Saints vs Angels: What Are Their Differences?

By Charalampos •  Updated: 04/06/23 •  8 min read

Are saints and angels the same thing? What’s the difference between them? Are they in heaven? These are all questions that people have about saints and angels, and it can be hard to find good answers.

In this post, we’ll explore the differences between saints and angels, and learn more about what each group is meant to do. Stay tuned!

What Are Saints?

Saints

The word “saint” comes from the Latin word “Sanctus,” which means “holy.” Saints are people who have been canonized by the Church. This means that they have been recognized by the Church as having lived holy lives and being in heaven.

The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church have different processes for canonization, but both involve a lengthy process of investigation into the person’s life.

Saints are considered to be intercessors between God and humanity. They are people who we can ask to pray for us.

They intercede for us before God, and they also serve as models of how to live a good and holy life.

You can read our article about Saints: What Is A Saint in Christianity: A Complete Overview.

We have everything you need to know about saints, including a list of popular saints and how they are canonized depending on the church.

What Are Angels?

Angels

Angels are beings that are sent by God to perform specific tasks. They are found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible.

Angels are generally seen as messengers of God, but they can also be protectors or warriors.

Some popular angels include Gabriel, who announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, and Saint Michael, who is known as the protector of Israel.

Angels are not humans who have died and gone to heaven. They are a different kind of being altogether. This makes them very different from saints, who are human beings that have been canonized by the Church and are in heaven.

Why Are Angels Also Called Saints?

The three Archangels (Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael) are also called Saints not because they are Saints like human beings who have been canonized, but because they are Holy.

They are different from human beings, but they are still considered to be Holy. This is why they are also referred to as saints.

For example, “Holy Michael The Archangel” is another name for Saint Michael.

Differences Between Saints And Angels.

Differences Between Saints And Angels.

Now that we know what saints and angels are, let’s take a look at some of the key differences between them:

1. Saints Are Human, Angels Are Not.

As we already mentioned, saints are human beings who have led exemplary lives and been canonized by the church. Angels, on the other hand, are celestial beings who were never human, to begin with.

2. Angels Were Created Long Before Humans.

Angels were created by God long before humans came into existence. This is why they are often seen as His messengers or servants. Saints, on the other hand, only lived on Earth and so their time here was limited (as with all humans).

Saint John of Damascus said:

“God is Himself the Maker and Creator of the angels; for He brought them out of nothing into being and created them after His own image. They are an incorporeal race, a sort of spirit or immaterial fire, even as the divine David says that ‘ His angels are spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire”

Psalm 103:6

This is also why they are not limited by the same things as humans. They don’t get tired, they don’t need to eat or drink, etc.

3. Mankind Knew About The Existence Of Angels.

From the early days of humanity, we have known about the existence of angels. For example, in Genesis, we know that a Cherubim was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden or the Paradise (to prevent Adam and Eve from returning).

Or in the New Testament, we hear about the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Blessed Virgin Mary to announce the birth of Jesus Christ.

4. The Nature of Angels is Different Than The Nature of Saints.

Angels are purely spiritual creatures without a body, whereas saints have (or had) a human nature.

Angels are invisible to our physical eyes, and they don’t have desires and passions as humans do. They have no worries, they don’t fear the future, they don’t age, etc.

5. Guardian Angels are Assigned to Each Person.

Each person has their own Guardian Angel who is assigned to them by God. These Angels protect us and guide us throughout our lives. We can ask for their help and guidance in prayer.

This isn’t the case with Saints. We can venerate Saints and ask them to intercede for us, but they are not our personal Guardian Angels.

6. Humans Can Become Saints, But We Cannot Become Angels.

This difference is pretty self-explanatory. Because we are human, we can strive to become saints through a life of virtue and good works.

However, we will never become Angels because we are not of the same nature as they are. We cannot change our nature, but we can change our state (from sinful to holy person).

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ”

(Romans 8:15-17)

7. Fallen Angels Are Called Demons.

Angels who have fallen from grace are called demons. They tempt us to sin and try to lead us away from God.

Saints, on the other hand, are those who have persevered in their faithfulness to God despite the trials and temptations of life.

These fallen angels are also the ones who tempt us to doubt the existence of saints.

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

(Galatians 1:8)

8. Angels Have Ranks, Saints Do Not.

Angels are organized into ranks or choirs. These range from the highest, such as Seraphim and Cherubim.

Saints do not have ranks because we are all equal in the eyes of God.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”


(Galatians 3:28)

9. We Worship God, We Do Not Worship Angels or Saints.

This is an important distinction. We worship God because He is the one true God.

We venerate Saints and ask for their intercession because they are close to God and can intercede on our behalf.

As for Angels, we honor them because they are messengers of God and His servants and also because they are our protectors.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will, they existed and were created.”

(Revelation 4:11)

Frequently Asked Questions

Saints vs Angels - FAQs

What Are Fallen Angels?

Fallen angels are a type of demon, said to be cast out of heaven by God. They are often associated with darkness and evil and are said to tempt humans into sin. The most famous fallen angel is Lucifer, who is also known as Satan or the Devil.

They are different than saints in that they have never been human and they are not close to God. In fact, they are the opposite of saints, as they try to lead humans away from God.

Are Saints Higher Than Angels?

St Gregory Palamas notes that man, based on his vocation, is in many respects superior to the angels.

This doesn’t mean that saints are higher than angels in the sense that they are better than angels, but rather that they have a different role to play.

Humans’ great advantage over angels is that he is able to become a partaker of the Body and Blood of Christ and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

Angels have created beings and they do not have this ability.

Final Thoughts

Angels are messengers of God. They are often depicted with wings, and they act as intermediaries between heaven and earth.

Saints are people who have been recognized by the Church for their heroic deeds or exemplary lives.

While both groups are important in our faith, we must remember that we worship God, not angels or saints. Angels are His servants and saints are our intercessors. Asking for the intercession of saints is a way to ask God for help through those who are close to Him.

We should also remember that we are called to be saints. Just as angels have different ranks and responsibilities, so too do we have different gifts and callings. But we are all equal in the eyes of God and called to be His children.

We hope this article has helped you understand the difference between angels and saints. May God bless you on your journey!

Charalampos

Charalampos is an Orthodox Christian who wants to help others learn about Christianity. His main goal is to help people understand the Bible and how to apply its teachings in their everyday lives. He also enjoys spending time with his family, playing sports, and hiking.

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