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DW: Where do angels come from?

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Where do angels come from and why do they have wings? What role do they play in our world? Angels haven’t just been part of our culture since the decline of paganism; they were also part of ancient Greek, Aztec and ancient Near East mythology. When did they become a central motif in Christianity’s most important churches? We explore how they are depicted and how fashions have changed over the centuries. The story of the angels since pagan times is also uniquely our own. In Christianity, angels are the central mediators between God, whom mankind never see, and the faithful who seek contact with Him. They are heavenly beings who proclaim the Word of God and who guide and help man, but who also judge sinners when they stray from the path of faith. The angels are hierarchically ordered, they embody the Heavenly Host, proclaim God, and execute His will. They are, therefore, of outstanding importance in early Christian sculpture, especially the Byzantine mosaics – for they represent the order of Heaven. And order there must be, for order is the essence of perfection. Later they became the servants of the Son of God incarnate and even of the Virgin Mary, who was human – unlike the angels themselves, who are not human but spiritual beings.

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