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  #1  
Old Jan 23, '07, 7:41 pm
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MarcoPolo MarcoPolo is offline
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Default What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

I've read that Scripture names 9 "choirs of angels" and have often heard this term. They are: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Virtues, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Apparently Seraphim have the highest "rank" and Angels the lowest. I have many questions!

But what are the different gifts of each choir? Do they have different duties? Or are these nine levels just the labels for how "close" they are to God? Does this reflect levels of eternal attainment for us as well? I thought St. Michael was the prince of the angels, so why is he only "Archangel"?

Any references or links to an extensive answer appreciated!!
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  #2  
Old Jan 23, '07, 7:50 pm
Resurrexit Resurrexit is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
I thought St. Michael was the prince of the angels, so why is he only "Archangel"?
That's what I always wondered. Here's some info on the 9 choirs though.
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  #3  
Old Jan 23, '07, 8:03 pm
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Hello,

The angels are also classed into three tiers with three choirs each. The differentiation is mostly, as far as I know, in what manner they operate. The highest choirs - Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones - are mostly contemplative in that they attend God's throne continuosly singing praise. The lowest levels most directly relate with man. The Archangels are the second lowest choir.

Saint Michael is a very special angel. He is an Archangel, a mighty Seraph, Prince of the Heavenly Host, one of the seven constantly standing before the throne of God. Some believe it this way - that Michael was created an Archangel. When Satan rebelled and Michael rose up against him, God elevated his nature to that of the Seraphim and granted him stewardship of His household. But, that is just one theory.

For more information on the roles of the choirs, view this link.
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  #4  
Old Jan 23, '07, 8:31 pm
Resurrexit Resurrexit is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ_coder View Post
Some believe it this way - that Michael was created an Archangel. When Satan rebelled and Michael rose up against him, God elevated his nature to that of the Seraphim and granted him stewardship of His household. But, that is just one theory.
But why in the St. Michael prayer do we call him 'Archangel' then 'Prince of the Heavenly Host', when he is no longer an Archangel but a Seraphim?
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  #5  
Old Jan 23, '07, 8:41 pm
JMJ_coder JMJ_coder is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Hello,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resurrexit View Post
But why in the St. Michael prayer do we call him 'Archangel' then 'Prince of the Heavenly Host', when he is no longer an Archangel but a Seraphim?
He is both. He still performs his archangelic duties - especially when defending us from Satan (Daniel 10:13ff;12:1ff, Jude 9, Revelation 12:7-9). But he is also in command of all the legions of Angels. And he stands before the throne of God.
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  #6  
Old Jan 23, '07, 9:00 pm
Resurrexit Resurrexit is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ_coder View Post
He is both. He still performs his archangelic duties - especially when defending us from Satan (Daniel 10:13ff;12:1ff, Jude 9, Revelation 12:7-9). But he is also in command of all the legions of Angels. And he stands before the throne of God.
That would make a lot of sense. Thanks.
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  #7  
Old Jan 23, '07, 9:02 pm
Caesar Caesar is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Ah yes, this has always confused me. Why do we call St. Michael an Archangel when he is really a Seraphim?

Now I understand
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  #8  
Old Jan 24, '07, 1:45 am
twf twf is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Well personally I think in the case of Michael the term "archangel" is meant literally, as in "chief angel". He is one of the chief princes as the book of Daniel says. In Greek they just used the term archangel, or chief angel.
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  #9  
Old Jan 24, '07, 8:24 am
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MarcoPolo MarcoPolo is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJ_coder View Post
Saint Michael is a very special angel. He is an Archangel, a mighty Seraph, Prince of the Heavenly Host, one of the seven constantly standing before the throne of God. Some believe it this way - that Michael was created an Archangel. When Satan rebelled and Michael rose up against him, God elevated his nature to that of the Seraphim and granted him stewardship of His household. But, that is just one theory.
.
What are other theories? Is there a reference to the history of the theory quoted here?
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  #10  
Old Jan 24, '07, 8:42 am
wcknight wcknight is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

I thought it might be their singing voices... the higher choirs sing better so they get to be closer to God.... the lower choir sings worse so they are further away....

If Heaven were so layered, I may be the furthest away or not in at all, my voice sounds like a toad with a bad case of laryngitis.
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  #11  
Old Jan 24, '07, 9:29 am
Karin Karin is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
THE 9 CHOIRS OF ANGELS
In ascending order:
Angels
Archangels
Principalities
Powers
Virtues
Dominations
Thrones
Cherubim
Seraphim

Note: The Choir of Angels is divided into three triads with specific concerns:
The 1st triad:


Angels, Archangels, and Principalities: concern themselves with the minute ordering of the universe and specific causes, including the welfare of people. Each human being, each church, and each country has a Guardian Angel. The Feast of the Guardian Angels is October 2.
The 2nd triad:




Powers, Virtues and Dominations: known as the "angels of creation" because they concern themselves with the ordering of the universe and a plurality of causes.
The 3rd triad:


Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim: concern themselves with contemplating the glory of God. It is the 6-winged Seraphim who sing the Sanctus, "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts" (Isaias 6:3).

Angels (the word means "Messengers") are pure spirits, created before man, who were given one choice at the beginning of Creation: the Kingdom of God -- or the Absence of God, which is the Kingdom of Satan, the first Angel who rebelled.

There are 7 Archangels (Tobias 12:15). We know the names of 3 of them from Scripture:

Michael (Daniel, Epistle of St. Jude, Apocalypse of St. John), whose name means "Who is like God" and whose Feast is September 29;
Gabriel (Daniel and Luke), whose name means "Strength of God" and whose Feast is March 24; and
Raphael (Tobias), whose name means "Medicine of God" and whose Feast is October 24.

The apocryphal Book of Enoch lists the other 4 as:
Uriel;
Raguel;
Sariel; and
Jeramiel.
SOURCE
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  #12  
Old Jan 24, '07, 11:36 pm
Spirithound Spirithound is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Resurrexit View Post
That's what I always wondered. Here's some info on the 9 choirs though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoPolo View Post
What are other theories? Is there a reference to the history of the theory quoted here?
The theory that I have been working with is that the different choirs are not mutually exclusive. I don't have any references, or any idea if someone more holy than me held that theory, but i'd be interested to know

A note of caution to all on this thread. Angels are "in vogue" right now, and so there is a plethora of information about them, online and at the bookstore. Most of this is new-age astrological garbage. Even the Wiki-article above has a rather low percentage of approved Church teaching. Every Tom, Dick, and Madame Clara feels qualified to publish a book about angels and make a quick buck. I strongly recommend, if you truly feel called to learn more about angels, visit a Catholic bookstore, or research the author/pick an author you know to be orthodox at the secular bookstore. Peter Kreeft and Joan Caroll Cruz are good, knowledgeable, careful authors, I have Kreeft's "Angels and Demons", I don't have Cruz's angel-related books, but 2 others of hers, and I was quite edified and informed by them. Tan and the Daughters of St. Paul have published novel-ish-length books and novena booklets, and are very good publishers.
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  #13  
Old Jan 25, '07, 11:34 am
Jason Hurd Jason Hurd is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

There is an excellent book entitled 'St. Michael and the Angels' available from Tan Publishing Co. There is no imprimatur or Nihil Obstat, but the cover and title page state that it has been 'compiled from approved sources', and I trust Tan; my other purchases from them have all been trustworthy. This book is quite detailed and specific about the duties and characteristics of each of the nine choirs.
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  #14  
Old Jan 26, '07, 11:55 pm
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fin fin is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

interesting thread.
my complaint is that nomenclature is confusing; we use the word 'angel', which refers to all 9 choirs of angels
...but the lowest choir are also called 'angels'.

i hope therell be a clearer terminology.
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  #15  
Old Jan 29, '07, 5:42 pm
Jason Hurd Jason Hurd is offline
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Default Re: What differentiates the 9 Choirs of Angels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fin View Post
interesting thread.
my complaint is that nomenclature is confusing; we use the word 'angel', which refers to all 9 choirs of angels
...but the lowest choir are also called 'angels'.

i hope therell be a clearer terminology.
The problem is one of context. Since most of the names of the other choirs have more than one meaning, for example 'virtues' or 'dominations' or 'principalities', it would soon get very unwieldy as a discussion as we would constantly have to restate what we were talking about. Perhaps a numerical order, with one being the highest(seraphim)and nine the lowest(angels)would be more practical for the sake of the discussion.
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