Are angels male or female

Latin America Institute (LAI)

Angels are mentioned in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. They are either messengers of God, guardians, princes and guardian angels. If they have proven to be unworthy of their responsibility, they also appear as fallen angels ("Angel Fall" - Lucifer).

The worship of angels is due to the Archangel Michael. He is called the “great prince” and protector of the chosen people and the Christian Church and is the defender of souls. Together with Gabriel (Dan 8.16; 9.21; Lk 1.26) and Raphael (Tob 12.15) they are the only angels named in the Bible.

Angels have been represented since early Christianity and appear in various contexts and functions. Over time, the representations changed and the angels were adapted to contemporary ideals.

In the beginning - in the early Christian phase - they were portrayed only male and wingless, later then increasingly boyish and with wings. From the baroque period onwards, depictions of angels became more and more decorative.

"Archangel Gabriel" with feathers on his head. Church from Chincheros: Teresa Gisbert “Iconografía y mitos indígenas en el arte” (2004) Fig. 84 © Editorial Gisbert

Compared to Europe, the meaning and representation of angels in Andean America differ. Unlike in Europe, however, the origin of the angels cannot be derived from the Bible. The meeting of Christianity and the religions there gave rise to a unique kind of angel. Here the angels acted as “true” mediators between the two worlds.

The worldview of the Andean people, shaped by an incredibly strong belief in the power and strength of astronomy, met the monotheistic worldview of the Europeans. In this "gray area" there was a mixture of Christian and Andean ideas. Angels personified heavenly phenomena. The worship of the stars was thus brought into a Christian framework. The angels in the Andes united Christianity and Andean cosmology.

Angels of War (arcabucero) (CC) Vicrogo

Particularly noteworthy are the so-called "angel series" (pictorial representation of various angels - especially in the area of ​​Cuzco and Potosí). Here, unlike in Europe, the Andean angels - based on their function - are given worldly attributes such as B. lances, plume, musket, armor and Roman skirt shown. According to their attributes, these angels are also called military angels (arcabuceros). In the considerations of the Bishop of Dionisio Areopagita from the 6th century, he classifies angels into three types (e.g. archangels).

In colonial America the angels also took the place of those that were sparsely represented at the beginning Saints a. You have retained your importance to this day and, along with the Trinity, are of the greatest importance. They are an integral part of the Andean culture. This is particularly expressed in art and also in folklore - in the form of dances.

Sebastian Lewicz

Angels from the group of Chatrioulsis with feathers on their heads. La Paz Bolivia 1954 from: Teresa Gisbert “Iconografía y mitos indígenas en el arte” (2004) Fig. 81 © Editorial Gisbert

Archangel Michael Carnival La Paz Bolivia. 1954 from: Teresa Gisbert “Iconografía y mitos indígenas en el arte” (2004) Fig. 83 © Editorial Gisbert