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St. Gabriel

In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel (God is my strength) is an archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God. St Gabriel is the patron saint of messengers, those who work for broadcasting and telecommunications such as radio and television, remote sensing, and postal workers.

In the Bible, Gabriel is mentioned twice – once in the Old Testament and once in the New. In the Old Testament, he appears to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27). In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel appears to the virgin Mary and to Zechariah, foretelling the births of Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively (Luke 1:11–38).

Daniel does not explicitly identify Gabriel as an angel: he is a visionary figure whom Daniel calls "the man Gabriel". In the Gospel of Luke, Gabriel is referred to as "an angel of the Lord". (Luke 1:11) But Christians of the Catholic traditions call him an archangel, following terminology developed in the Intertestamental period, especially the Book of Enoch. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, the archangels Michael, Raphael and Gabriel are considered saints.

In Islam, Gabriel (Jibra'il) revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet Mohammed, over a period of 23 years.


Gabriel, one of the Malakhim, a Cherub according to Jewish angelic hierarchy, is mentioned in the Book of Daniel, in the Jewish Bible. He is sent as a messenger of YHWH (see God in Judaism) to Daniel during the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews. He is also mentioned in the Talmud. Due to the fact, that malakh is a title, it is rare that angels are named in the Jewish Bible; another example would be Michael.

Gabriel is interpreted by the Rabbanim to be the "man in linen" in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel. In the Book of Daniel, he is responsible for interpreting Daniel's visions. In the Book of Ezekiel, Gabriel is understood to be the angel that was sent to destroy Jerusalem.

In Kabbalah, he is identified with the sephirot of Yesod. He also has a prominent role as one of God's archangels in the Kabbalah literature. There, he is portrayed as working in concert with Michael as part of God's court. He is not to be prayed to; because only God can answer prayers and send him as His agent.

According to Jewish mythology, in the Garden of Eden there is a Tree of life or the Tree of Souls that blossoms and produces new souls, which fall into the Guf, the Treasury of Souls. Gabriel reaches into the treasury and takes out the first soul that comes into his hand. Then Lailah, the Angel of Conception, watches over the embryo until it is born.

Intertestamental literature

The inter-testamental period (roughly 200 BCE – 50 CE) produced a wealth of literature, much of it having an apocalyptic orientation. The names and ranks of angels and devils were greatly expanded there, and given particular duties and status before God.

In 1 Enoch 9:1–2, Gabriel, along with Michael, Raphael, Uriel and Suriel, hears the cries of humanity under the strain of the Nephilim. It was their beseeching of "the Ancient of Days" - interpreted to be Yahweh - that prompted God to call Enoch to the prophetical office. After Enoch informed the Watchers (or "Grigori") of their fall from grace, the Ancient of Days sent the archangels to earth to complete various tasks. In Enoch 10:13, Gabriel was to "Go to the biters, to the reprobates, to the children of fornication, the offspring of the Watchers, from among men; bring them forth and excite them against one another. Let them perish under mutual slaughter; for length of days shall not be theirs." And so, Gabriel instigated wars among the Nephilim (the sons of the Watchers).

Enoch (20:7) says that Gabriel presides over "Ikisat" (the fiery serpents) or Seraphim, Cherubim, and paradise, while Enoch 40:9 states that Gabriel presides over "all that is powerful." Gabriel sits on the left hand of God with Metatron.


New Testament

First, concerning John the Baptist, an angel appeared to his father Zacharias, a priest of the course of Abia, (Luke 1:5-7) whose "barren" wife Elisabeth was of the daughters of Aaron, while he ministered in the temple:

Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.

19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

(Luke 1:10-20 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:1-25)

After completing his week of ministry, Zacharias returned to his house (in Hebron) and his wife Elizabeth conceived. After she completed "five months" (Luke 1:21-25) of her pregnancy, Gabriel is mentioned again:

Luke 1:26 ¶ And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.

31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

(Luke 1:26-38 KJV) (other versions: Luke 1:26-38)

Gabriel only appears by name in those two passages in Luke. In the first passage the angel identified himself as Gabriel, but in the second it is Luke who identified him as Gabriel. The only other named angel in the New Testament is "Michael the archangel" (in Jude 1:9). Gabriel is not called an archangel in the Bible. Believers are expressly warned not to worship angels (in Colossians 2:18-19 and Revelation 19:10).

Gabriel's horn

In English-speaking culture, a familiar trope is the image of Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate the Lord's return to Earth. It ranges from its first appearance in English in John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) to African-American spirituals: in Marc Connelly's play based on spirituals, The Green Pastures (1930), Gabriel has his beloved trumpet constantly with him, and the Lord has to warn him not to blow it too soon. Four years later "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" was introduced by Ethel Merman in Cole Porter's Anything Goes (1934). The mathematical figure given the modern name "Gabriel's Horn", was invented by Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647); it is a paradoxical solid of revolution that has infinite surface area, but finite volume.

In Islamic tradition, though not specified in the Qur'an, the trumpeter sounding the trump of doom is not Gabriel, but Israfil.

The earliest identification of Gabriel as the trumpeter that S. Vernon McCasland was able to trace was in an Armenian illuminated manuscript dated 1455, at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.

Feast days

The feast of Saint Gabriel was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in 1921, for celebration on March 24. In 1969 it was transferred to 29 September for celebration together with St. Michael and St. Raphael. The Church of England has also adopted the 29 September date, known as Michaelmas.

The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite celebrate his feast day on 8 November (for those churches that follow the traditional Julian Calendar, 8 November currently falls on 21 November of the modern Gregorian Calendar, a difference of 13 days). Eastern Orthodox commemorate him, not only on his November feast, but also on two other days: 26 March is the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel" and celebrates his role in the Annunciation. 13 July is also known as the "Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel", and celebrates all the appearances and miracles attributed to Gabriel throughout history. The feast was first established on Mount Athos when, in the ninth century, during the reign of Emperor Basil II and the Empress Constantina Porphyrogenitus and while Nicholas Chrysoverges was Patriarch of Constantinople, the Archangel appeared in a cell near Karyes, where he wrote with his finger on a stone tablet the hymn to the Theotokos, "It is truly meet...".

The Ethiopian Church celebrates his feast on 28 December, with a sizeable number of its believers making a pilgrimage to a church dedicated to "Saint Gabriel" in Kulubi on that day.

Additionally Gabriel is the patron saint of messengers, those who work for broadcasting and telecommunications such as radio and television, remote sensing, and postal workers.


According to the Quran, Gabriel (Jibra'il) the angel who revealed the Qur'an to the prophet Muhammad, and sent a message to most prophets, if not all, revealing their obligations. Gabriel is named numerous times in the Qur'an (II: 97, 98; LXVI: 4); and, in II: 97, the Qur'an expressly narrates:

"Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this scripture) to thy heart by God's leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers."

Gabriel makes a famous appearance in the Hadith of Gabriel, where he quizzes the Prophet Muhammad on the core tenets of Islam.

In Muslim tradition, Gabriel occupies the role of one of the primary archangels and all historical commentaries build upon Gabriel's role as the transmitter of the Qur'an. Exegesis narrates that Muhammad saw Gabriel in his full angelic splendor only twice, the first being when he received his first revelation. Muslims also revere Gabriel for a number of historical events predating the first revelation. Muslims believe that Gabriel was the angel who informed Zachariah of John's birth as well as Mary of the future birth of Jesus and that Gabriel was one of three angels who had earlier informed Abraham of the birth of Isaac. These events of Zachariah and Mary can be found also in the Quran, mentioned in surah Maryam, below are some ayat from the Quran referring to the archangel Gabriel (interpretation of the meanings).

Mary 19:2 a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zechariah

19:3 When he called to his Lord a private supplication.

19:4 He said, "My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy.

19:5 And indeed, I fear the successors after me, and my wife has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir

19:6 Who will inherit me and inherit from the family of Jacob. And make him, my Lord, pleasing ."

19:7 , "O Zechariah, indeed We give you good tidings of a boy whose name will be John. We have not assigned to any before name."

19:8 He said, "My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?"

19:9 said, "Thus ; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.' "

19:10 said, "My Lord, make for me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three nights, sound."

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary:

19:16 And mention, , in the Book Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place toward the east.

19:17 And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man.

19:18 She said, "Indeed, I seek refuge in the Most Merciful from you, , if you should be fearing of Allah ."

19:19 He said, "I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you a pure boy."

19:20 She said, "How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?"

19:21 He said, "Thus ; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter decreed.' "


In Mormon theology, Gabriel is believed to have lived a mortal life as the prophet Noah. The two are regarded as the same individual; Noah being his mortal name and Gabriel being his heavenly name.

The text in this box was generated from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the CC-BY-SA.

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