Our Patron Saint
James Powell and Sons, Saint Uriel (1888)
Mosaic in Saint John's Church,
Saint Uriel Reredos Panel
Copy of 1947 original by J. & R. Lamb Studios
Saint Uriel Window, Baptistery
St. Uriel the Archangel
O holy St. Uriel, intercede for us that our hearts may burn with the fire of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Assist us in co-operating with the graces of our confirmation that the gifts of the Holy Spirit may bear much fruit in our souls. Obtain for us the grace to use the sword of truth to pare away all that is not in conformity to the most adorable Will of God in our lives, that we may fully participate in the army of the Church Militant. Amen.
IN JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN TRADITION
The word angel means "messenger" or "envoy." In traditional Christian angelology, Archangels and Angels rank at the bottom of the angelic hierarchy, after Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, and Principalities.
Not explicitly mentioned in the canonical Scriptures, Saint Uriel has sometimes been identified as the angel with the flaming sword guarding the gate East of Eden (Genesis 3:24), and as the angel standing in the sun in the Revelation to John (19:7). He thus appears at both the beginning and the end of the biblical canon.
In Jewish intertestamental literature Uriel brings light to Israel. The name Uriel means “God is my light." He is often shown with an open hand holding a flame. A book or scroll symbolizes his talents for the interpretation of prophecy.
Uriel is mentioned in the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, serving as God’s messenger to Noah. He also appears in the apocryphal book II Esdras, where he is sent by God to enlighten Esdras who is in perplexity about the problem of evil and the ways of God (4:1).
St. Uriel is the patron of the Sacrament of Confirmation. He carries the Sword of Truth for Soldiers of Christ, which we become through this sacrament. His fire reminds us of the flames of Pentecost of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In the Anglican tradition, Uriel is often portrayed in art as the fourth Archangel, along with Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, sometimes associated with the four winds. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, he is counted among seven or sometimes eight Archangels (the others being Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel).
To curb abuses associated with angel worship in the Christian West, in 745 AD Pope St. Zachary removed Uriel from the angels eligible for veneration in the Roman Church, retaining only the three Archangels mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures.
Partly for this reason, at St. Uriel's we keep our patronal festival as St. Michael and All Angels, celebrated annually on September 29th or the Sunday following.
As well as in many other works of English literature, St. Uriel figures prominently in Books III and IV of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), where he is called the "Regent of the Sun."
Leonardo da Vinci, Saint Uriel and the Christ Child
Detail of The Virgin of the Rocks (between 1483 and 1486)
Possibly the most famous depiction of Saint Uriel in Western Christian art is based on an apocryphal legend in which Uriel rescues the infant John the Baptist from King Herod's Massacre of the Innocents and reunites him with the infant Jesus in Egypt
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, Saint Uriel (1930)
Sanctuary Carving, St. Augustine's Church