes reference of an Archangel during the Second Coming. Paul states in chapter four; "For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel". Many theologians believe that it will be the Archangel Gabriel that makes this announcement. Throughout the Bible Gabriel has been used to announce the first coming of Christ. Gabriel is mostly depicted in Iconography as having a bowed head and praying to Christ for the salvation for people.
Raphael is commonly referred to as God's physician. In Hebrew, Raphael means "God's healing". In Orthodox Theology; Raphael is noted for being concerned for children and families. He is commonly known as "The angel of happy meeting". In Iconography, Raphael is commonly shown with red wings and having a flame at the tip of his spear.
Uriel is often referred to as the Archangel of the Earth. It is believed that Uriel was the angel that wrestled with Jacob in 32nd Chapter of Genesis. In Hebrew, Uriel means "Light or fire of God". Iconography typically shows Uriel holding a scroll, which is symbolic for "wisdom".
Selaphiel is believed to represent three different types of prayer; blessing, supplication and praise. These three types of prayer are to represent how we are to pray to God. In Hebrew, Selaphiel means "The Command Communicant" or "Prayer of God". In Iconography, Selaphiel is typically depicted as very reverent in prayer.
Jegudiel in Hebrew means "Praise of God". In Iconography Jegudiel is usually depicted with holding a crown and a whip. The last of the Archangels is Barachiel, which in Hebrew means; "Benediction" or "Blessings of God". It is believed that Barachiel is the chief of all Guardian Angles. In Iconography Barachiel is typically depicted as holding a white rose.
In 1826, song writer Reginald Herber wrote the song "Holy Holy Holy". The second verse demonstrates with glorious imagery of the divine Holiness of Angels
and what Heaven must surely be like; "Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee, Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea; Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, Who was, who is, and evermore shall be."
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