Feastday Saints Michael,
Gabriel, And Raphael: September 29
An archangel /ˌɑːrkˈeɪndʒəl/
is an angel of high rank. Beings similar to archangels are found in a number of
religious traditions; but the word "archangel" itself is usually associated with
the Abrahamic religions.
The word archangel is derived from the
Greek ἀρχάγγελος (arch- + angel, literally chief angel).
Michael and Gabriel are
recognised as archangels in Judaism, Islam, and by most Christians. The Book of
Tobit—recognised in the Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, but considered apocryphal
by Protestants—mentions Raphael, who is also considered to be an archangel. The
archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic
Church with a feast on September 29 (between 1921 and 1969, March 24 for Gabriel
and October 24 for Raphael), and in the Eastern Orthodox Church on November 8 (if
the Julian calendar is used, this corresponds to November 21 in the Gregorian).
The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrael. Jewish
literature, such as the Book of Enoch, mentions Metatron as an archangel, called
the "highest of the angels", though the acceptance of this angel is not
canonical in all branches of the faith.
Some branches of the faiths mentioned have
identified a group of seven Archangels, but the actual 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.
In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts allude to
the six great Amesha Spenta (literally "Bounteous/Holy Immortals") of Ahura
Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, depicted in
stained glass in St Ailbe's Church, a Catholic church in Ireland
In Roman Catholicism, three are honored by name:
The last-named of these
identifies himself in Tobit 12:15(NAB) thus: "I am Raphael, one of the seven
angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord."
The Fourth Book of Esdras, which mentions
the angel Uriel, was popular in the West and was frequently quoted by Church
Fathers, especially Ambrose, but was never considered part of the Catholic
The Catholic Church gives no official
recognition to the names given in some apocryphal sources, such as Raguel,
Saraqael and Remiel (Book of Enoch) or Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel (other
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