Raphael (//; Hebrew: רְפָאֵל, translit. Rəp̄āʾēl, lit. 'God has healed'; Ancient Greek: Ραφαήλ, Raphaḗl; Coptic: ⲣⲁⲫⲁⲏⲗ, Rafaêl; Arabic: رافائيل, Rafā’īl, or إسرافيل, Isrāfīl; Amharic: ሩፋኤል, Rufaʾel) is an archangel mentioned in the Book of Tobit and in 1 Enoch, both dating from the last few centuries before Christ. In later Jewish tradition he became identified as one of the three heavenly visitors entertained by Abraham. He is not named in either the Christian New Testament or the Quran, but in later Christian tradition he became identified with healing and as the angel who stirred the waters of the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2-4, while in Islam, where his name is Israfil, he is understood to be the unnamed angel of Quran 6:73 who stands eternally with a trumpet to his lips, ready to announce the Day of Resurrection.
|Archangel, 'Angel of Tobit', Angel of the Trumpet|
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
|Attributes||Archangel holding a bottle or flask; Archangel walking with Tobias; Archangel sounding a trumpet; young man carrying a fish; young man carrying a staff|
|Patronage||Apothecaries; Ordained marriage; blind people; bodily ills; diocese of Madison, WI; druggists; archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; insanity; lovers; mental illness; nightmares; nurses; pharmacists; healing; physicians; shepherds; sick people; travelers; young people; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental, Philippines|
Origins in post-exilic literature
In the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) the word 'מלאך' ('mal'āk̠') means a messenger, human or supernatural, and when used in the latter sense it is translated as "angel". The original mal'ak lacked both individuality and hierarchy, but after the Babylonian exile they were graded into a Babylonian-style hierarchy and the word archangelos, archangel, first appears in the Greek text of 1 Enoch. At the same time the angels and archangels began to be given names, as attested in the Talmudic statement that "the names of the angels were brought by the Jews from Babylonia".
Raphael first appears in two works of this period, 1 Enoch, a collection of originally independent texts from the 3rd century BCE, and the Book of Tobit, from the early 2nd century BCE. In the oldest stratum of 1 Enoch (1 Enoch 9:1) he is one of the four named archangels, and in Tobit 12:11-15 he is one of seven.
His name derives from a Hebrew root meaning "to heal", and can be translated as "God healed". In Tobit he is both one who acts as a physician and expels demons, using an extraordinary fish to bind the demon Asmodeus) and to heal Tobit's eyes; in 1 Enoch he is "set over all disease and every wound of the children of the people", and binds the armies of Azazel and throws them into the valley of fire.
In later Judaism
According to the Babylonian Talmud, Raphael was one of the three angels who appeared to Abraham in the oak grove of Mamre in the region of Hebron. (Gen. xviii; Bava Metzia 86b); Michael, as the greatest, walked in the middle, with Gabriel to his right and Raphael to his left (Yoma 37a). Each was commanded to carry out a specific mission, Gabriel to destroy Sodom, Michael to inform Sarah that she would give birth to Isaac, Raphael to heal Abraham from his recent circumcision and save Lot. Rashi writes, "Although Raphael's mission included two tasks, they were considered a single mission since they were both acts that saved people." The Life of Adam and Eve lists him with the archangels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel, and the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides included his name in his Jewish angelic hierarchy.
The New Testament names only two archangels or angels, Michael and Gabriel (Luke 1:9–26; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7), but Raphael, because of his association with healing, became identified with the unnamed angel of John 5:1–4 who periodically stirred the pool of Bethesda "[a]nd he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under". The Catholic church accordingly links Raphael with Michael and Gabriel as saints whose intercession can be sought through prayer.
Protestant denominations in general do not accept Raphael, but the name is widely recognized in church tradition as a result of Protestantism's origins in Catholic Christianity.
Due to his actions in the Book of Tobit and the Gospel of John, Saint Raphael is accounted patron of travelers, the blind, happy meetings, nurses, physicians, medical workers, matchmakers, Christian marriage, and Catholic studies. As a particular enemy of the devil, he was revered in Catholic Europe as a special protector of sailors: on a corner of Venice's famous Doge's Palace, there is a relief depicting Raphael holding a scroll on which is written: "Efficia fretum quietum" (Keep the Gulf quiet). On July 8, 1497, when Vasco Da Gama set forth from Lisbon with his four ship fleet to sail to India, the flagship was named—at the King of Portugal's insistence—the St. Raphael. When the flotilla reached the Cape of Good Hope on October 22, the sailors disembarked and erected a column in the archangel's honor. The little statue of St. Raphael that accompanied Da Gama on the voyage is now in the Naval Museum in Lisbon.
Raphael is said to guard pilgrims on their journeys, and is often depicted holding a staff. He is also often depicted holding or standing on a fish, which alludes to his healing of Tobit with the fish's gall. Early mosaics often show him and the other archangels in the clothing of a Byzantine courtier.
The feast day of Raphael was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in 1921, for celebration on October 24. With the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the feast was transferred to September 29 for celebration together with archangels Saints Michael and Gabriel. Due to Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, the Catholic Church permits, within certain limits for public use, the General Roman Calendar of 1960, which has October 24 as Raphael's feast day.
The Archangel Raphael is said to have appeared in Cordova, Spain, during the 16th century; in response to the city's appeal, Pope Innocent X allowed the local celebration of a feast in the Archangel's honor on May 7, the date of the principal apparition. Saint John of God, founder of the Hospital order that bears his name, is also said to have received visitations from Saint Raphael, who encouraged and instructed him. In tribute to this, many of the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God's facilities are called “Raphael Centers” to this day. The 18th century Neapolitan nun, Saint Maria Francesca of the Five Wounds is also said to have seen apparitions of Raphael.
Raphael (Arabic: إسرافيل, romanized: Isrāfīl, alternate spellings: Israfel, Esrafil) is a venerated archangel according to Islamic tradition. In Islamic eschatology, Israfil will blow the trumpet from a holy rock in Jerusalem to announce the Day of Resurrection (Yawm al-Qiyāmah). The trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders.
The name "Israfil" (or "Israfel", "Esrafil") is not specifically written in the Quran, although there is mention of an unnamed trumpet-angel assumed to identify this figure:
"And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except him whom Allah will; then it shall be blown again, then they shall stand up awaiting." — Qur'an (39.68).
Certain Islamic sources indicate that, created at the beginning of time, Israfil possesses four wings, and is so tall as to be able to reach from the earth to the pillars of heaven. A beautiful angel who is a master of music, Israfil sings praises to God in a thousand different languages, the breath of which is used to inject life into hosts of angels who add to the songs themselves. Further he is probably the highest angel, since he also mediates between God and the other archangels, reading on the Preserved Tablet (al-lawh al-mahfooz) to transmit the commands of God. Although disputed, some reports assert, he visited Muhammad prior to the archangel Gabriel.
According to Sufi traditions reported by Imam al-Suyuti, the Ghawth or Qutb ('perfect human being'), is someone who has a heart that resembles that of the archangel Israfil, signifying the loftiness of this angel. The next in rank are the saints who are known as the Umdah or Awtad, amongst whom the highest ones have their hearts resembling that of archangel Mikhail (archangel Michael), and the rest of the lower ranking saints having the heart of Jibrail (archangel Gabriel), and that of the previous prophets before the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The earth is believed to always have one of the Qutb.
Places named for Raphael
The following places have been named in honor of Raphael:
Saint Raphaël, France; Saint Raphaël, Quebec, Canada; and San Rafaels in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, and the Philippines; also San Rafael de El Moján and San Rafael de Orituco in Venezuela.
- In the United States, San Rafaels inherited from Spain survive in California (where besides the city there are the San Rafael Mountains)
- New Mexico, and Utah, where the San Rafael River flows seasonally in the San Rafael Desert.
- St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin
- St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Dubuque
- Mission San Rafael Arcángel in San Rafael, California.
- St. Raphael's Church, Huccaby, Hexworthy, Dartmoor National Park, Devon, England
- San Rafael, Vecindario, Santa Lucia de Tirajana Gran Canaria
In popular culture
Raphael, along with many other prominent angels, appears in John Milton's Paradise Lost, in which he is assigned by God to re-warn Adam concerning the sin of eating of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He also expounds to Adam the War in Heaven in which Lucifer and the demons fell, and the creation of the Earth.
In Joseph Haydn's Creation, Raphael (bass) is one of the three angelic narrators, along with Gabriel (soprano) and Uriel (tenor).
He also appears as "Rafael" in the role-playing game Anima Beyond Fantasy as one of the seven Beryls (god-like spirits of light, all but one having taken female gender). She is identified by the humans with the archangel of the same name and incarnates life and nature.
Characters associated with Angelic figures, at least by borrowing the names, also feature in the video game industry, as an example there is the title: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
Raphael features as one of the four archangels in the TV series Supernatural.
In season 2 of the TV series Criminal Minds the archangel Raphael is brought up as being one of Tobias Hankel's personalities.
In the Yogscast Youtube series, Shadow of Israphel, the main antagonist and titular character derives his namesake from that of St. Raphael.
- List of angels in theology
- Angels in Judaism
- Feast of Saint Raphael, Ollur
- Saint Raphael, patron saint archive
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- Media related to Archangel Raphael at Wikimedia Commons