Archangels Michael, Gabriel and
Angels—messengers from God—appear frequently in Scripture, but only Michael,
Gabriel and Raphael are named.
Michael appears in Daniel´s vision as "the great prince" who
defends Israel against its enemies; in the Book of Revelation, he leads God´s armies to final
victory over the forces of evil. Devotion to Michael is the oldest angelic devotion, rising in the
East in the fourth century. The Church in the West began to observe a feast honoring Michael and the
angels in the fifth century.
Gabriel also makes an appearance in Daniel´s visions, announcing
Michael´s role in God´s plan. His best-known appearance is an encounter with a young Jewish girl
named Mary, who consents to bear the Messiah.
Raphael´s activity is confined to the Old
Testament story of Tobit. There he appears to guide Tobit´s son Tobiah through a series of fantastic
adventures which lead to a threefold happy ending: Tobiah´s marriage to Sarah, the healing of
Tobit´s blindness and the restoration of the family fortune.
The memorials of Gabriel (March
24) and Raphael (October 24) were added to the Roman calendar in 1921. The 1970 revision of the
calendar joined their feasts to Michael´s.
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