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Hierarchy Of Angels- From The Most Powerful To The Lowest Ranking Angels

opera.comFeb 12, 2020 8:37 AM

Hierarchy of angels.

In every religion that is rooted in the belief of an unseen God, there is a concept of angels. Angels are known to be messengers and agents of God. 

The belief in angels is mostly seen in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. However, Christianity and Judaism are more deeply rooted in the belief of angels, as angels were mentioned in the Torah and in the Bible beyond counts. Islam also spoke of the existence of angels, such as the angel that brought the message to the prophet Muhammad. 

The belief in the existence of angels is a broad one, so broad, that it went ahead to class angels. The classing of angels into spheres and into several orders or ”Angelic choirs” is based on the belief that some angels are more powerful than others and they, therefore, should be grouped into orders of the angelic hierarchy. 

The most influential Christian angelic hierarchy was that put forward by pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the 4th or 5th century in his book ”De ceolesti hierarchical (On the Celestial Hierarchy). 

Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas drew on passages from the New testaments specifically in Galatians 3:26-28, Matthew 22:24-33, Ephesians 1:21-23, and Colossians 1:16, to develop a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. 

Although both authors drew on the New Testament, the Biblical canon is unclear on the subject, and these hierarchies are considered less definitive than biblical material.

As referred to in the theological doctrine of the communion of saints, in Paradise there is a common and unique vision of the truth and contemplation of the face of God without any kind of difference between angels or human souls. 

The Summa Theologiaestates that there exist different degrees with respect to the creation, about the power of intercession to God and of direct entrustment in human lives.

The first sphere of angels is the highest-ranking angels, they serve by the throne of God. They are regarded as the most powerful and the closest to the throne of God. The first sphere is however divided into three. 

In order of ranks;

The seraphim,

The cherubim,

The Thrones.


The seraphim are literarily regarded as the burning ones. They are six-winged beings with two wings covering their face and two covering their legs and the other two, they use to fly. The seraphs are the highest angelic class and they serve as caretakers of God’s throne. They are known to sing praises to God continuously singing ”holy, holy, holy, is the lord of host” 


The cherubim are known to have four faces, one of a lion, an ox, an eagle and of a man. They are described to have conjoined wings covered with eyes. Cherubims guard the way to the tree of life in the garden of Eden and the throne of God. 

The thrones;

The thrones are seen as a symbol of Gods justice and authority. Though the thrones are sometimes associated with the ophanims or Erelims in the Jewish angelic hierarchy. The ophanims are described by Daniel to be wheels. They are unlike other celestial beings as they are said to be moved by the spirit of other beings. 

Christian theologians that include the Thrones as one of the choirs do not describe them as wheels, describing them as adoring elder men who listen to the will of God and present the prayers of men. The twenty four elders in the book of Revelation are usually thought to be part of this group of angels.

The second sphere contains angels who are regarded to be powerful but not as powerful as the angels in the first sphere. They work as heavenly governors of the creation by subjecting matter and guiding and ruling spirits;

Dominions or lordship,

Virtues or strongholds,

Power or virtues.

Dominions or lordship;

The dominions are known to control and regulate the duties of lower angels. Only in very rare cases do they make themselves known to humans. They are described to be angels who look like beautiful humans with a pair of wings. They carry scepters with orbs attached to the top or on the pommel of their swords, this distinguishes them from other angels.

Virtues or strongholds;

These angels are known to perform signs and wonders in the world. It is through this angels that miracles are made in the world. 

“The name of the holy Virtues signifies a certain powerful and unshakable virility welling forth into all their Godlike energies; not being weak and feeble for any reception of the divine Illuminations granted to it; mounting upwards in fullness of power to an assimilation with God; never falling away from the Divine Life through its own weakness, but ascending unwaveringly to the superessential Virtue which is the Source of virtue: fashioning itself, as far as it may, in virtue; perfectly turned towards the Source of virtue, and flowing forth providentially to those below it, abundantly filling them with virtue.” (from the coelesti Hierarchia).


The powers or authorities, supervise the movement of heavenly bodies in order to maintain order.  As warrior angels, they are often described to have both offensive and defensive weapons. They are also known to fight evil spirits and cast them into detention. 

The third sphere are angels who simply function as heavenly guides and guardians, protectors and messengers to humans. 

The third sphere contains the;

Principalities or rulers,



Principalities or rulers;

The principalities are angels who guard and protect nations or group of people such as the church. They preside over the band of angels and charge them to fulfill orders given by the upper spheres. They are said to wear crowns and carry scepters. They are the educators and guardians of the realm of earth. Like beings related to the world of the germinal ideas, they are said to inspire living things to many things such as art or science. 


The word archangel is derived from the Greek word ”archangelos” which translated to ”chief angel.  

The word archangel was mentioned twice in the new testament, and it was used to refer to Michael and Gabriel. Although, the name Raphael appeared in the Book of Tobit (Tobias). Raphael revealed to Tobias that he is one of the seven who stand before the lord”. This therefore mean, that there are seven arch angels in which Michael and Gabriel are a part of. 

The name Uriel was also mentioned in the Apocryphon which is read by Anglican and Russian Orthodox Christians. The name Uriel which literally means ”Light of God”  unveiled seven prophecies to Ezra. He was also mentioned in the book of Enoch. It is a pity that these books were removed from the Bible. 

The seven archangels are said to be guardians or nations and countries and are concerned with issues such as, Politics, commerce, and military matters. Although Michael is also depicted to be a warrior angel. 


”Malakhim”, the plain angels are the lowest order of celestial beings and are the most recognized. They are the ones most concerned with the affairs of men. Within the category of the angels, there are many different kinds, with different functions. The angels are sent as messengers to humanity. Personal guardian angels come from this class.

The personal guardian angels are not separate entities, rather they are categorized under the ”Angels”. They are known to be assigned to human beings whether a Christian or not. 

Since they are closer to humans, it is then reasonable to assume that they can be spoken to. However to learn more on how to talk or speak to one’s guardian angel, click the link below;

Sourced from;

The ceolesti hierarchy by pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.


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  1. Thanks a lot Samuel for this great article. It’s really amazing how much research you did and how much effort you’ve put together to create such nice, informative content. I hope you’re gonna like our article about angel’s rankings. Thanks buddy. Hope we’ll keep getting such nice articles in future.

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