Angels, in general, are considered to be spiritual beings that have been created by God to act as messengers. Usually, they are considered to be invisible and they fulfil their tasks that have been assigned by God. In Christianity, there is believed to be a hierarchy of angels who are split into three orders, from lowest to highest. The hierarchy of angels was proposed by Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite in the 4th and 5th centuries. The ‘celestial hierarchy,’ was considered to be a theology that there are 9 types of angels that are organized into three orders. Let’s explore these orders.
Dionysius describes as the first order of angels to be those who are in closest proximity to God, are perpetually pure and they also contain His interminable Knowledge. They basically hold the most understanding of the Divine and revel in their knowledge as primal and pure splendours. They remain in God’s presence at all times and this topmost order in the hierarchy of angels are called ‘Seraphim,’ which translates to, ‘the burning ones,’ which symbolizes the passionate love they possess for God. The Cherubim and The Thrones are also considered to be part of the highest order.
Dionysius describes the middle order of angels to be those who are a level lower than the Seraphim, and kind of operate as the ‘middle management.’ They are selfless, aspiring to be as close to the Lord as possible and doing all that they can to fulfil their duties. They are known to lead those from the lower order to possess Divine Knowledge. This choir of angels are known to be God’s tools in ordering and navigating all of his creating and helping in guiding the universe. The Dominion, the Virtues and the Powers are known to be part of the middle order.
Dionysius describes the lowest order of angels to be those who have established control over specific groups of people and also helped to organize the nations. They are basically known to be the tier of angels who have direct contact with humans. This order comprises of Archangels and Angels as well as Principalities. It is believed by Christians that not only does every person have a Guardian Angel, but every nation does too. They are God’s messenger angels who delivered messages like when Messiah was born to Virgin Mary.
Catholic belief usually considered this traditional hierarchy of angels to be the most trusted. However, the code of the Church does not actually officially include this order.
Of course, Dionysius never claimed that he has all the answers and that there may be a lot more or fewer angels and they may have different tasks and hierarchies. But, these three orders are known to be the most plausible due to Dionysius’s in-depth research and it is said to be in accordance with Catholic theology.
The hierarchy of angels, of course, does differ depending on which religion you research along with the jobs, appearances and traits of the angels.