By Elena Pietrini-Sánchez, 2021.
watercolour study on Bristol archival paper
21 x 29 cm
ARCHANGELThe word archangel comes from the Greek words arche (prince) and angelos (messenger).Archangel Michael, whose name means "Who is like God?" (a rhetorical question), pertains to the highest level of the hierarchy of angels, and thus considered a seraph.
- Stravinskas, Peter M. J., OSV's Catholic Encyclopedia, OSV Publishing, 1998 ISBN 0-87973-669-0 page 100
The Greek theologian Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in his book Celestial Hierarchy -drew upon the Book of Isaiah- the fiery nature of seraphim in the medieval imagination.
Taking his cue as well from writings in the Rabbinic tradition, Dionysius gave an etymology for the Seraphim as "the fiery, those who kindle or the burning ones".
"by the unhidden, changeless, radiant and enlightening power, they dispel and destroy the shadows of darkness".
In Kabbalah, Sephirah is a Divine emanation. The seraphim are the higher angels of the "Creation", their continual "burning up" is a self-nullification. Through this they ascend to God, and return to their origin.
Saint Michael is the commander of the Celestial Militia, the traditional prototype of the spiritual warrior. The image of Michael overcoming the Dragon has become archetypal as a symbol of light defeating darkness. [There is a prayer to Saint Michael which is included in the Rite of Exorcism in the Roman Ritual].
In the Book of Revelation (12:7–9)
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels [going forth] to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels;
8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.
Saint Michael is one of the angels present at the hour of death. He gives each soul the chance to redeem itself before passing, weighing the souls in his scales.
Traditionally, he assists the dying and accompanies them to their particular judgment, where he serves as an advocate.
As a Psychopomps (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός, psychopompós, literally meaning the 'guide of souls'), he carries the souls of all the deceased to the Afterlife.