St. Raphael the Archangel

Saint Raphael the Archangel
St. Raphael the Archangel and Tobias

St. Raphael the Archangel and Tobias

St. Raphael Biography

Raphael means 'God's healing' or 'God the Healer. The word 'angel' denotes a function rather than a nature. The holy spirits of heaven can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels. God created angels to perform various services for Him. One of those services was to watch over (or guard) human beings. Those angels are called 'guardians'. Belief is that each human is assigned to the protection of one guardian angel at all times but many angels may come to protect or guide one human is it is necessary.

Angels are pure spirits. They are not born therefore they never die. Contrary to popular belief people do not become angels when they die. People must become 'saints' in order to enter into heaven. Belief is that when a person dies and their soul is not worthy of entering heaven the soul is then cleansed in purgatory (something like one bathing and preparing his best before he is granted audience with the kind…in this case with the Lord God Almighty.

St. Raphael the Archangel is one of seven Archangels who stand before the Lord. According to the Old Testament St. Raphael was sent by God to aid, Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah. Tobit was blind and Sarah, Tobiah's betrothed, had already suffered the deaths of seven bridegrooms the night of their weddings (at the hands of a demon serial killer named Asmodeus. Disguised as a man named Azariah, Raphael accompanied Tobiah to Media and through difficulties and taught him how to safely enter marriage with Sarah. (from: Tobias Chap.5-11)

According to the Book of Enoch (10:5-7) Raphael bound Azazel under a desert called Dudael "And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgment he shall be cast into the fire."

Through healing Tobit of blindness and the saving waters at Bethsda, Archangel Raphael's image as 'the healer' becomes evident. He is also patron of the blind, of happy meetings, of nurses, of physicians and of travelers.

The Archangels Michael and Gabriel are mentioned in the New Testament but the only referral to the Archangel Raphael is in John's Gospel of Revelation 5:1-4 at the pool at Bethsda where a multitude lay waiting for an angel of the lord to descend and move the water. The unnamed angel is assumed to be Saint Raphael. All three Archangels share the feast day of Sept. 29th.

According to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) The other angels are named are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel,

According to Islamic scriptures Saint Raphael the Archangel, along with Michael and Gabriel, is believed to have accompanied Muhammad to Mecca. Raphael is said to be responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day by blowing a horn, thus sending out a "Blast of Truth". Unlike Gabriel (Jibrail) and Michael (Mikail) are mentioned by name in the Quran. Raphael is not.


St. Raphael is one of the four named Archangels in scripture (Tobit 3:17). The name means "Healing of God". Tradition holds that Raphael was given the task of restoring the earth after the downfall of Lucifer and his angels. The Archangel is shown hard at work, planting an angelica bush. Behind him are the pottery kilns from Stoke-on-Trent, symbolizing the earth laid waste. Raphael carries an angelic staff and his other attribute, the wayfarer's bag. He is flanked by a Seraph and by Great Martyr George, subduing the dragon.

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