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The Seven Archangels

The very first mention of the seven archangels as a distinct group, is in the Book of Enoch, or simply Enoch I. The book is non-canonical in Judaism, as well as most Christian churches, however the reference is quoted in the New Testament book of Jude Chapter 1, verses14 through15. In the book of Enoch the seven archangels are mentioned by name, as Michael, Raphael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, Uriel, Remiel, and finally Raguel. You've probably noticed that the names of the seven archangels seem to perpetually vary or change, and it can be difficult to nail them down exactly. The reason behind that is because the names changed throughout the centuries, and then various branches of Christianity further changed them depending on the denomination. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the only church that considers the Book of Enoch to be canonical, so within their denomination there is no confusion regarding the names of the seven archangels.

One of the first changes to the names of the archangels, occurred during the late 5th and early 6th century. The anonymous theologian and philosopher known simply by the name of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, listed the archangels within his book the Celestial Hierarchy, as Michael, Zadkiel, Chamuel, Raphael, Gabriel, Jophiel, and lastly Uriel. The second change occurred roughly around the same time, with Pope Saint Gregory I listing the names as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Oriphiel, Zachariel, Uriel, and Simiel. A large part of the reasoning behind the changing names, is that early scripture was often bounced from Aramaic, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, causing some of the pronunciations to change, and then the spellings. However often times some of the attributes of these archangels would change as well, as they weren't heavily defined in the Book of Enoch, leaving them open to wide interpretation and gradual defining.

 

Within the contemporary Catholic Church, the seven archangels correspond with the days of the week, and each archangel has been denoted as a saint with the St. prefix. As the list goes, Saint Michael represents Sunday, Saint Gabriel represents Monday, Saint Raphael represents Tuesday, Saint Uriel represents Wednesday, Saint Sealtiel represents Thursday, Saint Jegudiel represents Friday, and Saint Barachiel represents Saturday. The Catholic Church as well as many other non Catholic Christian denominations, place heavy focus and emphasis on only three archangels, those being Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. The remaining four are often times associated with early Gnostics, and it's primarily those four whose names seem to continually change throughout history. The reason for this is the last four are quite obscure, with the first three being referenced much more often in the Bible, especially Michael and Gabriel.

 

With regard to the archangels themselves, they are the second highest ranking angels within the third sphere of the Christian Angelic Hierarchy. Archangels also appear in Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism, however their names and the number of them changes outside of Christianity. This rank of angels are often tasked with important duties assigned by God, such as casting Lucifer out of heaven, signaling the return of Jesus Christ, driving Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, and many other important actions. Aside from the traditional seven holy archangels, Lucifer is sometimes referred to as the eighth archangel, however obviously he is a fallen angel. Lucifer was known as the great archangel, and a prince amongst his brethren. He was cast out of heaven due to his pride, along with all of his followers, 1/3 of all the angels.

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