archangel (ärkˈānjəl) [key], chief angel. They are four to seven in number. Sometimes specific functions are ascribed to them. The four best known in Christian tradition are Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. In early Jewish literature archangels are called "angels of the presence."

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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