Raphael (Hebrew: רָפָאֵל, translit. Rāfāʾēl, lit. 'It is God who heals', 'God Heals', 'God, Please Heal'; Ancient Greek: Ραφαήλ, Coptic: ⲣⲁⲫⲁⲏⲗ, Arabic: إسرافيل, translit. Isrāfīl, lit. 'The Burning One') is an archangel in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Raphael performs all manners of healing according to all three Abrahamic religions.
Saint Raphael the Archangel by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
|Archangel, 'Angel of Tobit', Angel of the Trumpet|
|Venerated in||Judaism, Christianity, Islam|
|Attributes||Archangel holding a bottle or flask; Archangel walking with Tobias; Archangel sounding a trumpet; young man carrying a fish; young man carrying a staff|
|Patronage||Apothecaries; Ordained marriage; blind people; bodily ills; diocese of Madison, WI; druggists; archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; insanity; lovers; mental illness; nightmares; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; archdiocese of Seattle, Washington; Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental, Philippines ; Aloguinsan, Cebu, Philippines; shepherds; sick people; travelers; young people|
Medieval French rabbi, author and Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) commentator Rashi views Raphael as being one of the three angels that appeared to Abraham in the oak grove of Mamre in the Book of Genesis. Raphael is also mentioned in the Book of Enoch alongside fellow archangels Michael, Gabriel and Uriel.
Raphael is generally associated with the angel mentioned in the Gospel of John as stirring the water at the healing pool of Bethesda. Raphael is also an angel in Mormonism, as he is briefly mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants. Raphael is also mentioned in the Book of Tobit, which is accepted as canonical by Catholics, Orthodox, and some Anglo-Catholics, as useful for public teaching by Anglicans and considered useful and good to read by Lutherans. Raphael is a venerated angel within the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, and he is often given the title "Saint Raphael".
In Islam, Raphael is the fourth major angel; and in the Muslim tradition, he is known as Israfil. Within Islamic eschatology, Israfil is traditionally attributed to a trumpet, which is poised at his lips, and when God so commands he shall be ready to announce the Day of Resurrection.
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.
According to Jewish tradition in the Talmud, Raphael is identified as one of the three angels that appeared unto Abraham in the oak grove of Mamre, in the region of Hebron. (Gen. xviii; Bava Metzia 86b). Michael, as the greatest, walked in the middle, with Gabriel to his right and Raphael to his left (Yoma 37a). All three angels were commanded to carry out a specific mission. Gabriel's mission was to destroy Sodom; Michael's mission was to inform Sarah that she would give birth to Issac in a year's time; Raphael's mission was to heal Abraham (from his recent circumcision) and save Lot. Rashi writes, "Although Raphael's mission included two tasks, they were considered a single mission since they were both acts that saved people." 
Raphael is named in several Jewish apocryphal books. The Life of Adam and Eve lists the archangels as well: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael and Joel. Medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides made a Jewish angelic hierarchy, which includes archangel Raphael.
In the Book of EnochEdit
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."
Raphael is one of the five angels who keep watch over both the celestial and terrestrial worlds:[clarification needed] "Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men." (1 Enoch 20:7)
When Enoch asked who the four figures were that he had seen: "And he said to me: 'This first is Michael, the merciful and long-suffering: and the second, who is set over all the diseases and all the wounds of the children of men, is Raphael: and the third, who is set over all the powers, is Gabriel: and the fourth, who is set over the repentance unto hope of those who inherit eternal life, is named Phanuel.' And these are the four angels of the Lord of Spirits and the four voices I heard in those days." (Enoch 40:9)
In Catholicism and the Orthodox ChurchEdit
The name of the angel Raphael appears in the Biblical Book of Tobit. The Book of Tobit is considered deuterocanonical 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 course of the journey the archangel's protective influence is shown in many ways including the binding of a demon in the desert of upper Egypt. After returning and healing the blind Tobit, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" Tobit 12:15. He is venerated as Saint Raphael the Archangel.
Regarding the healing powers attributed to Raphael, there is 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 kills every man she marries on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated.
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 of 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.
Due to his actions in the Book of Tobit and the Gospel of John, Saint Raphael is accounted patron of travelers, the blind, happy meetings, nurses, physicians, medical workers, matchmakers, Christian marriage, and Catholic studies. As a particular enemy of the devil, he was revered in Catholic Europe as a special protector of Catholic sailors: on a corner of Venice's famous Doge's Palace, there is a relief depicting Raphael holding a scroll on which is written: "Efficia fretum quietum" (Keep the Gulf quiet). On July 8, 1497, when Vasco Da Gama set forth from Lisbon with his four ship fleet to sail to India, the flagship was named—at the King of Portugal's insistence—the St. Raphael. When the flotilla reached the Cape of Good Hope on October 22, the sailors disembarked and erected a column in the archangel's honor. The little statue of St. Raphael that accompanied Da Gama on the voyage is now in the Naval Museum in Lisbon.
Raphael is said to guard pilgrims on their journeys, and is often depicted holding a staff. He is also often depicted holding or standing on a fish, which alludes to his healing of Tobit with the fish's gall.
The feast day of Raphael was included for the first time in the General Roman Calendar in 1921, for celebration on October 24. With the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar, the feast was transferred to September 29 for celebration together with archangels Saints Michael and Gabriel. Due to Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum, the Catholic Church permits, within certain limits for public use, the General Roman Calendar of 1960, which has October 24 as Raphael's feast day.
The Archangel Raphael is said to have appeared in Cordova, Spain, during the 16th century; in response to the city's appeal, Pope Innocent X allowed the local celebration of a feast in the Archangel's honor on May 7, the date of the principal apparition. Saint John of God, founder of the Hospital order that bears his name, is also said to have received visitations from Saint Raphael, who encouraged and instructed him. In tribute to this, many of the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God's facilities are called “Raphael Centers” to this day. The 18th century Neapolitan nun, Saint Maria Francesca of the Five Wounds is also said to have seen apparitions of Raphael.
Raphael (Arabic: إسرافيل, translit. Isrāfīl, lit. 'The Burning One', alternate spellings: Israfel, Esrafil) is a venerated archangel according to Islamic tradition. In Islamic eschatology, Israfil will blow the trumpet from a holy rock in Jerusalem to announce the Day of Resurrection. The trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders.
In religious traditionEdit
The name "Israfil" (or "Israfel", "Esrafil") is not specifically written in the Qur'an, though there is mention of an unnamed trumpet-angel assumed to identify this figure:
"And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except him whom Allah will ; then it shall be blown again, then they shall stand up awaiting." — Qur'an (39.68).
Certain Islamic sources indicate that, created at the beginning of time, Israfil possesses four wings, and is so tall as to be able to reach from the earth to the pillars of heaven. A beautiful angel who is a master of music, Israfil sings praises to God in a thousand different languages, the breath of which is used to inject life into hosts of angels who add to the songs themselves.
According to Sunni traditions reported by Imam Al-Suyuti, the Ghawth or Qutb ('perfect human being'), is someone who has a heart that resembles that of the archangel Israfil, signifying the loftiness of this angel. The next in rank are the saints who are known as the Umdah or Awtad, amongst whom the highest ones have their hearts resembling that of archangel Mikhail (archangel Michael), and the rest of the lower ranking saints having the heart of Jibrail (archangel Gabriel), and that of the previous prophets before the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The earth is believed to always have one of the Qutb.
Raphael as an angel of healing from impurityEdit
There are instances in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) where angels have the ability to heal an individual from impurity. For example, in the Book of Isaiah, the 8th-century BCE Jewish prophet Isaiah ascends into heaven and sees angels praising the Lord. Their voices were so powerful that they make the pivots on the thresholds shake and filled the temple with smoke. (Isaiah 6: 3-4) All of this power made Isaiah feel unworthy and unclean so he cried out:
"Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" — (Isaiah 6:5).
Then one of the angels, believed to be Raphael,[by whom?] flew to Isaiah and touched his mouth with a live coal that “had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” Once the angel had touched Isaiah’s lips with the coal, he then said, “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” (Isaiah 6: 6-7)
The following places have been named in honor of Raphael:
Saint Raphaël, France; Saint Raphaël, Quebec, Canada; and San Rafaels in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, and the Philippines; also San Rafael de El Moján and San Rafael de Orituco in Venezuela.
- In the United States, San Rafaels inherited from Spain survive in California (where besides the city there are the San Rafael Mountains)
- New Mexico, and Utah, where the San Rafael River flows seasonally in the San Rafael Desert.
- St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin
- St. Raphael's Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Dubuque
- Mission San Rafael Arcángel in San Rafael, California.
- St. Raphael's Church, Huccaby, Hexworthy, Dartmoor National Park, Devon, England
The Arcangelo Raffaello youth confraternity functioned in Florence, Italy from its founding in 1411 to its suppression in 1785.
A Catholic church, St. John of God, from Chicago, IL, was disassembled, moved and reassembled as St. Raphael the Archangel Church in Mill Creek, IL. http://www.chicagotribune.com/ct-lns-new-old-church-st-0218-20150217-story.html
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.
Raphael appears in In Nomine as the Angel of Knowledge, a role-playing game centered around the war between Heaven and Hell in the modern day, apparently sacrificing himself to slay the Demon Prince Legion.
He also appears as "Rafael" in the role-playing game Anima Beyond Fantasy as one of the seven Beryls (god-like spirits of light, all but one having taken female gender). She is identified by the humans with the archangel of the same name and incarnates life and nature.
Characters associated with Angelic figures, at least by borrowing the names, also feature in the video game industry, as an example there is the title: El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron.
Archangel Raphael's famous Indian shrine at Ollur (Kerala) which is the largest Kerala parish with more than four thousand families, and the angel himself with Thobias are the chief characters in George Menachery's short story "A Walk-out at Midnight" in which the huge collection of the church's wooden sculptures become animated.
Raphael features as one of the four archangels in the TV series Supernatural.
- Doctrine and Covenants 128:21.
- "Angels in the Talmud", Jewish Heritage Online Magazine
- "The Book of Enoch: The Book of Enoch: Chapter X". Sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2011-12-05.
- Driscoll, James F. "St. Raphael." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 12. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 3 May 2013
- Weninger, Francis Xavier. Lives of the Saints, P. O'Shea, 1876
- "Sts. Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Archangels", Catholic News Agency
- Dictionary of Patron Saints' Names, Thomas W. Sheehan, p. 514, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2001, ISBN 0-87973-539-2
- "All About St. Raphael the Archangel", St. Raphael Episcopal Church
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 143)
- "Israfil". Encyclopaedia. Britannica. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Israfel, Free Press, pp. 151, 152, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-19757, ISBN 9780029070505
- Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, p. 224, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
- See Jalaluddeen As Suyuti's compilation on the proofs of Qutb, Awtad and Abdals.
- Eisenbichler, Konrad. The Boys of the Archangel Raphael, University of Toronto Press, 1998 ISBN 9781442613034
- http://www.indianchristianity.com/html/menachery.htm[dead link]
- Lovasik S.V.D., Lawrence G., Walking With St. Raphael
- Media related to Archangel Raphael at Wikimedia Commons