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St. Raphael

St Raphael is an archangel of Judaism and Christianity, who in the Judeo-Christian tradition performs all manners of healing. In Islam, Raphael is the same as Israfil. He is the patron saint of blind people, medical workers, matchmakers and travelers.

Raphael in Judaism

The angels mentioned in the Torah, the older books of the Hebrew Bible, are without names. Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish of Tiberias (A.D. 230–270), asserted that all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and modern commentators would tend to agree.

Raphael in the Book of Enoch

Raphael bound Azazel under a desert called Dudael according to Enoch 10:4–6:

And again the Lord said to Raphael: 'Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgment he shall be cast into the fire.

Of seven archangels in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only Michael, mentioned as archangel (Daniel 12:1; Jude verse 9) and Gabriel are mentioned by name in the scriptures that came to be accepted as canonical by all Christians. Raphael is mentioned by name in the Book of Tobit, which is accepted as canonical by Catholics, Orthodox, and some Anglo-Catholics, and as useful for public teaching by Lutherans.

Raphael in Catholicism

The name of the angel Raphael appears only in the Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit. The Book of Tobit is considered canonical by Catholics, Orthodox, and some Anglicans. Raphael first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of Tobit's son, Tobiah (Greek: Τωβίας/Tobias), calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". During the adventurous course of the journey the archangel's protective influence is shown in many ways including the binding of the demon in the desert of upper Egypt. After the return and the healing of the blindness of Tobit, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" Tobit 12:15. Compare the unnamed angels in John's Revelation 8:2. He is often venerated and patronized as Saint Raphael the Archangel.

Regarding the healing powers attributed to Raphael, we have his declaration to Tobit (Tobit, 12) that he was sent by the Lord to heal him of his blindness and to deliver Sarah, his future daughter-in-law, from the demon Asmodeus, who abducts and kills every man she marries on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated. Among Catholics, he is considered the patron saint of medical workers, matchmakers, and travelers and may be petitioned by them or those needing their services.

The feast day of Raphael was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in the year 1921, for celebration on October 24. With the reform of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969, this feast was transferred to September 29 for celebration together with Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel. Within limits, the Roman Catholic Church still authorizes use of the 1962 calendar. The Church of England also celebrates "Michael and All Angels" on September 29.

Raphael has made an impression on Catholic geography: Saint Raphael, France and Saint Raphael, Quebec, Canada; San Rafaels in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, the Philippines and in Venezuela as San Rafael de Mohan and San Rafael de Orituco. In the United States, San Rafaels inherited from Mexico survive in California (where besides the city there are San Rafael Mountains), in New Mexico, and in Utah, where the San Rafael River flows seasonally in the San Rafael Desert. The Archangel also lends his name to St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, to St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, and to Mission San Rafael Arcangel in San Rafael, California.

In the New Testament, only the archangels Gabriel and Michael are mentioned by name (Luke 1:9-26; Jude 1:9). Later manuscripts of John 5:1-4 refer to the pool at Bethesda, where the multitude of the infirm lay awaiting the moving of the water, for "an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water was made whole of whatsoever infirmity he lay under". Because of the healing role assigned to Raphael, this particular angel is generally associated with the archangel.

Raphael is sometimes shown as standing atop a large fish or holding a caught fish at the end of a line. This is a reference to Book of Tobit (Tobias), where he told Tobias to catch a fish, and then uses the gallbladder to heal Tobit's eyes, and to drive away Asmodeus by burning the heart and liver.

Raphael in Islam

Raphael is honored in Islam as one of the great archangels and is known more commonly as "Israfil" or "Israfel" in Islamic history.

According to the hadith, he is the angel responsible for signaling the coming of Judgment Day by blowing the trumpet (namely Sur). According to tradition, the trumpet will be blown three times. The first blow of the trumpet will signal the beginning of Last Day and the second blow will signal the death of every living thing including angels, demons and humans and the third blow will signal the time when all the souls from all ages will be gathered for the Last Judgement. According to the Quran, an unnamed trumpet-angel, assumed to be Israfel, has been holding his breath, waiting for Allah's order to blow the Sur.

Raphael in Paradise Lost

The angel Raphael, along with many other prominent angels, appears in John Milton's Paradise Lost, in which he is assigned by God to re-warn Adam concerning the sin of eating of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He also expounds to Adam the War in Heaven in which Lucifer and the demons fell, and the creation of the Earth.

In popular culture

�The Archangel Raphael serves as the antagonist in the fifth and sixth seasons on the CW Television Network horror/drama series Supernatural, Raphael serving as a traditionalist archangel who seeks to restart the apocalypse after protagonists Dean and Sam Winchester and 'renegade' angel Castiel averted the Apocalypse by trapping Lucifer and other archangel Michael in Lucifer's Cage. He is finally killed in the finale when Castiel absorbs the souls of Purgatory to increase his power to a level where he can defeat Raphael.

�The upcoming Nicholas Sparks drama The Watchers focuses on the life of Raphael as an angel who has given up immortality, for the love of a human woman.

�In season 2, episode 14 of the show Criminal Minds, the unsub refers to himself as Raphael as he goes on a religious mission to kill sinners. It is eventually revealed that he has dissociative identity disorder and one of his personalities believes itself to be the archangel Raphael.

�In Daemon Bride, Raphael serves a partner for Souya Tachibana. He resembles a pig with wings and attacks with ice, as well as becoming an arrow for Souya.

Other sources

�The Archangel Raphael makes several appearances in The Great Gospel of John, written by mystic Jacob Lorber.

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

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

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