Traditionally there are nine orders of spiritual beings, as
seraph is one of a class of celestial beings mentioned once
in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), in
Later Jewish imagery perceived them as having human form, and in
that way they passed into the ranks of Christian
Angels. In the Christian Hierarchy of angels,
Seraphim represent the highest rank of
cherub (plural cherubim) is a
supernatural entity mentioned several times in
the Hebrew Bible, and in the Book of Revelation (a New
Testament text), as well as often being depicted in western art.
(also known as Ophanim) are a
classification of angels under many Christian Angelic
hierarchies. They are the carriers of the throne of God, hence the
name. They are said to be great wheels covered in eyes.
Dominions, also known as the Hashmallim, hold the task of
regulating the duties of lower angels. They receive their orders
from the Seraphim, the Cherubim, or God Himself, and are responsible
for ensuring that the cosmos remains in order. It is only with
extreme rarity that the dominions make themselves physically known
to mortals. Instead, they quietly concern themselves with the
details of existence.
Virtues, also called Fortresses or Strongholds,
lie beyond the Thrones and are equal to the Principalities. Their
task is to oversee groups of people. They are shaped like sparks of
light that inspire living things to many things such as art or
science. It is unclear from where
the name of this order originated.
Powers are angelic beings shaped like brightly colored, hazy
fumes. They are the bearers of conscience and the keepers of
history. The angels of birth and death are Powers. They are
academically driven and are concerned with ideology, philosophy,
theology, religion, and documents pertaining to those studies.
Powers are the brain trusts: a group of experts who serve as
advisers and policy planners. Their duty is to oversee the
distribution of power among mankind, hence their name.
Principalities are angelic beings shaped like rays of light.
They lie beyond the group of archangels. They are the guardian
angels of nations and countries, and are concerned with the issues
and events surrounding these, including politics, military matters,
commerce and trade. One of their duties is to choose who amongst
living things will rule
Archangels are usually considered the second lowest order of the
Third Sphere; these angels tend the larger arenas of living endeavor
and act as the administrative leaders of the Heavenly beings. An
Archangel is usually given a task of great
importance to men. According to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite's
Angelology, however, the Archangels lie just above the lowest of the
Angel orders, the common Angels.
Angels are the lowest order of the angels, and the most familiar to
men. They are the ones most concerned with the affairs of living
things. Within the category of angels, there are many different
kinds, with different functions. The angels are sent as messengers
The Celestial Hierarchy, the author drew on passages from
the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16
(considered by modern scholars to be very tentative and ambiguous
sources in relation to the construction of such a schema), 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:
- First Hierarchy:
- Second Hierarchy:
- Third Hierarchy: