An archangel ( /ˌɑrkˈeɪndʒəl/) is an angel of high rank. Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Judaism,Christianity and Islam. Michael and Gabriel are recognized as archangels in Judaism and by most Christians. Michael is the only archangel specifically named in the Protestant Bible. The Book of Tobit—recognized in the Catholic and Orthodox versions of the Bible, but considered apocryphal by Protestants—mentions Raphael, who is also considered to be an archangel. The archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are venerated in the Roman Catholic Church with a feast on September 29 (formerly March 24 for Gabriel and 24 October for Raphael). The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Azrael. In Zoroastrianism, sacred texts allude to the six great Amesha Spenta (literally “divine sparks”) of Ahura Mazda. Other traditions have identified a group of seven Archangels, the names of which vary, depending on the source.
The earliest reference to a system of seven archangels as a group appears to be in Enoch I (the Book of Enoch) which is not part of the Jewish Canon, where they are named as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel and Saraqael. While this book today is non-canonical in most Christian Churches, it was explicitly quoted in the New Testament (Letter of Jude 1:14-15) and by many of the early Church Fathers. TheEthiopian Orthodox Church to this day regards it to be canonical.
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