Religious Symbolism06/28/2015 17:21
Whispering Birches is part I of the Tree of Faith series and has the Orthodox church as its religious theme. This is emphacized through the characters being named after the archangels:
Michael features in almost every religion as the primary archangel, the warrior who fights against evil on behalf of good. In Hebrew, Michael is the protector of Israel. In the book, Mihael Rosenthal is the warrior who escapes the camp and fights to prevent the Hungarian transports.
Gabriel is also one of the main archangels featuring in Christian, Islamic and Judaic religious history. He is the messenger of God and in the book Gavriil Ahrenski acts as the man delivering gunpowder for the rebellion. He is also the trumpeter in that he betrays his friend Vlasov.
Raphael is also one of the main archangels that span religion. He is the healer. In the book, Rafael Romaniotes is the Greek dentist whose tragedy ends when he is given up to the Gestapo.
Zarachiel is the angel of prayer, the one that is for fairness and justice. In the book, we find that Ruth uses her trade name, being a prostitute. her real name is Sara Raquel. Ruth is the one that converts Franz from brutality.
Uriel is the archangel of light. He is the one who guides man to the good. Uriel does not appear until the second book in that Whispering Birches is about the camp where the light is out. Griguri Elliot is Uriel.
Ramiel is the fallen angel, fallen because he takes wives, mates with human women, and teaches forbidden knowledge. This is Lukas Armbrecht the cynical opportunist who acts as guard in the camp in the story.
Sariel is the archangel of command which is the translation of Prikaz in Elena's native Slovakian. Sariel is often a fallen watcher and Elena's role in the book is ambivalent in that she becomes lover to the guard Franz.