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The word angel means "messenger" and this word expresses the nature of angelic service to the human race. Angels are organized into several orders, or Angelic Choirs. The most influential of these classifications was that put forward by St. Dionysius the Areopagite in the Fourth or Fifth century, in his book The Celestial Hierarchy.

In this work, the author drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16, to construct a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. In descending order of power, these were:


Orthodox Life, Vol. 27, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec., 1977), pp. 39-47.

External Links

The Church's Teaching Concerning Angels

The Celestial Hierarchy by St. Dionysius the Areopagite

The Angels by H.H. Pope Shenouda III (Format: PDF)

First Hierarchy: Seraphim | Cherubim | Thrones
Second Hierarchy: Powers | Dominions | Principalities
Third Hierarchy: Virtues | Archangels | Angels