The Nine Choirs of Angels Seraphim Cherubim Thrones Dominions Virtues Powers Principalities Archangels Angels (Regular) Seraphim These are the highest order or choir of angels. They are the angels who are attendants or guardians before God's throne. They praise God, calling, "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts". the only Bible reference is Isaiah 6:1-7. One of them touched Isaiah's lips with a live coal from the altar, cleansing him from sin. Seraphim have six wings, two cover their faces, two cover their feet, and two are for flying. (top of the page) Cherubim Cherubim rank after the seraphim and are the second highest in the nine hierarchies or choirs of angels. The Old Testament does not reveal any evidence that the Jews considered them as intercessors or helpers of God. They were closely linked in God's glory. They are manlike in appearance and double-winged and were guardians of God's glory. They symbolized then, God's power and mobility. In the New Testament, they are alluded to as celestial attendants in the Apocalypse (Rv 4-6). Catholic tradition describes them as angels who have an intimate knowledge of God and continually praise Him. (top of the page) Archangels Archangels are generally taken to mean "chief or leading angel" ( Jude 9; 1 Thes 4:16), they are the most frequently mentioned throughout the Bible. They may be of this or other hierarchies as St. Michael Archangel, who is a princely Seraph. The Archangels have a unique role as God's messenger to the people at critical times in history and salvation (Tb 12:6, 15; Jn 5:4; Rv 12:7-9) as in The Annunciation and Apocalypse. A feast day celebrating the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael is celebrated throughout the Church Sep 29. A special part of the Byzantine Liturgy invokes the "Cherubic Hymn" which celebrates these archangels and the guardian angels particularly. Of special significance is St. Michael as he has been invoked as patron and protector by the Church from the time of the Apostles. The Eastern Rite and many others place him over all the angels, as Prince of the Seraphim. He is described as the "chief of princes" and as the leader of the forces of heaven in their triumph over Satan and his followers. The angel Gabriel first appeared in the Old Testament in the prophesies of Daniel, he announced the prophecy of 70 weeks (Dn 9:21-27). He appeared to Zechariah to announce the birth of St. John the Baptist (Lk 1:11). It was also Gabriel which proclaimed the Annunciation of Mary to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour. (Lk 1:26) The angel Raphael first appeared in the book of Tobit (Tobias)Tb 3:25, 5:5-28, 6-12). He announces "I am the Angel Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the throne of God." (Tb 12:15) (top of the page) Principalities In the New Testament Principalities refers to one type of spiritual (metaphysical) being which are now quite hostile to God and human beings. (Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col 1:16; 2:10, 15) Along with the principalities are the powers (Rom 8:38; 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 1 Pt 3:22; 2 Thes 1:7); and cosmological powers (1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; Col 2:15);Dominions (Eph 1:21; Col 1:16) and thrones (Col 1:16). The clarity of the New Testament witness helps see that these beings were created through Christ and for Him (Col 1:16). Given their hostility to God and humans due to sin, Christ's ultimate rule over them (ibid) expresses the reign of the Lord over all in the cosmos. This is the Lordship of Christ, which reveals God's tremendous salvation in conquering sin and death at the cross, and now takes place in the Church. (Eph 3:10) (top of the page) Return to the top of this page Return to the Angels Page Return to the Catholic Online Saints Site Return to the Catholic Online Homepage Send mail to Catholic Online Write the Web author Another Guardian Graphics Web Page 1997 Catholic Online All Rights Reserved. Page last modified January 2, 1997. The Archangels St. Michael the Archangel St. Gabriel the Archangel St. Raphael the Archangel Other Archangels St. Michael the Archangel Michael is an archangel and the leader of the angels who remained faithful to God. At their head he overcame Lucifer and the bad angels and cast them out of heaven. "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. Many times he has aided those who were faithful to God; he will again come to the aid of the faithful. Tradition gives to St. Michael four offices: To fight against Satan. To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death. To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; (therefore he was the patron of the Church). To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment Patron Saint of those in Law Enforcement. (top of the page) St. Gabriel the Archangel Gabriel is an archangel whose name means "the Power of God." He appeared to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), to the priest Zachary to announce the forthcoming birth of Saint John the Baptist (Luke 1:11, 19), and to the Blessed Virgin Mary to announce the birth of Our Savior (Luke 1:26ff.). Gabriel is mentioned only twice in the New Testament, but it is not unreasonable to suppose with Christian tradition that it is he who appeared to St. Joseph and to the shepherds, and also that it was he who "strengthened" Our Lord in the garden. (top of the page) St. Raphael the Archangel Raphael is the archangel which appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown "in the desert of upper Egypt" of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, (Tob. 5:11). After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (top of the page) Other Archangels Of the seven "archangels", only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list. Return to the top of this page Return to the Angels Page Return to the Catholic Online Saints Site Return to the Catholic Online Homepage Write the author Send mail to Catholic Online Write the Web author Another Guardian Graphics Web Page 1997 Catholic Online All Rights Reserved. Page last modified January 2, 1997.