MICHAEL is the most powerful and warlike angel, famous as the leader of Heaven’s armies in the war against Satan. He is the Viceroy of Heaven and has the secret mystery name ‘Sabbathiel’.On the day of the Last Judgement, he is also the angel who will weigh all human souls in his scales.
GABRIEL is the Angel of Truth and Revelation, who dictated the Koran to Muhammad. As the Angel of Annunciation, he announces to the Virgin Mary that she will be the mother of Christ. He watches over pregnancy and childbirth, and touches each baby on the lip just before birth so that the infant soul will forget all pre-existing knowledge of Heaven. The mark of that touch is the cleft between lip and nose.
RAPHAEL is known as the angel of healing, health, science and knowledge. He is the Regent of the Sun and the chief of all guardian angels. He is also the angel most commonly in charge of guarding the Tree of Life, a mighty tree usually located in the Upper Paradise, whose branches represent the structure of the universe.
URIEL is – or was – the fourth greatest angel in the Christian pantheon, after Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. His name means ‘the fire of God’, and he is associated with lightning, fire and thunder. He is also an Angel of Destruction and an Angel of Punishment, carrying the terrible Sword of God. In 745 AD, when Church leaders worried that angels were becoming too popular as objects of worship, they removed Uriel from the list of officially recognised angels.
AZRAEL is one of the four great angels of Islam. He managed to perform a task which had defeated the other archangels when he forced the Earth to give up the seven handfuls of dirt needed by God in order to create Adam. For this, he was rewarded with the position of Angel of Death. He learns who is due to die when a leaf bearing that person’s name falls from a tree growing just below the throne of God. If a person is reluctant to die, he tempts the soul out of the body by placing under his or her nostrils an apple from the legendary Tree of Life.
METATRON is the most powerful of all angels in some non-canonical writings. In fact, he is the prophet Enoch transformed. His size is extraordinary, as wide and long as the Earth itself. He also has 36 pairs of wings, more than 72 different names, and 365,000 eyes. (The other contender for sheer size is Sandalphon: it is said to take 500 years to journey from Sandalphon’s toes to the top of his head.) Metatron is the Chancellor of Heaven and the keeper of the Heavenly archives.
The highest archangels (generic sense!) may also be called aeons or archons.