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Chapter 1

Angel, in the Greek language, means “messenger” or more literally “bringer of tidings”. The Bible lists several classes, or ranks, of angels. According to the work of the philoso­pher (Pseudo-)Dionysius the Areopagite there are nine classes of angels:

I. Counselors: 1. Seraphim, 2. Cherubim, 3. Thrones.
II. Governors: 4. Virtues, 5. Dominions, 6. Powers.
III. Messengers: 7. Principalities, 8. Archangels, 9. Angels.

“The order of these denominations is not the same in all authorities: according to the Greek formula, St. Bernard, and the Legenda Aurea, the Cherubim precede the Seraphim, and in the hymn of St. Ambrose they have also the precedence-‘To Thee, Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry’, but the authority of St. Dionysius seems to be admitted as paramount, for, according to legend, he was the convert and intimate friend of St. Paul, and St. Paul, who had been transported to the seventh heaven, had made him acquainted with all he had there beheld.” 1

In ancient paintings glorifying the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, or the Virgin Mary, the various classes of angels are sometimes shown hovering above their heads. The


angels closest to the person glorified are usually glowing red, symbolizing love. The subsequent circle of angels is usually blue, symbolizing the firmament.


The counselors are involved around the throne of God. They have little to no contact with humanity because they are disposed to serving God, in His presence. Being directly in His presence, they receive their power and glory directly from Him.

1. SERAPHIM - Seraphim are described in Isaiah 6:2 and are involved in perpetu­ally showing their love of God. They fly around God’s throne, celebrating and praising Him. According to some traditions, the Archangel Uriel is their leader.

The seraphim are said to have six wings; two wings cover their face, two wings cover their feet and two wings are used to fly. When portrayed, they are typically red in color and covered with numerous eyes. They are sometimes holding a scroll containing the words of Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his
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© 2016 By Doug Gray. All Rights Reserved.