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(gā`brēəl), archangel, the divine herald. In the Bible he appears to Daniel (twice), to Zacharias, and to the Virgin Mary in the Annunciation (Dan. 8.16; 9.21; Luke 1.19,26,27). Christian tradition makes Gabriel the archangel trumpeter of the Last Judgment (1 Thes. 4.16). In Islam, Gabriel revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, becoming the angel of truth. In art and literature Gabriel is mainly treated as the angel of the Annunciation. In the Annunciation he often carries a lily, properly the symbol of the Virgin. He is often represented on churches with trumpet raised and facing east, ready to proclaim the second coming of Christ. Feast: Sept. 29 (jointly with other archangels).
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The Bible names only one of the angels who appear in connection with Jesus' birth. The Gospel according to Luke states that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary to tell her that she would bear a son whom she should name Jesus (Luke 1:26-35). Christians call this event the Annunciation.

Gabriel in the Bible

Who is Gabriel and why was he sent to bear such important news? Religious scholars often begin a discussion of the angel by analyzing the meaning of his name. Some say it means "God is my warrior"; others translate it as "man of God." Still others believe it should be translated as "power of God" or "hero of God." Gabriel is one of only two angels mentioned by name in the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament (the other is Michael). In the Book of Daniel, Gabriel helps Daniel interpret his visions and informs him of God's plan for the end of time (Daniel 8-12). Gabriel returns again in the New Testament, or Christian scriptures. In the Gospel according to Luke he appears to Zechariah to tell him that he and his wife will conceive a child, John, who will serve as the forerunner to Jesus Christ (Luke 1:11-20). Shortly afterwards Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to announce her forthcoming pregnancy (Luke 1:26-38). Thus the Bible tends to cast Gabriel as God's herald. Because he frequently brings news of God's doings to human beings, he is sometimes referred to as the Angel of Revelation.

Gabriel in Christian Art

In the Gospel according to Luke Gabriel identifies himself as someone who "stand[s] in the presence of God" (Luke 1:19). This has led many Christians to conclude that he is one of the few high-ranking angels known as archangels. Over the centuries Christian artists have portrayed Gabriel as a solemn, male figure wearing beautiful robes. In earlier works of art Gabriel often carries a scepter. In more recent works he holds a lily, a symbol of the purity and goodness of the Virgin Mary.

Jewish and Muslim Beliefs

Jewish lore assigns Gabriel many different jobs. The Book of Enoch portrays him as an overseer of the Garden of Eden (see also Adam and Eve Day). Other apocryphal texts and legends have shown him as one of the four angels who stand round the throne of God, a participant in the destruction of Sodom and the army of Sennacherib, and one of those who prayed for the world at the time of the Great Flood. Muslims, too, honor the angel Gabriel, whom they know as Jibril. They believe him to be the angel who dictated the Qur'an - the holy book of Islam - to the prophet Muhammad.

Christian Lore

Christian lore not only places Gabriel at the scene of Jesus' birth but also at the scene leading up to Jesus' death. Perhaps because of his biblical role as a herald, Christian legends have suggested that Gabriel was the unnamed angel that brought the good news of Jesus' birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-12). Another folk belief places Gabriel in the Garden of Gethsemane as Jesus prayed and waited for the men who would come to arrest him and condemn him to death. Both of these tales emphasize Gabriel's role as the angel of mercy. Michael, by contrast, functions as the angel of judgment. (In Jewish lore these roles are reversed, with Michael serving as the angel of mercy while Gabriel acts as the angel of judgment.)


In 1951 Pope Pius XII gave Gabriel a new role to play, modernizing his ancient task as a transmitter of messages. He declared Gabriel to be the patron saint of all those who work in the field of telecommunications. Gabriel also serves as the traditional patron of messengers, diplomats, clergy members, postal workers, and stamp collectors.

Further Reading

Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels. New York: Free Press, 1967. Fallon, T. L. "Gabriel, Archangel." In New Catholic Encyclopedia. Volume 6. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967. Godwin, Malcom. Angels: An Endangered Species. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990. Pope, Hugh. "St. Gabriel the Archangel." In Charles B. Hervermann, ed. Catholic Encyclopedia. Nashville, Tenn.: T. Nelson, 1913. Available on the World Wide Web at: Strauss, Mark L. "Gabriel." In David Noel Freedman, ed. Eerdmans Dic-tionary of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000.

Web Site

"Gabriel the Archangel," a page available through Catholic Forum, a web site affiliated with Liturgical Publications of St. Louis, at:
Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year's Celebrations, 2nd ed. © Omnigraphics, Inc. 2003


angel of the annunciation; tells Mary she will bear Christ child. [N.T.: Luke 1:26–38]
See: Angel


messenger angel; tells Mary she will bear Christ child. [N.T.: Luke 1:26–38]


announces births of Jesus and John the Baptist. [N.T.: Luke 1:19, 26]


angel who will blow the trumpet to announce the coming of Judgment Day. [Christian Trad.: Century Cyclopedia, 1667]
See: Trumpet
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Jacques-Ange . 1698--1782, French architect: designed the Petit Trianon at Versailles


Bible one of the archangels, the messenger of good news (Daniel 8:16--26; Luke 1:11--20, 26--38)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A graphical DSP language for simulation and real systems.

["A Design Tool for Hardware and Software for Multiprocessor DSP Systems," E.A. Lee, E. Goei, J. Bier & S. Bhattacharya, DSP Systems, Proc ISCAS-89, 1989].


/gay'bree-*l/ (After Richard Gabriel) An unnecessary (in the opinion of the opponent) stalling tactic, e.g. tying one's shoelaces or combing one's hair repeatedly, asking the time, etc. Also used to refer to the perpetrator of such tactics. Also, "pulling a Gabriel", "Gabriel mode".
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References in periodicals archive ?
For someone asserting common grounds, the accounts of Virgin Mary, visitation of Archangel Gabriel, the conversations therein, virgin birth of Jesus and arrival of Messiah are remarkably similar in the Gospels and Holy Quran.
On one of his regular sojourns meditating in a cave near Mecca, he told of being visited by the Archangel Gabriel. His preaching of these revelations gained him thousands of followers and would later form the basis of the Qur'an.
Visitors were able to watch the students as they wrote the icons of the Archangel Gabriel and Mary in studios in the Old Stables, Cathedral Close.
The archangel Gabriel delivers us a brown paper bag with our morning eucharist with a small "e." I smell the "real real crispy" bacon.
He has an impressive pedigree, being the Grandson of the Archangel Gabriel. Gabriel has passed on his knowledge and abilities to Jonathan but without giving him the ability to access any of it.
These days we use a wide variety of ornaments, such as garland, tinsel, and candy canes with an angel or star placed at the top of the tree to represent the archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem.
After Mary's Purification and the presentation of Jesus in the temple, Joseph was tempted to settle with his family in Bethlehem because of all that had happened there; but one night, he was visited in sleep by the Archangel Gabriel who said "Arise and take the Child and His Mother and fly into Egypt, and be there until I tell thee.
It is there that the reason for their itinerant lifestyle is revealed--Gabe is the incarnation of the archangel Gabriel. Gabe does not buy the news at first, not even after he meets the beautiful Micah, who is the female manifestation of the archangel Michael.
Once I found myself playing Jack The Ripper in the evening while rehearsing the Archangel Gabriel during the day!
IRONICALLY enough, his name was derived from the Archangel Gabriel. A little before noon on June 28, 1914, Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip changed the course of history in Sarajevo while loitering outside Moritz Schiller's cafe.
On the seventh day, the Archangel Gabriel found Him having a kip.
I can't see where this unholy mess will all end, short of an intervention by the Archangel Gabriel.