The (Christian) hierarchy of angels, it’s just something of interest.
In the past there was a fair amount of discussion about the names, functions, roles and rankings of angelic beings within the Church, as they are often alluded to and indeed occasionally play principal parts in various stories throughout the Old and New Testament. It is the angel Gabriel (with wings as sleeted snow and eyes of flame, by the way) who first delivers news of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus in the NT, as well as putting in an appearance earlier in the OT. Much of the theological work in this area was undertaken in the 4th and 5th centuries, along with some revisions and developments in the middle ages. The hierarch presented below is what can be seen to be most commonly agreed upon, with three spheres each divided into three orders.I have given the other relevant names for each being, where appropriate, after the more common used ones.
First Sphere (or Epiphania):
Seraphim – the burning ones, the six-winged keepers of God’s throne, who continuously shout praises, and cannot be looked upon even by other angels.
Cherubim – not the same thing as Cherubs, or what is mistakenly commonly referred to as Cherubim, they have four faces (ox, eagle, lion and man), ox’s feet and four wings covered in eyes. Not so pretty.
Thrones/Ophanim – appear as wheels within wheels, the rims all covered with eyes. Quite awesome, really.
Second Sphere (or Hyperphania):
Dominions/Lordships – appear as the common perception of angels, like beautiful winged humans, they are largely in charge of the actions of the lower angelic beings.
Virtues/Strongholds- in charge of the movements of the heavenly bodies and keeping the cosmos in order.
Powers/Authorities – the warriors of God, who control the division of power amongst humans and act as bearers of conscience and history.
Third Sphere (or Hypophania):
Principalities/Rulers – the educators and guardians of earth, said to inspire advances in art and science, depicted with crown and sceptre.
Archangels – usually the uppercase ‘A’ denotes an incredibly high-ranking angel (think Michael), where the lowercase is for this class, those slightly above regular angels, concerned with nations.
Angels – the most commonly recognised type, with the most interaction with human beings, often serving as messengers.
The title of this post, in case you were wondering, comes from Earth’s third and quite brilliant album Phase 3: Thrones and Dominions, which has possibly the coolest packaging ever. It’s a very good album.
The fiery red Torino rolled to the curb, we hit the pavement ready for action.