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7 types of angels
Question from on 07-09-2007:
I'm a first grade CCD teacher & I would like to introduce my students to the type of angels, their names and what they do. Thank you for your help. Kathy Norcia
Answer by Matthew Bunson on 07-21-2007:
There is considerable variety among different angelologists as to the specific ordering of the hierarchy or choirs of Angels. The Old Testament mentions only two orders, angels and archangels. St. Jerome, meanwhile, had seven orders; St. Ambrose had nine. The most influential Christian writer in the early determination of the choirs was Dionysius the Areopagite in the 6th century. In his work, the Celestial Hierarchy, he proposed that there are nine choirs: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels. He was subsequently supported by St. Thomas Aquinas who argued further that not only are there nine choirs of angels but that they are divided into three triads, each possessing three choirs and having specific purposes.
The first triad holds the seraphim, cherubim, and thrones, with the object of contemplating the perfection and glory of God. The second triad is made up of dominations, virtues, and powers, and is concerned with the plurality of universal causes, that is they are concerned with the ordering of the Universe (hence they are termed angels of creation). The third triad holds the principalities, archangels, and angels, with the function of ordering specific causes, meaning that they are taken up with the most minute ordering of the universe. One of their chief functions is to care for the welfare of humanity.
Angels cannot become human because they are purely spiritual beings with intelligence and free will. That means they have no bodies and do not depend upon matter for their existence. Humans, on the other hand, are composed of a material body that dies and a spiritual soul that is immortal. Angels are God’s messengers and servants. Humans were created in the image and likeness of God to praise, reverence, and serve him in this life and attain eternal life. While we are different from angels, that does not mean we cannot remember that angels are our friends, helpers, and supporters, most so the guardian angels.
Thank you for your questions, and I hope that your students are helped.