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.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Byzantine Iconography

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Archangel Gabriel Orthodox Icon,
Byzantine Iconography

Hand-painted icon by Svetlana Novko©

Egg tempera, 23 Carat gold, natural pigments on woodboard
W14 x H22"
350 x 560 mm

Archangel Gabriel in Scriptures and Holy Tradition, by St. Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich

"The Holy Fathers think that Gabriel has pre-eminence in the first and greatest order of heavenly powers, that is, the Seraphic Order, since the Seraphims stand closest to God. He is, therefore, one of the seven Seraphims, closest to God. The names of the seven are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Salathiel, Jegudiel, Barachiel. To this number some even add Jeremiel. Each one has their own particular service and all are equal in honor. Why did God not send Michael? Because Michael's service is to suppress the enemies of the Faith of God while Gabriel's is the mission of announcing the salvation of mankind."

Gabriel is the announcer of the Incarnation of the Son of God. He is one of the seven archangels who stand before the Throne of God. He appeared to Zacharias about the birth of the Forerunner. Gabriel said of himself: "I am Gabriel, who stands before God" (St. Luke 1:19). His name Gabriel means "Man - God." The Holy Fathers, in speaking about the Annunciation, interpret that an archangel with such a name was sent to signify who and what He would be like, who must be born of the All-Pure One. Therefore, He will be Man-God, mighty and powerful God. Some of the Fathers understood that this same Gabriel appeared to Joachim and Anna concerning the birth of the Virgin Mary and that Gabriel instructed Moses in the wilderness to write the Book of Genesis.

This great archangel of God is commemorated on March 26th. On this day his appearances and marvels through the whole history of the salvation of mankind are commemorated. It is reckoned that this observance was first instituted on the Holy Mountain in 982, during the patriarchate of Nicolas Chrysoverges (979-91), and was occasioned by the Archangel's appearing in a cell near Karyes, where, with his finger, he wrote the hymn to the Mother of God: "It is meet ... ". As a result of this occurrence, the cell was named, and is called to this day, "It is meet ..."

Linked with this, other appearances of the Archangel Gabriel are commemorated, such as his appearing to Moses when he was keeping Jethro's flocks, when he revealed to this great man, chosen by God, how the world was created and all the rest that Moses later wrote down in the Book of Genesis; his appearing to Daniel and the imparting of the mystery of the kingdoms to come and the coming of the Saviour; his appearing to St. Anna and the promise of a daughter, the most blessed and pure Virgin Mary; his very brief appearing to the holy Virgin while she was living in the Temple in Jerusalem; his appearing to Zacharias the high priest and the news of the birth of John the Forerunner, and the punishing of the same with dumbness because he did not believe the angel's words; his appearing once again to the holy Virgin in Nazareth, and the annunciation of the conception and birth of the Lord Jesus Christ; his appearing to righteous Joseph, to the shepherds near Bethlehem, to the Lord Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane when he strengthened the Lord, as man, before His Passion; his appearing to the myrrh-bearing women, and his other appearances.
Ohrid Prologue

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