Praying Angels

Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, DC

Elisabeth L. Roark wrote an article about angels titled, “Embodying Immortality: Angels in America’s Rural Garden Cemeteries, 1850—1900”, pages 56 – 111, 2007 edition of Markers, XXIV, in which she categorized the eight most commonly found types of graveyard angels—grouped the task they performed: soul-bearing; praying; decorating and guarding; pointing; recording; trumpeting; sword-bearing (archangel Michael); and child angels.

Bellefontaine Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri

The winged protectors served to watch over the “soul while living, removed occasions of sin and provided protection when danger threatened, interceded on their charges’ behalf, attended at death, eased the transition to the next world, conducted the soul to Heaven, and looked after the gravesite and the deceased’s remains until resurrection.” These were busy angels. In addition to those duties, the praying angels served as an intercessor conveying messages from their charges to Heaven. These angels usually are looking upward toward the Heavens, hands clasped together in prayer, sometimes coupled with emblems of faith, such as, anchors and crosses, often clad in toga-like clothing.

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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