Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Seven Who Stand Before the Lord

Abstract: We know from canonical Scripture that three of the seven archangels are Sts. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Is it possible to identify the other four? What are the most probable names of the other four of "the seven who stand before the Lord" [Tob 12:15]?

Certainly the fourth archangel is St. Uriel; though his name is not in canonical Scripture,{1} he figures in Sacred Tradition: the ancient authorities are unanimous that Uriel is an archangel. Bishop-Martyr St. Dionysius the Areopagite of Athens and Pope St. Gregory I the Great of Rome are two examples.

Notes & References
{1} St. Uriel appears in the non-canonical book 1 Enoch. St. Uriel appears in the non-canonical book of 2 Esdras, which the Russian Orthodox consider canonical:
2 Esdras 4:1-3: "Then the angel that had been sent to me, whose name was Uriel, answered and said to me, 'Your understanding has utterly failed regarding this world, and do you think you can comprehend the way of the Most High?'"
2 Esdras 5:20: "So I fasted for seven days, mourning and weeping, as the angel Uriel had commanded me."
2 Esdras 10:27-28: "When I looked up, the woman was no longer visible to me, but a city was being built, and a place of huge foundations showed itself. I was afraid, and cried with a loud voice and said, 'Where is the angel Uriel, who came to me at first? For it was he who brought me into this overpowering bewilderment; my end has become corruption, and my prayer a reproach.'"

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