Archangels and Their Roles in Christianity 29. September 1

Archangels – Michael – Gabriel – Raphael

Archangels play an important role in Christianity, manifested most notably in the stories of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael in the Bible. From Michael’s fight against Satan to Gabriel announcing the birth of Jesus Christ, archangels are deeply intertwined with many of Christianity’s key stories.

Archangel (ancient Greek ἄρχω archo – to rule, manage and άγγελος ángelos – messenger) in the Judeo-Christian tradition, means an angel of a higher order who performs special tasks for God.

The so-called The Qumran manuscripts mention three, in the rabbinic tradition six or seven, and in the Jewish apocalyptic and Christian tradition seven archangels. As part of church history, Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) listed seven of them: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Simiel, Orifiel, and Zachariel. However, only Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are the three angels that are venerated as saints in the Catholic Church.

On September 29, the church celebrates the feast of the three archangels mentioned in the Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

According to Catholic teaching, angels are personal, God-created beings who “always look on the face of the heavenly Father” (Mt 18:10), and are direct witnesses to his great deeds and proclaim his glory (Greek “angelos” means messenger).

Unlike humans, angels are not attached to the body. They are pure souls, and possess greater power over matter than man, and a greater capacity for cognition.

The most common classification (dates back to the De coelesti hierarchy of the Pseudo-Dionysius the science of angels and generally angelology) classifies angels into three, i.e. nine ranks. That follows certain hierarchies from which they draw peculiar characteristics. The eighth rank is archangels and among them are Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.


The Archangel Michael defeats Satan by Guido Reni in Santa Maria della Concezione (Rome)