areopagite

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Symbolon

Divine Darkness::Uncreated Light

From all eternity, He contained within Himself the pre-existing logoi of created beings. When, in His good will, He formed out of nothing the substance of the visible and invisible worlds, He did so on the basis of these logoi. By His word (logos) and His wisdom He created and continues to create all things—universals as well as particulars—at the appropriate time.” (Ambiguum 7.16)

For other angelic hierarchies, see Hierarchy of angels.

The

Assumption of the Virgin

by

Francesco Botticini

  • at the National Gallery London, shows three hierarchies and nine orders of angels, each with different characteristics.

Orthodox icon of nine orders of angels.

The most influential Christian angelic hierarchy was that put forward by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in the 4th or 5th century in his book De Coelesti Hierarchia (On the Celestial Hierarchy). During theMiddle Ages, many schemes were proposed, some drawing on and expanding on Pseudo-Dionysius, others suggesting completely different classifications. According to medieval Christian theologians, the angelsare organized into several orders, or “Angelic Choirs”.[1][2]

Pseudo-Dionysius (On the Celestial Hierarchy) and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica) drew on passages from the New Testament, specifically Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 1:16, to develop a schema of three Hierarchies, Spheres or Triads of angels, with each Hierarchy containing three Orders or Choirs. Although both authors drew on the New Testament, the Biblical canon is relatively silent on the subject. Thus these hierarchies are highly speculative.

areopagite.org
Neither Diffuse nor Prolix

The whole Logos of God is neither diffuse nor prolix but is a unity embracing a diversity of principles, each of which is an aspect of the Logos. Thus he who speaks about the truth, however fully h…

All particular truths are an aspect of the one Truth. When we speak of the Truth we can ultimately only speak of the “one Logos of God”. When St Maximos writes that the Logos is neither “diffuse nor prolix” he is teaching us that there is no diminution of the Logos, that he is fully present in all things. The Truth is a unity, that is the Truth is one; it is not divided nor lessened, and it is not made weaker like a drop of wine placed in a glass of water. It is not stretched out to become thin and thus lacking in any of its fullness. The Logos is the source and content of Truth. The diverse principles of all reality are thus contained within the One Logos of God. This diversity is not made less real or actual by its unity in the Logos, nor is the Unity broken or diminished by the fact that there is a “diversity of principles”. The One and the Many are rooted in the Logos, the source of all things and the source and content of their unity.