The Names of the Archangels and What They Mean

This Saturday we celebrated the Feast of the Archangels – Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. These angels are named in the Bible and play important roles in salvation history, but did you know there are more archangels than just these three?

Rev. Francis Hoffman, “Father Rocky”, Executive Director of Relevant Radio® stopped by Morning Air® recently to talk about what we know of angels from Scripture, history, and Catholic tradition. Of the archangels Father Rocky said:

“Do you know how many archangels there are? There are seven. And do you know where we get that number from?

We get it from the Old Testament, the Book of Tobit. We see Raphael leading Tobias on his journey, and at the end of the journey he reveals himself. He says, ‘I am Raphael, one of the seven who stand before the throne of God.’ That’s the only reference in Sacred Scripture to the number seven. So it’s got everybody scratching their heads saying, ‘Who are the seven?’

Well, we know one’s name, Michael, that’s in the Book of Revelation. We know another one, Raphael, from the Old Testament. We know another, Gabriel, from the New Testament. We have a fourth named Uriel who is referred to in apocryphal writings, and also in the oral tradition of the Church. And then there is wide discussion about the names of the other three. A number have been posed by apocryphal writings, deutero-canonical writings, which are not part of the corps of Sacred Scripture.

But all of them, their name ends with ‘el’ which is Hebrew for ‘God.’ So Michael means ‘who is like God,’ Raphael means ‘God has helped’ or ‘God has healed,’ and Gabriel means ‘God is my strength,’ and Uriel means ‘lion of God.’

So they have names and it is good for us to call upon them. I know they can help us in big ways in history and in our own personal lives, and I encourage people to know those prayers and pray those prayers.

Listen to Fr. Rocky answer more questions about angels and archangels below:

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