Those angels who compose the second highest of the nine choirs. The word is a Hebrew plural and according to Pope Saint Gregory, means
“the fulness of knowledge; and these sublime hosts are thus called because they are filled with a knowledge which is more perfect as they are allowed to behold the glory of God more closely.”
The Old Testament classical description of these mysterious beings (Ezechiel 10) evokes to the mind the huge composite (man, bull, lion, eagle) figures adorning Babylonian edifices. It may fit the cherubim set at the entrance of the garden of Eden (Genesis 3) or those upon which God is said to ride and fly (Psalms 17), or again those which adorned the brazen sea (3 Kings 7). It is doubtful, however, that the two cherubim placed over the mercy seat of the ark, or those introduced into the veil hanging before the holy of holies of the Tabernacle; or again the two colossal figures contained in the holy of holies of Solomon’s temple, or carved in the woodwork of that temple, were of the same pattern. We may possibly think in these connections of winged man-like figures.