The Old and the New Testaments mention by names the Archangels Michael, the commander of the Heavenly Army, and the Archangel Gabriel. Four more archangels – Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel and Jeremiel – are mentioned in non-canonical books of the Holy Scripture. The archangels Jegudiel and Barachiel are referred to in the Church Tradition.
p align="justify">The word “archangel” means “chief angel.” The Old and the New Testaments represent angels as God’s messengers but say nothing about their origin and nature. In the works by the Holy Fathers and liturgical texts, angels are interpreted as unfleshly spirits, i.e. lacking human or animal body. The 7th Ecumenical Council, reviewing the appropriacy of depicting images of angels in the icons, reached a conclusion that angels have some angelic flesh “As regards angels and archangels and other heavenly hosts on a higher order, and I would add to them our human souls too, the Catholic Church considers them to be intellectual but not at all unfleshly… only having bodies, which are thin, air-like and flame-like, as the Scripture says ‘Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire’” (Hebrews 1:7). In the 5th – 6th centuries AD an unknown author wrote a treatise entitled “On the Heavenly Hierarchy” which was included in a collection of theological texts in Greek language entitled Areopagitika (whose authorship until recently was attributed to Saint Dionysius Areopagitis who lived in the 1st century AD). The treatise divided the heavenly host into nine ranks, introduced a concept of the “heavenly hierarchy” describing hierarchical relationship between each of the ranks. According to this text, the archangels represent the last but one archangel choir; the last rank is represented by angels including the guardian angels as the less hidden from people and protecting them.