26 January 2013

The Seven Angels of Palermo

The following passage and list is a rough translation from the Italian Benedicaria: La "Magia" Popolare e delle Campagne in Sicilia. My interest in sharing this in English is to get some feedback from my English-speaking colleagues who are practitioners of liturgy and other rituals.  What intrigues me about the colors and many other attributes is that they are very different from the colors and attributes often ascribed to the Archangels in the Hermetic, Rosicrucian, Golden Dawn and contemporary Johannite traditions.

In 1515, by means of the Reverend Father Antonio Lo Duca, an icon was found of the seven archangels with their names in the square behind the Cathedral of Palermo, known today as Sett'Angeli square. Urged by different visions of the Archangels in which he was asked to spread devotion to them and that he build a church dedicated to them, Father Lo Duca obtained permission from Pope Leo X to build a church dedicated to the Seven Archangels, called Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated near the today's Termini Station.

The Bible repeatedly mentions the seven spirits who are before God (Tobit 12.15, Revelation 1:4) and three of them mentions them clearly, namely: Michael (Daniel 10.13 to 21, 12.1; Letter 1.9 Judah, Revelation 12:7), Gabriel (Daniel 8.16, 9.21, Luke 1.19, 1.26), Raphael (Tobit 3:25; 12.15), the name of the other four Archangels is known, as well as from the books of the Apocrypha, Uriel is mentioned in the apocryphal Book of Enoch and IV non-canonical Book of Ezra), including through the discovery took place in Palermo. In art, as well as their names (ending in - and - God - are "theophori", i.e., bearers of God), are shown in symbols, as described below:
The Lo Duca Icon, Palermo   

St. Michael the Archangel
Symbol: Sword and Lucifer underfoot
Epithet: victorious
Color: yellow - gold - orange
Planet: sun
Day: Sunday
Metal: gold
Incense - ruta - gum arabic - Frankincense - saffron - orange peel - sunflower - laurel
Stone: Diamond
Theological virtue: intellect
Deadly Sin: Pride
Sacrament: Eucharist

St. Gabriel the Archangel
Symbol with mirror made of jasper and torch
Epithet: messenger
Color: white - black - gray
Planet moon
Day: Monday
Metal: silver
Incense sandalwood - Ginger - Jasmine - myrrh - Tuberous
Stone: Pearl - moonstone
Theological virtues: wisdom
Deadly Sin: Sloth
Sacrament: Baptism

St. Raphael the Archangel
Symbol with medicine and Tobias
Epithet: healer
Color: purple - brown
Planet: mercury
Day: Wednesday
Metal: mercury
Incense jasmine - cloves - Chamomile - Cinnamon - lavender flowers - storax - lemon zest -   
parsley - corriander
Stone: mercury
Theological virtue: Science
Deadly sin: gluttony
Sacrament: Anointing of the Sick

St. Uriel the Archangel
Symbol with sword and flame
Epithet: strong ally
Color: red
Planet Mars
Day: Tuesday
Metal: iron
Incense cinnamon - black peppercorns - oak - benzoin - Geranium - nettle.
Stone: Ruby
Theological virtue: fortress
Deadly Sin: Wrath
Sacrament: marriage

Saint Barachiele Archangel
Symbol with roses to distribute
Epithet: aide
Color: green and pink
Planet Venus
Day: Friday
Metal: aluminum
Incense thousand flowers - rose petals crushed - nutmeg - red sandalwood - verbena, orange Blossom - apple
Stone: Emerald
Theological virtue: mercy
Deadly Sin: Lust
Sacrament: Confirmation

Saint Geudiele Archangel
Symbol with crown and scourge
Epithet: rewarder
Color: blue
Planet Jupiter
Day: Thursday
Metal: copper
Incense rose and honey - cedar - incense resin powder - saffron flowers - benzoin - mint -  
Stone: Coral
Theological virtue: advice
Deadly Sin: Envy
Sacrament: Penance

Saint Sealtiele Archangel
Symbol in prayer
Epithet: praying
Color: black
Planet: Saturn
Day: Saturday
Metal: Lead
Incense: violet - myrrh - storax - ruta - cypress - moss - dandelion
Stone: onyx
Theological virtue: the fear of God
Deadly Sin: Greed
Sacrament: Holy Orders

The original icon was destroyed, but a copy of it is located at the top right next to the chapel of the relics in the Cathedral of Palermo.