Gabriel (man of God) In Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mythology, archangel. Feast: 18 March in the Western church. Gabriel plays a prominent role in the Bible as a messenger of God. He first announces to Daniel the return of the Jews from their captivity (Dan. 8:16) and explains the vision of the various nations (Dan. 9:21). In the New Testament Gabriel announces to Zacharias the coming birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19) and to the Virgin Mary that she will be the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26). In Islam the Koran credits Gabriel, who is called Jiburili (Jibril), with dictating from the perfect copy in heaven the earthly copy of the Koran. Milton, in Paradise Lost (book 4:550), calls Gabriel the “Chief of the angelic guards,” recalling a Jewish belief. In his musical Anything Goes Cole Porter has a brilliant song, “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” which credits the angel with a magnificent trumpet and the task of announcing the end of the world. (The song was introduced by Ethel Merman.) In Western Christian art Gabriel is usually portrayed as the messenger to the Virgin Mary announcing the coming birth of Jesus. He is often shown kneeling before her, holding a scroll with the words Ave Maria, gratia plena (Hail Mary, full of grace). In Greek and Byzantine portrayals Gabriel is usually shown standing, not kneeling.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow-Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante

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