What is an Archangel?

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What is an archangel? This is a common question. Simply put, an archangel is an angel of high rank. Three are mentioned in the Bible. Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael.

The Archangels are offices of high stature in heaven. These three angels mentioned in the Bible are given great responsibility and command of the other angels.

The word “angel” means messenger. An archangel then is a high messenger, a leader.

Saint Augustine said of Angels: “‘Angel’ is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is ‘spirit’; if you seek the name of their office, it is ‘angel’: from what they are, ‘spirit,’ from what they do, ‘angel.'” With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word” (See: CCC 329; Mt 18:10), via F.K. Bartels.

By Marshall Connolly





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  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    What’s the source material for this? I don’t recall anything in my readings of the bible that spoke of a hierarchy of angels and defined what they are and what they do.
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    Sometimes I think Augustine is given more credence that Jesus by the RCC. It seems to me at times that from the RCCs perspective, Jesus was a rather inconvenient Jew who failed to say the right things about homosexuality, abortion, contraception and LGBTs, so Augustine filled in for him. Augustine seems to know far more about heaven and angels and such than Jesus did.

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