The second choir of the first hierarchy is that of the archangels. The name implies a certain superiority in the ministerial office, and hence it may be used of all the higher orders, but not of the lowest. As such superiority in the office of ministering is the least pre-eminence that can be attributed to the holy angels when compared with one another, the name archangel is reserved in a special manner for the least of the higher orders, that is to say, for the second choir of the lowest hierarchy.
The name does not, as it would seem, imply any authority over the angels of the inferior choir, but only a greater degree of diginity in the ministry which they exercise. For whereas the angels are deputed for the guardianship of private individuals, the archangels have care of personages of exalted rank, such as kings, pontiffs and other rules; and whereas angels are employed for the bestowal of personal favours on ordinary people, archangels are the agents in the case of benefits affecting the public at large, and in all matters of graver moment.