Puneet Varma (Editor)


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Venerated in  Rabbinic Judaism, Anglican Communion, Eastern Orthodoxy, Folk Catholicism, Oriental Orthodoxy
Feast  September 29 (Western), November 8 (Eastern)
Attributes  Flaming sword, Fire in palm
Patronage  Sacrament of Confirmation, poetry

Uriel (אוּרִיאֵל "El/God is my light", Auriel/Oriel (God is my light), Standard Hebrew Uriʾel, Tiberian Hebrew ʾÛrîʾēl) is one of the archangels of post-Exilic Rabbinic tradition, and also of certain Christian traditions.


In apocryphal, kabbalistic and occult works, Uriel has been equated or confused with Urial, Nuriel, Uryan, Jeremiel, Vretil, Sariel, Suriel, Puruel, Phanuel, Jacob, Azrael and Raphael.

Name and origins

The angels mentioned in the older books of the Hebrew Bible are without names. Indeed, rabbi Simeon ben Lakish of Tiberias (230–270), asserted that all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon, and some modern commentators would tend to agree. Of the seven Archangels in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only one, the archangel Michael, is mentioned by name in the canonized Jewish Scriptures, although Gabriel is recognized by both the post-Jamnia Jewish tradition, Gospel of Luke and the Catholic Church.

Raphael features prominently in the deuterocanonical Book of Tobit (initially accepted by both the Jewish and Christian canons, but removed from the Jewish canon in late antiquity and rejected by the Protestant reformers in the 16th century). The Book of Tobit is accepted as scriptural by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Church.

Where a fourth archangel is added to the named three, to represent the four cardinal points, Uriel is generally the fourth. Uriel is listed as the fourth angel in Christian Gnostics (under the name Phanuel), by Gregory the Great, and in the angelology of Pseudo-Dionysius. However, the Book of Enoch clearly distinguishes the two Angels; Uriel means "the Light of God" while Phanuel means "the Face of God". Uriel is the third angel listed in the Testament of Solomon, the fourth being Sabrael.

Uriel appears in the Second Book of Esdras found in the Biblical apocrypha (called Esdras IV in the Vulgate) in which the prophet Ezra asks God a series of questions, and Uriel is sent by God to instruct him. According to the Revelation of Esdras, the angels that will rule at the end of the world are Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Gabuthelon, Beburos, Zebuleon, Aker, and Arphugitonos. The last five listed only appear in this book and nowhere else in apocryphal or apocalyptic works.

In Christian apocryphal gospels Uriel plays a role, differing between sources, in the rescue of Jesus' cousin John the Baptist from the Massacre of the Innocents ordered by King Herod. He carries John and his mother Saint Elizabeth to join the Holy Family after their Flight into Egypt. Their reunion is depicted in Leonardo da Vinci's Virgin of the Rocks.

Uriel is often identified as a cherub and angel of repentance. He "stands at the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword", or as the angel who "watches over thunder and terror". In the Apocalypse of Peter he appears as the Angel of Repentance, who is graphically represented as being as pitiless as any demon. In the Life of Adam and Eve, Uriel is regarded as the spirit (i.e., one of the cherubs) of the third chapter of Genesis. He is also identified as one of the angels who helped bury Adam and Abel in Paradise.

Stemming from medieval Jewish mystical traditions, Uriel has also become the Angel of Sunday (Jewish Encyclopedia), the Angel of Poetry, and one of the Holy Sephiroth. Uriel is depicted as the destroyer of the hosts of Sennacherib.

He checked the doors of Egypt for lamb's blood during the plague. He also holds the key to the Pit during the End Times and led Abraham to the West.

In modern angelology, Uriel is identified variously as a seraph, cherub, regent of the sun, flame of God, angel of the Divine Presence, presider over Tartarus (hell), archangel of salvation, and, in later scriptures, identified with Phanuel "face of God". He is often depicted carrying a book or a papyrus scroll representing wisdom. Uriel is a patron of the Arts.

In the Orthodox Churches, Uriel is commemorated together with the other archangels and angels with a feast day of the "Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers" on November 8 of the liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the Julian Calendar, November 8 falls on November 21 of the modern Gregorian Calendar). In addition, every Monday throughout the year is dedicated to the angels.

In Thomas Heywood's Hierarchy of Blessed Angels (1635), Uriel is described as an Angel of the Earth. Heywood's list is actually of the Angels of the Four Winds: Uriel (south), Michael (east), Raphael (west) (serving also a governor of the south, with Uriel), and Gabriel (north). He is also listed as an Angel of the four winds in the medieval Jewish Book of the Angel Raziel which lists him as Usiel (Uzziel); according to it, this book was inscribed on a sapphire stone and handed down from Seraph to Metatron and then to Adam.

At the Council of Rome of 745, Pope St. Zachary, intending to clarify the Church's teaching on the subject of angels and curb a tendency toward angel worship, condemned obsession with angelic intervention and angelolatry, but reaffirmed the approval of the practice of the reverence of angels. This synod struck many angels' names from the list of those eligible for veneration in the Church of Rome, including Uriel. Only the reverence of the archangels mentioned in the recognized Catholic canon of scriptures, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, remained licit.

In the first half of the 11th century Bulgarian followers of the dualist heresy called Bogomilism who lived in the dukedom of Ahtum in present-day Banat invoked Uriel in rituals. This is witnessed by Gerard of Csanád, Catholic bishop of the area after 1028.

In Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's translation of The Golden Legend, Uriel is one of the angels of the seven planets. Uriel is the angel of Mars. He is also listed as such in Benjamin Camfield's A Theological Discourse of Angels (1678).

Possibly Uriel's highest position is that of an Angel of Presence, Prince of Presence, Angel of the Face, Angel of Sanctification, Angel of Glory. A Prince of the Presence is an angel who is allowed to enter the presence of God. Uriel along with Suriel, Jehoel, Zagagel, Akatriel, Metatron, Yefefiah, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Nathanel (Zathael) holds this position. The Angel of His Presence title is often taken to mean Shekinah but it and the other terms mentioned are also often used as alternate names for the angel Metatron. R. H. Charles comments in his translation of The Book of Enoch that in later Judaism "we find Uriel instead of Phanuel" as one of the four angels of the presence.

A scriptural reference to an angel of presence is found in Isaiah 63:9:

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

In Enoch

The Book of Enoch, which presents itself as written by Enoch, mentions Uriel in many of the component books. In Chapter IX which is part of "The Book of the Watchers" (2nd century BCE) only four Angels are mentioned by name, these are Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel (though some versions have a fifth angel: Suryal or Suriel). However the later Chapter XX lists the name and function of seven angels, these are "Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus", Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqâêl, Gabriel, and Remiel.

The Book of the Angels as a whole tells us that Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel were present before God to testify on behalf of Humankind. They wish to ask for divine intervention during the reign of the Fallen Gregori (Fallen Watchers). These fallen take human wives and produced half-angel, half-human offspring called the Nephilim. Uriel is responsible for warning Noah about the upcoming Great Flood.

Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spoke, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: "<Go to Noah> and tell him in my name 'Hide thyself!' and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it."

After judgment has been brought on the Nephilim and the fallen ones including the two main leaders Samyaza and Azazel, Uriel discusses their fates.

And Uriel said to me: "Here shall stand the angels who have connected themselves with women, and their spirits assuming many different forms are defiling mankind and shall lead them astray into sacrificing to demons 'as gods', (here shall they stand,) till 'the day of' the great judgment in which they shall be judged till they are made an end of. And the women also of the angels who went astray shall become sirens.' And I, Enoch alone, saw the vision, the ends of all things; and no man shall see as I have seen."

Uriel then acts as a guide for Enoch for the rest of the Book of Watchers. He fulfills this capacity in many of the other books that make up 1 Enoch.

In Anglican tradition

In the traditions and hagiography of the Episcopal and other Anglican churches, Uriel is mentioned as an archangel. He is also recognized as the Patron Saint of the Sacrament of Confirmation. He is celebrated in the Anglican liturgical calendars on the Feast of the Archangels.

The Anglican intercessional prayer to Saint Uriel the Archangel is as follows;

The longstanding motto of Oxford University, Dominus illuminatio mea ("The Lord, my light" or, if est is appended to the original and interpolated in translation, "The Lord is my light") is a translation into Latin of Uriel's name.

In literature

  • In Milton's Paradise Lost Book III, Uriel, in charge of the Orb of the Sun, serves as the eyes of God, but unwittingly steers Satan towards the newly created earth. He also fills the role of fourth cardinal point (see above). Milton describes him as the "sharpest sighted spirit in all of Heaven." He is also responsible along with Raphael for defeating Adramelech.
  • In Haydn's Creation, Uriel (tenor) is one of the three angelic narrators (with Gabriel (soprano) and Raphael (bass)).
  • In Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem "Uriel", regarded as a poetic summary of many strains of thought in Emerson's early philosophy, Uriel is a young god in Paradise, who upsets the world of gods by proclaiming relativism and the eternal return.
  • In George Eliot's Middlemarch, ch. XLI, to Uriel, "watching the progress of planetary history from the sun, the one result would be just as much of a coincidence as the other".
  • In Madeleine L'Engle's book, A Wrinkle In Time, Uriel is a fictional planet of the galaxy Messier 101 with mountains and beautiful flowers.
  • In L'Engle's novel Many Waters, Uriel is a character, one of the Seraphim.
  • In Dean Koontz's book Hideaway, Uriel speaks and acts through Hatch, one of the book's protagonists, to battle the demon Vassago, who "hitched a ride" with Jeremy Nyebern after he was reanimated.
  • In Katherine Kurtz's Deryni novels, Uriel appears along with Gabriel, Raphael and Michael at major rituals in which they are invoked by name as representatives of the four quarters (Uriel's position is the north, and his colour is green); in some instances the four archangels seem to be luminous energy beings that give their mortal viewers the fleeting impression of having wings. Uriel is the angel of death, escorting souls across the line of life to the afterlife. In Camber the Heretic, the ailing King Cinhil Haldane arranges for a ritual to bestow arcane powers on his three young sons to help ensure the Haldane succession; Cinhil dies once the ritual is complete and Uriel stays behind to conduct Cinhil's soul to join those of his deceased wife and firstborn son.
  • In Clive Barker's novel Weaveworld, the Scourge declares its eternal name as Uriel. The major character Shadwell recognizes learning "...of all the angels and archangels by heart: and amongst the mighty Uriel was of the mightiest. The archangel of salvation; called by some the flame of God." and "Uriel had been the angel left to stand guard at the gates of Eden."
  • In the apocrypha of White Wolf Publishing's Vampire: The Masquerade series, Uriel is the last of the angels sent to Cain, after Cain rejects the offers of redemption from Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Uriel tells Cain of Golconda, and that it is the last road of redemption open to Cain and his "children".
  • Uriel is a character in The Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher. In Small Favor, Uriel is a subtle but powerful player in the war with the Black Council and the Fallen/Denarians. Called the "Watchman", he only reveals himself to the book's protagonist, Harry Dresden, as a janitor named "Jake". In the novel, Harry receives the power of soulfire and believes that it came from Uriel. He is also referred to as Heaven's "spook". Uriel also appears at the end of Jim Butcher's novella The Warrior, which was released as a part of the anthology, Mean Streets. Uriel appears again in Changes, when Harry Dresden asks him for help, after being paralyzed from the waist down. Uriel tells him that he cannot help him, and that he is limited to what he has already done. He also tells Harry that Maggie is indeed his daughter, something that he hadn't been entirely sure of. In Ghost Story, Uriel uses his influence to offer Harry the opportunity to come back to Earth as a spirit to find out the identity of his killer. This is not revealed until close to the end of the book, when Uriel also shows Harry that his friends and family will be okay in his absence. He also shows how Harry was unduly influenced to take up the mantle of the Winter Knight and redresses this imbalance by telling him that Mab, the Winter Queen cannot change who he is. At another point in the book, Uriel becomes enraged when Harry nicknames him "Uri" (omitting "el" (God) from the phrase making up Uriel's name). Unlike his appearances in Small Favor and The Warrior, Uriel's form in Changes and Ghost Story is that of a young man with blond hair, rather than an old janitor. During his appearance in Skin Game, his form is that of an olive skinned young man with dark hair. He is not bound by linear time, and is responsible for protecting Free Will. The author has described the character as a VP of Creation.
  • In Angelglass by David Barnett, Uriel meddles in Earth's affairs and is cast down to see if he can "improve" the course of history by personal intervention.
  • In William J. Clark's novel, Winning the Lottery, Uriel is the guardian angel of the narrator, and later of his wife and children. He and the other three archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, play an active role in various plot elements, and become a common thread in an attempt to open a dialog between the Western and the Muslim worlds.
  • In Richard Kadrey's Kill the Dead, Uriel is one of the original fallen angels and revealed to be the father of protagonist James "Sandman Slim" Stark.
  • In Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy one of the "nine bright shiners" is named Yrael and appears as a being of living fire.
  • In Angelfall by Susan Ee Uriel is shown to be one of the main antagonists of the series, one of the surviving Archangels vying for the role of Messenger.
  • In Nalini Singh's romance novel Angels' Blood, Uriel is the target of vampire hunter Elena, who is hired by the archangel Raphael.
  • In the manga Angel Sanctuary, Uriel is portrayed as the Angel of Death, being one of the four elemental archangels. He lives in the underworld and passes judgment on souls.
  • In the GetBackers manga, Uriel is the moniker of one of the Wielders of the Divine Design.
  • Uriel is mentioned as Kevin Cecil's true form in Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist.
  • In the graphic novel Alabaster Wolves by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Uriel is depicted as the angel who drives the protagonist's journey.
  • In "Something More Than Night" by Ian Tregillis, Uriel is described as female and one of the five Seraphim(Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Michael, and Raguel.) She confronts the protagonist, Bayliss, to warn him against looking into the murder of Gabriel on his own. The Seraphim Uriel is described as having six wings, a flaming sword, and four faces: human, ox, lion, and eagle.
  • In The Salvation War, Uriel is a major antagonist described as "Yahweh's hitman". He has the fearsome power to not only cause humans to drop dead en masse, but apparently destroy their souls as well. He has killed a vast number of people in the past and in poor countries, but shies away from powerful modern ones unless directly ordered there, as shielding that gives humans a fighting chance against his power and weapons capable of killing him are common in these places. He is described as having the greatest power of any angel short of Yahweh himself, and is Yahweh's first choice when the latter needs to call upon an ally for a power boost.
  • In Saint Onii-san manga, Uriel is shown have a stoic face. He is sometimes shown with a sword. On Chapter 18, he once cursing a wasabi fruit for being too spicy for Jesus. Jesus himself has a fear towards Uriel on Chapter 31, where he fears that Uriel will destroy a bicycle to ashes if he called Uriel down due to Jesus getting lost. In Chapter 47, thanks to green screen, he was shown laughing in Jesus's promotional video and gained a trending topic at the Heavens realm.
  • In television and film

  • Uriel, portrayed by Robert Wisdom, was a recurring character in the fourth season of the American television series Supernatural.
  • Uriel is introduced in the Dominion episode "The Flood" as the younger sister of Michael and Gabriel, and is played by Katrine De Candole.
  • Uriel is presented as a character in the Japanese Animated Series Devils and Realist, he is also referred to as Kevin Cecil and acts as William Twinning's (Solomon) guardian.
  • In the fifth season episode "The Devil In the Details" of the TV series Bones, a psychiatric patient played by Amanda Schull believes she is the earthly incarnation of Uriel.
  • In the first season episode "Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions" of the American television series, Millennium, Uriel is referred to in the quote, "By Uriel, and by Raziel, powers, principalities, thrones and dominions, I bind and command you: Stand!"
  • Uriel is mentioned as the first guardian (sentinel) to the entrance of Eden by the Devil in the 1977 movie "The Sentinel."
  • Uriel (played by Michael Imperioli) is a character in the American television series Lucifer. He joins the series in the fifth episode of season two.
  • In games

    Role-playing games
  • The Spanish role-playing game Anima: Beyond Fantasy features Uriel as one of the seven "Beryls" (godlike beings of light), named so by the humans being identified by them with the archangel of the same name. He's the unique beryl who has adopted a male identity and has associated freedom, independence, and free will.
  • In the role-playing game In Nomine, Uriel was the Archangel of Purity, recalled to Higher Heaven for overzealous persecution.
  • Video games
  • In the video game series Darksiders, Uriel appears with Abaddon, the leader of the Hellguard, Heaven's army of angels, and is depicted as female.
  • Uriel is depicted as a swan in El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, along with Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, to guide the player and give him advice.
  • Uriel is an Archon acolyte in King's Quest: Mask of Eternity.
  • Uriel is a mini-boss in The Binding of Isaac.
  • Uriel is an Archangel in Might & Magic Heroes VI, where he has a prominent role in the necromancer campaign.
  • Uriel is a playable character known as the Dark Angel of Death in Quake 3 Arena.
  • Uriel, along with some other archangels, is a playable character and boss in various games in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
  • Uriel, is an Angel Cartel Piracy activity in Eve Online game.
  • In Road To Gehenna, the DLC to the 2014 first-person puzzle game The Talos Principle, the player takes control of a robot named Uriel, a messenger of Elohim, the antagonistic deity of the main game.
  • In the mobile game "Puzzle & Dragons", Uriel is one of the five members of the "Archangel" series of Gods, along with Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Lucifer
  • "Auri-El" is an Elven god in The Elder Scrolls series, and a central entity in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard.
  • "Uriel Septim" is the Emperor of Tamriel in the game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • In Saints Row: Gat out of Hell, Uriel's flaming sword is a weapon you could unlock after converting 5 Marshaling Grounds and is one of the Seven Deadly weapons representing wrath.
  • Auriel is one of the leaders of the heavenly forces in the third installment of the game Diablo, as well as in the related game Heroes of the Storm.
  • In music

  • Uriel is referred to in the Kate Bush song "Lily", along with archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael.
  • "Uriel's Black Harp" is a track by Actress, on his album R.I.P..
  • "Through the Eyes of Uriel" is a track by Alesana from their 2015 album Confessions.
  • References

    Uriel Wikipedia