Clergyman claims angels have no wings
Most depictions of angels show a blond-haired woman in a white gown with feathered wings and a glowing golden halo, but is this what angels really look like? According to ‘Angelogist’ Father Renzo Lavator in Rome, the answer is no. Lavator has claimed that real angels don’t have wings and are not physical beings as tradition suggests, but are instead entities comprised almost entirely of light.
"You do not see angels so much as feel their presence," he said at a recent conference. "They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase."
References to angels have existed for as long as recorded human history. The root of the word ‘angel’ comes from ‘angelos’, which means ‘messenger’, and was first spoken in the Mycenaean civilization in Greece more than 3,000 years ago.
Angels are found within the mainstream religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Yet, angels, or divine helpers, were also found within Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian and Greek writings as well, and played a major influence upon the ideas regarding angels within the key religions themselves. For example, it is well known that ancient Sumerian texts pre-dated the Hebrew book of Genesis, including the idea of the existence of angels.
But where did the original idea come from that angels have wings? Hermes, in the Greek pantheon of gods, served the function of messenger, and was pictured with wings on his heels. In ancient Egypt, the goddess Nepthys was also winged; reliefs depicting her appear in hieroglyphics in tombs. Griffins, winged animals with human heads, appear in a very ancient Etruscan tomb, and many other cultures featured winged lions and bulls with human heads; winged creatures were known to the Vikings as valkyries , to the Greeks as horae; in Persia they were fereshta, to the Hindu, apsaras.
However, in Abrahamic traditions, wings were rarely depicted on angels until the time of Emperor Constantine, and did not become popular in angel art until the Renaissance. Historically, angels who interacted with humans, were seen in a ‘flesh and blood’ form.
Angels truly are a mystery that summon many questions – firstly, do they even exist at all? And if so, what exactly are they? Some, like Lavator, believe they are beings of light, others say they are ‘God’s messengers’ or the souls of the deceased that guide us on our life journey. More controversially, there are those who maintain that there is nothing ‘godly’ about angels, and that they were simply flesh and blood beings from outside Earth who perhaps arrived in flying crafts, hence the depiction of wings. Whatever they are, the idea of angels has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions around the world.