powers (curetes, potestates) In the pseudo-Dionysian hierarchy, the sixth highest order of angels. Powers fight against evil spirits who seek to wreak havoc through human beings. They protect the divine plans initiated by the DOMINIONS and carried out by the VIRTUES. They are sometimes equated with AUTHORITIES, DYnameIS, and EXOUSIAI. St. PAUL alluded to their capability to be either good or evil: in Romans 8:38, he lists powers (as well as Angels and PRINCIPALITIES) as among obstacles that will not be able to separate man from the love of God in Jesus Christ. Pope Gregory the Great said powers presided over DemonS. Their chief is said to be either Samael or Camael, both angels of darkness.

The Excerpt of Theodotus says that powers were the first created angels. According to AGRIPPA, powers are equated with the Orphic curetes, of whom there are three, and who guard the king of gods, Jupiter (Zeus). They help men fight against “the enemies of this earthly tabernacle.” In Kabbalistic lore, powers—along with DOMINIONS and VIRTUES—form one of four triplicities of intelligible hierarchies. In the Apocalypse of ADAM, a Gnostic text, the term “powers” refers to angels of the creator God who oppress humanity and try to rescue Gnostics.


Encyclopedia of Angels by Rosemary Guiley