Archangel Gabriel

Information Pictures and Links regarding Archangel Gabriel

Archangel Gabriel has a remarkable position as one of the few cultural figures who plays an important role in more than one major religion. He is refered to in the Old Testament as appearing to Daniel. In Christian tradition he appears to the Virgin and to Zachariah. In Islamic tradition he is renowned for dictating the Holy Koran to the Prophet Mohammed.

The frequent references to Gabrial in literature and Art mean more than any other Gabriel defines most people's idea of what an angel is. In particular the potent image of Angel Gabriel announcing the impending birth of the Messiah to Mary has inspired generations of artists in the process creating one of the most iconic images of Western culture.

This blog collects together a collection of links and information about the references to Archagel Gabriel through the centuries.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Saint Gabriel Archangel

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Archangel Gabriel

The Jews venerated Gabriel as the angel of judgment, and in both Jewish and Christian tradition he is one of the seven archangels. Gabriel is also known to Moslems, who believe him to be the angel who served as the mouthpiece of God in dictating the Koran to Mohammed.

Mention of St Gabriel occurs four times in the Scriptures:

  • He first appears to Daniel in the guise of a man and proceeds to interpret a vision Daniel has had of a ram with two horns, which is overcome by a he-goat. Gabriel explains that the ram is the empire of the Medes and the Persians which will be destroyed by the he-goat, the king of the Greeks (Alexander the Great). This vision came to Daniel in the year 554 BC, while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylonia. The prophecy was fulfilled nearly 200 years later.
  • The angel Gabriel again appears to Daniel to foretell the coming of the Messiah and the destruction of Jerusalem and its sanctuary.
  • The next appearance of Gabriel is recorded in Luke 1:11-20, where he predicts to the priest Zachariah as he is burning incense at the altar in the temple that his wife is to bear a son whose name shall be John.
  • The final mention of Gabriel is found a little later in the same chapter of St Luke's Gospel, where he goes to the Blessed Virgin Mary with the tidings that she is to be the Mother of the Messiah. Thus we see that Gabriel comes as the bearer of good tidings and as the comforter and helper of men.

In Milton's Paradise Lost, (book iv), Gabriel is placed at the eastern gate of Paradise as chief of the angelic guards.

Christian tradition holds that Gabriel is the unnamed angel who spoke to St Joseph and proclaimed the birth of Christ to the Shepherds. He is also believed to be the angel who comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. A fresco of this angel figures prominently in a chapel on the Via Appia, indicating that he was honoured very early in the history of the Church. The Hebrew word from which Gabriel is derived means "hero of God".

Saint Gabriel's feast day used to be 24 March, the day before the feast of the Annunciation. However, following the revision of the Calendar following Vatican II, he now shares a feast day with St Michael and St Raphael on 29 September.