Cherubim are one of nine orders or choirs of angels which are organized into three spheres, with three choirs in each sphere. According to Christian tradition, the first sphere, which is made up of the Seraphim, Cherubim, and the Thrones, are considered the closet to Heaven. In Ezekiel 10:14, the Cherubim are described as having four likenesses or four faces, “And every one had four faces; the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.” The Cherubim were to be guardian angels.
There are several beautifully carved examples of sculptures of cherubs adorning the graves in the St. Francis Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona.
The first angel pictured above and below is clutching a cross, which is usually a sign of faith. This angel wears a gossamer gown that swirls into the clouds it stands on.
KELLY T. HYDER
1882 – 1931
Often cherubim are depicted on the graves of children but that is not the case for this gravestone—Kelly Hyder was 49 years old at death.
The next example is of an angel holding a torch with a lit flame above his head and with his other arm he clutches a sprig of mixed flowers. The lit torch symbolizes life. The torch is also seen as an instrument that illuminates the darkness representing enlightenment. It can symbolize zeal, liberty, and immortality. The angel again stands on clouds which is the veil between God and the faithful.
SEP 17 1931 OCT 27 1932
The third example is an angel on the gravestone of Andres Telles who died at the age of 54. The angel again stands on a cloud holding a palm frond that crosses his body and covers him. The palm frond symbolizes victory over death.
1874 – 1928
ANDRES C. TELLES
RECUERDO DE SU
ESPOSA Y HIJOS