Archangel

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Archangels are the highest ranks of the angels (see also the prefix arch-), the spirits who are believed in the Abrahamic faiths to serve God.

  • Some Christian sects venerate three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael as Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, which may be seen in the names of many churches, including 'St Michael and All Angels'. (There is one in Sutton, Hull, as well as Headingley in Leeds, Oxford and many other places.) Jews recognize up to seven archangels in total, including Uriel who is mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which is in the Catholic Canon of the Bible, as well as in the Orthodox Septuagint; however, this book is considered apocryphal by many Protestants. The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on 29 September.
  • The named Archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Azrael.
  • The seven archangels recognized by orthodox Judaism have the same three (Michael, Gabriel and Raphael), together with Uriel (who was recognized by Pope Gregory the Great as Phanuel) - these four are sometimes used to symbolize the cardinal points of the compass - Gabuthelon, Beburos and Zebuleon. Their names vary, depending on the source. Uriel is mentioned in the non-canonical Book of Enoch.
  • One name for the Devil, which has been used since the Vulgate, is that of the archangel Lucifer, said in Isaiah 14:12 to be 'fallen from heaven'. (The chief devil is also known as Satan.)
    • Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are still used as forenames in many Christian cultures. Of these, the most common in Britain is Michael.

Archangel is also the English form of the name of a place (a city, Arkhangelsk, and a province, Arkhangelsk Oblast, of which it is the administrative centre) in Russia. The city is an important seaport at the entrance of the River Dvina into the White Sea. It was a major supply route to the USSR of aid from the western allies in both World Wars - in the Second, it was the goal of the terrible Arctic Convoys. It is named after the archangel Michael, to whom a monastery that gave its name to the city was dedicated in the twelfth century.