The concept of Seven Archangels is found in some works of early Jewish literature.

The term archangel itself is not found in the Hebrew Bible or the Christian Old Testament, and in the Greek New Testament the term archangel only occurs in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and the Epistle of Jude 1:9, where it is used of Michael, who in Daniel 10:12 is called ‘one of the chief princes,’ and ‘the great prince’. In the Septuagint this is rendered “the great angel.

The idea of seven archangels is most explicitly stated in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit when Raphael reveals himself, declaring: “I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand in the glorious presence of the Lord, ready to serve him.” (Tobit 12:15) The other two angels mentioned by name in the Bible are archangel Michael and angel Gabriel. The four names of other archangels come from tradition.

One such tradition of archangels comes from the Old Testament biblical apocrypha, the third century BCE Book of the Watchers, known as 1 Enoch or the Book of Enoch, eventually merged into the Enochic Pentateuch. This narrative is affiliated with the Book of Giants, which also references the great archangels and was made part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church’s scriptural canon. Although prevalent in Jewish and early Christian apostolic traditions and the early Christian Fathers, the Book of Enoch gradually fell from academic and religious status, and by the seventh century was rejected from the canonical scriptures of all other Christian denominations, a banned and unknown work. The various surviving oral traditions recounted many differing lists of archangels.

The names entered Jewish tradition during the Babylonian captivity (605 BCE). Babylonian folklore and cosmology, an early Mesopotamian belief under the dualistic influence of Zoroastrianism, cantered around anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations of stars, planets, and constellations, including the four sons of the Sky Father carrying the Winged Sun, the throne of Wisdom. First the prophet Daniel, then authors such as Ezekiel herbarized this mythology, equating the Babylonian constellations with abstract forms held to be “sons of the gods”, angels of the Lord of Israel, and heavenly animal cherubim. The 2 BC Book of the Parables (Ch XL) names the four angels accompanying the Ancient of Days, standing before the Lord of Spirits, “the voices of those upon the four sides magnifying the Lord of Glory”: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, and Phanuel.


The Book of the Watchers (Ch IX) lists the angels who in antediluvian times interceded on behalf of mankind against the rogue spirits termed “the Watchers”: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel.

The earliest specific Christian references are in the late 5th to early 6th century: Pseudo-Dionysius gives them as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Camael, Jophiel, and Zadkiel. In most Protestant Christian oral traditions only Michael and Gabriel are referred to as “archangels”, which echoes the most mainstream Muslim view, whereas Roman-Rite Catholic Christian traditions also include Raphael to complete a group of three. Through its Byzantine tradition, however, the Catholic Church recognizes seven archangels altogether, sometimes named, sometimes unnamed other than the three mentioned above.

Lists of characters referred to as “angels” also exist in smaller religious traditions usually regarded as occultist or superstitious. A reference to seven archangels appeared in an 8th or 9th-century talisman attributed to Auriolus, a “servant of God” in north-western Spain. He issues a prayer to “all you patriarchs Michael, Gabriel, Cecitiel, Uriel, Raphael, Ananiel, Marmoniel

In the Catholic Church, three archangels are mentioned by name in its canon of scripture: Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Raphael appears in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, where he is described as “one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the lord of spirits”, a phrase recalled in Revelation 8:2–6.

Some strands of the Eastern Orthodox Church, exemplified in the Orthodox Slavonic Bible (Ostrog Bible, Elizabeth Bible, and later consequently Russian Synodal Bible), recognize as authoritative also 2 Esdras, which mentions Uriel. The Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches of the Byzantine tradition venerate seven archangels and sometimes an eighth. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel (Salathiel), Jegudiel (Jehudiel), Barachiel, and the eighth, Jerahmeel (Jeremiel) (The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Feast Day: November 8).

As well as Uriel, the Book of Enoch, not regarded as canonical by any of these Christian churches, mentions (chapter 20) Raguel, Saraqâêl, and Remiel, while other apocryphal sources give instead the names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel.

In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition the seven Archangels are named as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Phanuel, and Sachiel. In the Coptic Orthodox tradition, the seven archangels are named as Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Suriel, Zadkiel, Sarathiel, and Ananiel.

In Anglican and Episcopal tradition, there are three or four archangels in the calendar for September 29, the feast of St Michael and All Angels (also called Michaelmas), namely Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, and often also Uriel.