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Angel 

The angelic choirs are understood to sing God's praises. The celestial hierarchy of angels is understood to include nine orders of angels: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels. The seraphim are understood to be the highest order of angels. The name seraphim is associated with the Hebrew verb which means "to burn," suggesting that the seraphim burn with devotion for God. The seraphim have been termed "the burning ones." In the vision of Isaiah (6:2) they are described as having six wings. The vision of Isaiah (Chapter 6) describes the seraphim in attendance above the Lord's throne. They called to each other and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." The cherubim are the second order of angels. They are understood to be celestial attendants. The vision of Ezekiel (Chapter 10) provides a vivid description of the cherubim that emphasizes their wings and wheels. The canticle Te Deum laudamus ("You are God") praises God, saying, "To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory" (BCP, p. 95). Archangels are understood to be messengers of God to humanity in matters of greater significance. The three archangels mentioned in scripture are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Jewish apocryphal writings identify Uriel as one of the four chief archangels. Guardian angels are understood to be appointed by God to watch over and help each person. Angels are commemorated by the Episcopal Church at the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (Sept. 29), and in hymns such as "Ye holy angels bright" (Hymn 625) and "Hark! the herald angels sing" (Hymn 87). 




Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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