Who Are the Holy Archangels?

Q. Who are the archangels, whose feast we celebrate this week (September 29)?

A. The term “archangel” means a “chief angel,” one with authority over certain other angels. This word appears only twice in Scripture: Jude 9, in reference to St. Michael, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which says Christ’s return to earth in glory will be accompanied by “the archangel’s call.” Various passages speak of other ranks in the hierarchy of the heavenly hosts (Genesis 3:24; Isaiah 6:6; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16, 2:15; Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10), though theologians have long debated where the rank of archangel stands among them. Three archangels are named in Scripture: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. More about them next week.