18c. Principalities

The foremost place in the first hierarchy is assigned by Saint Denis (Dionysius) or his namesake, and the majority of theologians following him, to the choir of the principalities. In all that appertains to the salvation of mankind, whether it be question of persons of rank or of low degree, of individuals or communities, they have authority over the angels and archangels and are the intermediaries through whom the divine will is intimated to them.

It is likely, too, that certain principalities have immediate care of more important states or kingdoms as well as of more influential princes and bishops; and hence when mention is made of “the prince of the Persians,” and “the prince of the Greeks,” (Daniel 10:20) the word prince is to be understood strictly as referring to one of this particular choir of angels, and not to an angel of some one of the higher orders generally.

And if we understand the term in the same way, when we read, “Behold Michael, one of the chief princes” (Daniel 10:13), it would seem to follow that in the battle where “Michael and his angels fought with the dragon,” (Apocalypse 12:7) the principalities are chiefly meant, as having played the main part in that momentous conflict. Not that the angels and archangels are excluded from their share in it, but that thye fight under the leadership of the principalities and of Michael their chief, whose role is loftier and more necessary than their own.

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