The Archangels are called the great heralds of good news, announcing the great and most glorious. Their service (as St. Dionysius the Areopagite says) consists in revealing prophecies, knowledge, and understanding of God's will which they receive from the higher orders of angels and announce to the lower order, i.e., the angels, and through them, to men. St. Gregory the Dialogist says that the archangels strengthen people in the holy faith, enlightening their minds with the light of knowledge of the holy Gospel and revealing the mysteries of devout faith.
As it is shown in the Book of the Holy Prophet Ezekiel throughout (compare with the Book of Revelation), the first four archangels (Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel) are the ones that stand in the four corners of The Great Throne of God (the Ma'aseh Merkabah). Together with them stand the four six-winged Living Creatures (Ayyot), the four many-eyed Cherubim—having four arms, four wings and four faces each—and the four many-eyed Wheels (Ophannim) or Storm-Winds (Galgallim), which Christians, (according to the example of the Great Apostle Paul and that of his illustrious disciple, St. Dionysius the Areopagite) call Thrones. These four archangels are the ones that protected the four camps of the people of Israel in the wilderness : to the North, to the South, to the East and to the West. They are the Angels of the four winds, according to the Scripture that says : "You, Who make Your Angels spirits (winds), and Your servants pears of flaming fire".
The ancient Rabbis allways connected the seven archangels with the seven then-so-called planets: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter, and the Church Fathers have allways thaught and taught that God rules this Universe through his Celestial Armies. There are three (irreducible) lists of these seven archangels: one from the Book of Enoch, (which is accepted as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which is representative of the Oriental Orthodox churches, which are all of semitic origins: Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopian, Syrian); the second from the tradition of the Chalcedonian Orthodox Church, (which, interestingly enough, coincides with that of the Gnostics—who were an ancient Christian sect); and a third from such great Church Fathers as St. Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Gregory the Dialogist. All of these three different lists, however, agree on the names of the first four archangels: Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel. The remaining three are given as follows :
- From the Book of Enoch (Jewish, as well as Oriental Orthodox tradition) : Raguel; Sarakiel or Saraqael; (Je)Re(h)miel or (Je)Ra(h)miel;
- From the Eastern Orthodox tradition : Barachiel; Salathiel; (Je)Gudiel or (Je)hudiel;
- From the Western tradition : (H)anael or (H)aniel; Jophiel or Cassiel; Zadkiel or Zedekiel.
The explanation and translation of all of these names can be seen below, but the Oriental and Eastern traditions have one more archangel in common, namely the sixth, called Selaphiel. Also, Zadkiel is one of two standard bearers (along with Zophiel) who follow directly behind the Archangel Michael as the head archangel enters battle.
"Who is like unto God?" Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Jude v. 9; Rev. 12:7-8.
"The Powerful or Strong Man of God", "The Power or Strength of God" Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19-26. Also called Djibril or Jibril.
"The Healing of God" Tobit 3:17; 12:15. Also called Israfel. He is the one that, according to the Book of Revelation, will blow the trumpet on Judgement Day.
"The Light or Fire of God" A.V. II Esdras 4:1. Also called Sariel, Suriel, or Muriel.
"The Command, Communicant or Prayer of God". Also called Salathiel, Selathiel, Seraphiel, Sarakiel, Saraqael, Zarachiel, Zerachiel, or Zachariel.
"The Glory, Laudation or Praise of God". Also called Jegudiel or Gudiel.
"The Blessings of God". Also called Varachiel.
"The Friend of God". Also called Raziel (which means "The Secrets of God"—quite possible, if one takes into consideration Jesus' words at the Last Supper: "For I shall no longer call you servants, but friends, because the servant doesn't know His Master's will"). Likewise, we are not to confound him (Raziel) with Raphael, which is in perfect agreement with the fact that neither is Raguel to be confounded with Raphael.
"The Compassion, Exaltation or Mercy of God" R.V. II Esdras 4:36. Also called Jeramiel, Jerahmiel, Jerehmiel, Ramiel, or Remiel.
"The Grace or Joy of God". Also called Aniel, Hanael, or Haniel.
"The Beauty of God". Also called Orifiel, Jouphiel, Zouphiel, Zophiel, Zophkiel, Zaphiel, Zaphkiel, Kaphziel, Cassiel, or Kepharel.
"The Justice, Righteousness or Uprightness of God". Also called Sachiel, Tzadkiel, Zadakiel, Zedekiel, or Zedekul.
"The Light-Bearer" or "The Morning-Star" Isaiah 14:12; "The Enemy" Jude 1:9, Revelation 12:9. Other names for this fallen archangel (or his companions) are : Azazel, Azrael, Izrael, Izreel, or Uzziel; Camael, Chamuel, Samael, Shemuel, or Simiel; Samiaza; Satanael.
|First Hierarchy: Seraphim | Cherubim | Thrones|
|Second Hierarchy: Powers | Dominions | Principalities|
|Third Hierarchy: Virtues | Archangels | Angels|