Patron of Ecology • The Earth • The Arts • Wisdom & Knowledge
• Confirmation • Month of September
Uriel is one of the four main archangels found within Judeo-Christian traditions. In Hebrew, Uriel can be translated as “The Flame/Fire/Sun Of God,” or “My Light Is God.” He is regarded as the provider of light, symbolizing wisdom and truth. Paradoxically, he is also considered “Angel of the Earth” — keeper of its depths and its alchemical properties. Hence Uriel has become the Patron of Ecology, combining the darkness and light and the inter-relationship of all life upon our planet.
Uriel has been said to guard both the gates of Eden (Paradise) and of Tartarus (Hell), and to have been the messenger to Noah regarding the Great Flood (a task attributed to various angels in other sources). In addition, he is cited by such diverse authorities as The Testament of Solomon, the Christian Gnostics, Gregory the Great, and Dionysius of Areopagus (a convert of St. Paul, mentioned in the Book of Acts.)
Uriel appears in the two versions of da Vinci’s “Virgin of the Rocks” in London and Paris. He is believed to have saved the infant John the Baptist from the “Massacre of the Innocents.”
In the Book of Enoch, he is described as “one of the holy angels, who is over the world…the leader of them all…” (Enoch is said to be the great-grandfather of Noah), Enoch also wrote “Uriel showed to me, whom the Lord of Glory hath set forever over all the luminaries of the heaven…the sun, moon, and stars, all the ministering creatures which make their revolution in all the chariots of the heaven.”
Milton described Uriel as the “sharpest-sighted spirit of all in Heaven,” and the “Regent of the Sun”; Emerson wrote a poem entitled “Uriel”; and Longfellow cited him in his translation of “The Golden Legend.” Haydn’s oratorio, “The Creation,” casts him as the third angel.
Though he is often mentioned by name and found in church dedications, art, and lists of the four principal archangels (Seraphim), his status is not as universally accepted among the Abrahamic religions as that of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael—perhaps because much of the early writing (including the spelling of his name) was highly ambiguous. Apparently Uriel was removed from a list of those eligible for veneration in 745 by Pope Zachary, who was concerned that people were getting carried away with “Angel Worship.”
Even so, he is regarded as a saint in both the Eastern Orthodox and Anglican traditions, with his iconic symbol being that of an “open hand holding a flame.” He’s the Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Anglican Church.
In Haydn’s The Creation, Uriel sings:
In lofty circles play and hover thro’ the sky the cheerful host of birds. And in the flying whirl, the glitt’ring plumes are died, as rainbows, by the sun.
He is often shown holding a scroll representing wisdom and is viewed as the patron of the Arts.
We’ve included some clickable links in the text above and also
Some interesting outside links:
The Church of St. Uriel the Archangel is a lovely, informative site with much info about the Anglican Tradition. (Worth a visit for the music alone.)
Please share your links (use the reply box below).
Our Archangel Uriel is available in many media, including cards, jewelry, prints and more. Visit PartriArts Gallery to view them.
Website of the Church of St. Uriel the Archangel Church, an Episcopalian parish and one of the very few parishes dedicated in honor of St. Uriel in the United States.
Thank you! It looks like a lovely church. We’ve included a link above.
I am curious as to how this church was named. I am a practicing cradle Episcopalian. I have been researching angel lore in apocryphal, kabbalistic, and scripture. I am especially interested in Uriel. Perhaps you may be able to enlighten me further?