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St. Raphael the Archangel icon by Theophilia St. Raphael the Archangel icon by Theophilia
St. Raphael the Archangel icon
October 18th, 2015
4.5 x 6 inches
Ink, watercolor, gold leaf


“I am the Angel Raphael, I stand in the presence of the Lord;
as for you, bless the Lord, and proclaim his wonderful deeds.”

~ Antiphon for the Feast of the Holy Archangels

“Send holy Raphael tenderly to heal us,
Bringing salvation from our hidden blindness,
And by his counsel may he guide our actions,
Each day and always.”

from the hymn Christe, sanctorum

I have here depicted the Archangel Raphael in green, gold and white, holding a staff in one hand and a fish in the other. The fish is a reference to the book of Tobit wherein the Archangel commands Tobiah to use the heart, gall and liver of the fish as a healing remedy for curing the blindness of Tobit as well as the means of driving away the demon oppressing Sara, the daughter of Raguel. The staff represents his patronage of travelers and pilgrims, as well as designates him as a holy minister of the Lord. On top of the staff I have added a small cross with a serpent around it, as a reference to Numbers 21:9 “And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and if a serpent bit any man and he looked upon the bronze serpent, he would be healed.” This passage also, of course, foreshadows Jesus’ own words in John 3:14 when he says “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up; so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life” referencing His own Passion and Death that would win salvation and healing for the whole world. Likewise, the decorative crosses on Raphael’s mantle and in his other accouterments reference the healing salvation of Christ. The star on his brow signifies his angelic intelligence. He also wears a highly decorative orarion or stole, which indicates his office as a holy minister of the Lord and the band with the flowing ribbons symbolize the speed with which he comes to the aid of those who call on him.

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:+: A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF THE SAINT :+:

Saint Raphael the Archangel (Hebrew for“Healing of God”), is one of the chief Princes of the heavenly hosts along with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, and is one of the seven angels who stand before the Throne of God (Tobit 12:15). The only place where he is explicitly named in Scripture is in the Book of Tobit. In this story, Raphael is sent by God to help two families of devout and pious Israelites in exile. Tobit is a faithful Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali who, along with the rest of Israel, was taken into captivity by the Assyrian king Salmanasar. Living in the city of Nineveh with his wife Anna and his son Tobiah, he persevered in his pious deeds and earned the favor of the king. He deposited ten talents of silver with a relative in the city of Rages, and returned to Nineveh. When Sennacherib came to power, he conceived of a hatred for the Israelite people, but despite the king’s prohibitions, Tobit continued to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bury the dead. While he lay exhausted after performing his charitable deeds, bird’s dung fell on his eyes, forming cataracts and making him blind. After his relatives reviled him and his life was made miserable because of his blindness, Tobit prayed to God for death. On the same day, Sara, the daughter of Raguel was reviled by one her maids because Sara had been married to seven husbands and all of them had died during their wedding night because of a demon named Asmodeus. Sara, in her misery, decided to hang herself, but then thought better of it and instead prayed to God for death. “At that time the prayers of them both were heard in the sight of the glory of the most high God: And the holy angel of the Lord, Raphael was sent to heal them both, whose prayers at one time were heard in the sight of the Lord” (Tobit 3:24-25).

Tobiah was sent by his father to collect the ten talents from the relative in Rages, and was instructed to find a guide for the trip. As Tobiah left the house, he met Raphael on the road and the latter offered to guide him to Rages and back in safety, telling the young man’s father, “Be of good courage, your cure from God is at hand” (Tobit 5:13). As the two traveled together, they rested by the Tigris river where a great fish came up to devour Tobiah. Tobiah killed the fish, and Raphael instructed him to roast the fish and take out the heart, liver and gall which would be useful medicine. Then Raphael guided Tobah to the house of Raguel, a kinsmen of Tobit’s, and informed him of the plight of Sara. When they arrived in Raguel’s house, Tobiah asked for the hand of Sara, and they were married. On their wedding night, following the advice of the angel, Tobiah burned the heart and liver which drove out the demon Asmodeus. Then Raphael fought and bound the demon in the wastes of upper Egypt. After the marriage, Raguel persuaded Tobiah to stay with him for some days, even though Tobiah knew that his father was counting the days with great anxiety. Therefore, he asked Raphael to go in his stead to collect the talents, and when he had done so, Tobiah, Sara, and Raphael all left for Nineveh. Once Tobit arrived home, Raphael instructed him to use the fish’s gall and anoint his father’s eyes and cure his blindness. When the time came for Tobit to repay Raphael for all he had done for him and his son, the angel revealed himself as the Archangel Raphael, saying: “I shall now tell you the whole truth and conceal nothing at all from you. I have already said to you, ‘A king’s secret should be kept secret, but one must declare the works of God with due honor.' Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury that dead man, I was sent to put you to the test. At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand and serve before the Glory of the Lord…Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever. As for me, when I was with you, I was not acting out of any favor on my part, but by God’s will. So bless God every day; give praise with song…So now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. Look, I am ascending to the one who sent me. Write down all that has happened to you.” (Tobit 12:11-20)

Raphael, in his ministry of healing, is also thought to be “the Angel of the Lord” mentioned in John 5:4 who stirred the Pool of Bethsaida which cured the first person to touch its waters.

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“Raphael means, "medicine of God." Note that Raphael heals us by bestowing three benefits to cure us of evil. Raphael the physician heals the illness of our souls by leading us to the bitterness of contrition. Therefore in the book of Tobias it is said, "When thou shalt enter thy house, anoint his eyes with gall." Tobias did so, his father's eyes were healed, and he saw. Why could Raphael not do this himself? Because an angel cannot give contrition, he can merely point the way. The gall symbolizes the bitterness of contrition which heals the inner eye of the mind. As the psalm say, "Who heals the broken heart." The bitterness of contrition is the best eye salve. In the second chapter of Judges it is related that the angel ascended to the place of the weepers and said to the people, "I have led you out of the land of Egypt, I have done for you so many and such good things." All the people wept so that the place is called the place of the weepers. Dearly beloved, all day long the angels tell us of the blessings of God and recall them to our memories. Who created you? Who redeemed you? What have you done? Whom have you offended? If you consider these things you have no recourse but to weep.

In the second place, Raphael leads us out of the devil's bondage by recalling to our minds the Passion of Christ. This is expressed figuratively in the sixth chapter of Tobias. Raphael says, "If thou wilt place a little piece of its heart upon the coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kinds of devils." In the eighth chapter we read that Tobias did place the little piece of its heart upon the coals, and that Raphael bound the devil in the desert of upper Egypt. What does this mean? Could not Raphael have bound the devil if the heart had not been placed upon the coals? Did the heart of a fish give such great power to an Angel? Not at all. The heart of the fish in itself could do nothing; its significance lies in it as a mystical figure. Here we are to understand that there is today nothing which can free us from the slavery of the devil but the Passion of Christ. This proceeded from the depths of His Heart, namely from His love. The heart is the warm fountain of all life. If therefore you place upon the coals, that is, upon your kindled memory, the Heart of Christ that is the Passion He underwent which sprang from the root of charity and font of all warm affection, the devil will be bound instantly. He cannot harm you.

Thirdly, Raphael frees us from the wrath of God which we incur by sinning against God. He does this by inducing us to pray earnestly. This is what Raphael the Archangel told Tobias in the twelfth chapter, "When thou didst pray with tears, I offered thy prayer to the Lord." the angels themselves, so far as they are able, try to reconcile us with God. The devils are our accusers before God. The angels excuse us when they offer to God the prayers they have induced us to say devoutly. This we read in the eighth chapter of the Apocalypse [the Book of Revelations], "The smoke of the incense ascended in the sight of God from the hands of the Angel." Those sweet fragrant spices are the prayers of the saints. Would you appease God whom you have offended? Pray then with fervor. The angels offer your prayer to God in order to reconcile you with him. In like manner, it is related that when Christ was in agony in the garden, he prayed the more earnestly. An angel appeared and comforted Him. All this was done for our sake. Christ had no need to be comforted. Rather was it done to show that the Angels help those who pray earnestly, that they help them willingly, comfort them and offer their prayers to God. ~ from a sermon by St. Bonaventure

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Prayer to the Archangel Raphael
O heavenly physician and faithful companion, St. Raphael, who didst restore sight to the elder Tobias,
and guide the younger in his long journey and preserve him in safety; be thou the physician of my soul and body,
disperse the dark clouds of ignorance, defend me from the dangers of my earthly pilgrimage,
and lead me to that heavenly country where, with thee, I may gaze forever on the face of God. Amen.


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:rose: The Feast of St. Raphael the Archangel is celebrated on September 29th. :rose:

St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, the blind, matchmakers, physicians, healers, and happy meetings.

O God who in Your ineffable goodness
has made blessed Raphael
the conductor of Your faithful in their journeys,
we humbly implore You that we may be conducted by him
in the way of salvation, and experience his help
in the maladies of our souls.
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwaltsland:
waltsland Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2017  Student Filmographer
my name is Rafael too;):)
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cool! :D
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:iconwaltsland:
waltsland Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2017  Student Filmographer
inded;):) i love your art and show it to my gran-mother and she loves it:);)
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awww! I'm very happy to hear that! :aww:
Reply
:iconwaltsland:
waltsland Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2017  Student Filmographer
you welcome;):)
Reply
:iconthedoctorizin:
TheDoctorIzIn Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this icon of Saint Raphael the Archangel.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :aww:
Reply
:iconshadowwolf4545:
Shadowwolf4545 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2016
It truly is beautiful. Raphael is my favourite of the Arch angels as he shows compassion and benevolence whilst leading Tobias on a dangerous journey to retrieve some money.
I drew a picture of Saint John of God but there is no comparison as mine is in pencil and yours is in the full glory of colour.
Your work is truly wondrous in portraying a wondrous Saint.
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :meow:
Reply
:iconshadowwolf4545:
Shadowwolf4545 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2016
No problem
Reply
:icontheguywiththeredhair:
Was Raphael an Israelite? He would be darker.
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No, he's an angel. Angels are pure spirit and therefore have no bodies. However, they are able to assume forms that are perceptible to us. 
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:icontheguywiththeredhair:
The Bible doesn't say they can appear in any way. It gives us forms of angels. Seraphim, Cherubim, Archangels, Angels, etc.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I could cite a number of scriptural passages that show that angels have appeared to people in a form that is perceived as a body. 

According to Scripture, Angels are "ministering" spirits (Hebrews 1:14), and as Jesus says after His Resurrection, when telling His disciples that He had truly risen, "spirit hath not flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39). But angels can take on the "appearance of man." (See Daniel 8:15; 10:16, 18.) And clearly, angels can seem to be humans, because as the story of Abraham shows and as St. Paul says: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2). There are also numerous passages where the sight of an angel fills the onlooker with great fear. 

Those are just a couple of examples, but you could also look at the passages where angels appear to people to announce some message (especially pregnancies), like to the mother of Samson, or to Mary, the Mother of Jesus, or to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Clearly they appear to people in some form that is perceptible to those to whom they are giving their message, otherwise the message wouldn't be delivered!
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:icontheguywiththeredhair:
Yes, I see that. I thought you meant angels, can be in any shape at all, whether or not they are on Earth. That's what I meant. But if one were to come to Earth, specifically to Israel in this case, their skin would be darker.
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:iconaimeefish:
aimeefish Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2016
Do you sell prints of your work? I would love to buy one of St. Raphael! 
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Absolutely! You can find the information for ordering prints at the bottom of my journal, here: theophilia.deviantart.com/jour…
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:iconsullobog:
sullobog Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016
I always thought of Raphael as the angel for the common person
healing, finding a spouse, financial security, traveling
like
the concerns of the average person
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well he certainly is that! :D
Reply
:iconfrcarmenofm:
FrCarmenOFM Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2015
Dear Theophilia
I've been involved in iconography for more than thirty years; this depiction of Raphael far surpasses anything I've seen in contemporary iconography. The strength, intensity and compassion portrayed stuns the viewer and opens the spirit. I would love to have a copy of this for my prayer corner. Is there any way to obtain a rendering of this Icon? You have a rare and beautiful gift thank you for sharing this vision with the universe. Your theological background is profound and serves well in the work of writing the message contained in the Holy Images. thank you again a Blessed Christmas Season and a New Year of Health Joy Serenity and creativity for you and yours. Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Fr. Carmen OFM Minister of Holy Dormition Friary Byzantine Franciscans Sybertsville, Pennsylvania USA
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you Father! I'll have your print made and sent this week! :D God bless!
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:iconnatamon:
natamon Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2015  Professional Artisan Crafter
It's so nice to see a fellow-iconographer here on DA, with as much dedication as you have. God Bless you for making so many of these icons accessible here. <3
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! I love seeing your work with your own unique and wonderful style as well! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! :glomp:
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:iconbelianis:
belianis Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
My mother is very devoted to Saint Raphael. When she was giving birth to me on 18 Sept 1954 she kept exclaiming: oh, Saint Raphael! Oh, Saint Raphael! Another mother in the same ward heard her, and told her to pray instead to Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of new mothers.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, he's a good patron to pray to you in any case! :D
Reply
:icona-little-tea-rat:
A-Little-Tea-Rat Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015
Beautiful picture!

I love the story of Tobias
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! Me too! :aww:
Reply
:icona-little-tea-rat:
A-Little-Tea-Rat Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2015
You're welcome ^-^
Reply
:icondeanjohnsonartstudio:
DeanJohnsonArtStudio Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Another excellent Archangel image!
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconaquarellesplash:
AquarelleSplash Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh! Beautiful! ♥
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:love:
Reply
:iconholyartsalchemist:
HolyArtsAlchemist Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
What majesty.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:meow:
Reply
:iconmethowwolf:
methowwolf Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh, wow, he looks gorgeous!
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconmethowwolf:
methowwolf Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconredscarfluxio:
RedScarfLuxio Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love this! Raphael is my favourite angel :)
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
He is pretty cool. :D
Reply
:iconnkhyi-naonzgo:
nKhyi-naonZgo Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Tobit is one of the weirdest books in the Bible.

The green wings are cool, kinda like a macaw.
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hahah, really? If I were to pick a "weirdest book of the Bible" I think my first thought would be Revelations. :XD:

Thanks! :D
Reply
:iconnkhyi-naonzgo:
nKhyi-naonZgo Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Welcome.

But I think Tobit is weirder because Revelation is avowedly symbolic. Tobit isn't.

But yeah, Revelation does bear an uncanny resemblance to a fever-dream.
Reply
:iconnekoshappiness33:
nekoshappiness33 Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Very impressive artwork.  I love how you drew him.  He looks so amazing!!  Are you making this icon into a deck of oracle cards or tarot cards? 
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:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you! :D
Reply
:iconzhaneaugustine:
ZhaneAugustine Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015
Nice
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:D
Reply
:iconzhaneaugustine:
ZhaneAugustine Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015
^^
Reply
:icondcjbeers:
DCJBeers Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2015
Very, very great!
Reply
:icontheophilia:
Theophilia Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:icondcjbeers:
DCJBeers Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015
Your welcome!
Reply
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