By Martina Bollini

Today, 24 October, is the feast day of Saint Raphael the Archangel. Raphael is one of the seven Archangels, and one of the only three mentioned by name in the Bible, together with Gabriel and Michael (Luke 1:9–26; Jude 1:9).

Raphael only appears in the Biblical Book of Tobit, as the travelling companion of Tobias, Tobit’s son. He initially presents himself as “Azarias the son of the great ananias”. Back from his journey with Tobias (sent to Media to collect a debt), Raphael delivers Sarah, Tobias’ future wife, from the demon Asmodeus, and heals the blind Tobit. His true identity is then revealed and he makes himself known as “the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15). In virtue of his healing powers, Saint Raphael is also believed to be the archangel who healed the multitude of infirm at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-4).

St. Raphael is the patron saint of travelers, and as such he is depicted holding a staff. Often, he is represented with Tobias, holding or standing on a fish, which alludes to the healing of Tobit with a fish’s gall.

Francesco Botticini, The Three Archangels and Tobias, 1470, tempera on wood, Florence, Uffizi Gallery.

Pietro Perugino, The Archangel Raphael with Tobias, 1496-1500, oil with some egg tempera on poplar, London, National Gallery.

Altobello Melone, Tobias and the Angel, early 1520s, oil on panel, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum.

Domenichino, Landscape with Tobias laying hold of the Fish, 1610-13, oil on copper, London, National Gallery.

Francesco and Gianantonio Guardi, The healing of Tobit, c. 1750, oil on canvas, Venice, Church of the Arcangelo Raffaele.

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2 thoughts on “Today, 24 October, is the feast day of Saint Raphael the Archangel.

  1. Thank you for this beautiful article on Saint Raphael the Archangel, and his journey with Tobias. Earlier today, as I thought about the date October 24, I was quite certain that it was the traditional feast of Saint Raphael. But since more recently the three named/known arc angels have shared a Feast day on September 29, and so I didn’t give it any more thought. My name is Mary Raphael, and I recently was blessed with a grandson whom my daughter and son-in-law named Leo Raphael!
    It wasn’t until a rosary friend of mine said happy feast day to me and shared this link that I gave it any more thought! Thank you for making my “feast day” a special day for me!! God bless you!

  2. Hello,
    I am interested in learning more about the angels. If you have any east to follow material. Thank you in advance.

    God bless!

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