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Saint Michael the Archangel
A 13th-century Byzantine icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
Venerated in Anglican Communion, Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Islam, Judaism, Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism
Canonized pre-congregation
Feast November 21 (Old Calendar Eastern Orthodox Churches) / November 8 (New Calendar Eastern Orthodox Churches), September 29 ("Michaelmas"); May 8; many other local and historical feasts
Attributes Archangel; Treading on Satan or a serpent; carrying a banner, scales, and sword
Patronage Guardian of the Catholic Church;[1] protector of the Jewish people.[2]

Michael (Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל: pronounced: /ˌmixäˈʔel/, Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; Greek: Μιχαήλ, Mikhaḗl; Latin: Michael or Míchaël; Arabic: ميخائيل, Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic tradition. He is viewed as the field commander of the Army of God. He is mentioned by name in the Book of Daniel,[3] the Epistle of Jude,[4] and the Book of Revelation, in which he leads God's armies against Satan's forces during his uprising.[5] In the Book of Daniel, Michael appears as "one of the chief princes"[6]who in Daniel's vision comes to Gabriel's aid in his contest with the angel of Persia (Dobiel). Michael is also described there as the advocate of the Children of Israel and as a "great prince who stands up for the children of your [Daniel's] people".[7]

In Hebrew, Michael means "who is like God" (mi-who, ke-as or like, El-deity), which in Talmudic tradition is interpreted as a rhetorical question: "Who is like God?" (which expects an answer in the negative) to imply that no one is like God. In this way, Michael is reinterpreted as a symbol of humility before God.[8][9]

Much of the late Midrashic detail about Michael was transmitted to Christianity through the Book of Enoch, whence it was taken up and further elaborated. Christian cultus devoted to the archangel was first initiated in the East, as a healer, at Chonae near Colossae in Phrygia and in the West, at the end of the fifth century, as a patron in war, at Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano. In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with Saint George, became the patron saint of chivalry. Jean Molinet was one who glorified the primordial feat of arms of the archangel as "the first deed of knighthood and chivalrous prowess that was ever achieved."[10] Thus Michael was the natural patron of the first chivalric order of France, the Order of Saint Michael of 1469. In the British honours system, a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George. Michael is also considered in many Christian circles as the patron saint of the warrior. police officers and soldiers, particularly paratroopers and fighter pilots, regard him as their patron. He is the patron of the Catholic Police Guild. He is also a patron of Germany,[11] the City of Brussels,[12] and Kiev.

Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael. Orthodox Christians refer to him as the Taxiarch Archangel Michael or simply Archangel Michael.[13] Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and certain New Age Christian denominations refer to Michael as the Christ Michael, or Christ before he became man.[14][15][16] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that Michael is the heavenly form of Adam from the Book of Genesis,[17][18][19] and that Michael assisted Jehovah (the heavenly form of Jesus Christ) in the creation of the world under the direction of God the Father.[20]

Hebrew Bible

Book of Joshua

Guido Reni's archangel Michael (in the Capuchin church of Santa Maria della Concezione, Rome, 1636) tramples Satan. A mosaic of the same painting decorates St. Michael's Altar within St. Peter's Basilica.

Some believe the numinous "captain of the host of the Lord" encountered by Joshua in the early days of his campaigns in the Promised Land (Joshua 5:13-15) is Michael the Archangel. This unnamed heavenly messenger is of supernatural and holy origin, likely sent by God:

Once when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?’ He replied, ‘Neither; but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and he said to him, ‘What do you command your servant, my lord?’ The commander of the army of the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so. Joshua, 5:13-15 (NRSV)

There is some controversy about this passage, however. In other places in the Bible, angels do not accept the worship of humans (see Rev. 22:9 for an example); the willingness of this person to accept Joshua's worship implies that he was divine (e.g., a theophany of God). However, it is clear that Joshua is instigating worship of God, not the commander of the Lord's army, for in Revelation 19:10 we have exactly the same scenario with St. John and Gabriel and unlike Joshua 5 it reads; 'I, John, fell on my face and worshiped him.' Gabriel rebukes him, because unlike Joshua who just falls down and worships, John specifically starts worshiping Gabriel and presently rebuked.

Book of Daniel

The prophet Daniel experiences a vision after having undergone a period of fasting. In the vision, an angel identifies Michael as the protector of Israel (10:13, 21). Later in the vision (12:1), Daniel is informed that Michael will stand for Israel during the time of the End. There is no further mention of Michael in the Hebrew Bible.


War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness

In the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness, Michael is described as the prince of light, leading forces of God against the darkness of evil, who is led by Belial. He is described as the "viceroy of heaven".

Book of Enoch

The main icon of the Archangel Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin (ca. 1410s).

Michael is designated in the Book of Enoch, as "the prince of Israel" and the "archistratege" of God. He is the angel of forbearance and mercy (Enoch, xl:3) who taught Enoch the mysteries of clemency and justice (lxxi:2). Some speculate that the angel in the book of Jubilees (i:27 and ii:1), who is said to have instructed Moses on Mount Sinai and to have delivered to him the tablets of Law, may be Michael.

Enoch 9:1 states that Michael, along with Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel and Suriel heard the cries of men under the strain of the Watchers and their giant offspring. It was Michael and his compatriots that beseeched God on behalf of men, prompting Yahweh to call Enoch to prophethood.

In Enoch 10:15 Yahweh says to Michael; "Go and announce his crime to Samyaza, and to the others who are with him, who have been associated with women, that they might be polluted with all their impurity. And when all their sons shall be slain, when they shall see the perdition of their beloved, bind them for seventy generations underneath the earth, even to the day of Judgement, and of consummation, until the judgement, the effect of which will last forever and be completed."

Enoch 20:5 says that Michael presides over human virtue in order to command nations.

Enoch 24:4-10 has Enoch before the Tree of Life/Mercy, and Michael explains to him that he should not touch it, for it is for those who are 'elect' after the day of Judgement.

Enoch 40:8 says that Michael is patient and merciful.

Enoch 53:6 states that Michael, along with Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel shall be strengthened during the Battle of Armageddon.

Enoch 58 shows Enoch overcome with terror over a vision he has, and Michael is quick to interpret. The terror is only for those who turn on Yahweh, that the Day of Judgement is for the elect, a day of covenant, while for sinners it is a day of inquisition.

Enoch 66:14-15 has Michael explaining to Enoch that the evil spirits [demons] shall bear witness against those of the flesh who supported them. Yet Enoch is told that Michael holds a secret oath so that the elect shall not perish by their knowledge like the sinners, Enoch 68:20-22.

Enoch 70:11-16 shows that Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Phanuel always 'escort' Yahweh [God the Father], whenever he leaves his throne.

Rabbinic traditions

Statue of Archangel Michael at the University of Bonn, slaying Satan represented as a dragon. Quis ut Deus is inscribed on his shield.

According to rabbinic Jewish tradition, Michael acted as the advocate of Israel, and sometimes had to fight with the princes of the other nations (cf. Daniel 10:13) and particularly with the angel Samael, Israel's accuser. Michael's enmity with Samael dates from the time when the latter was thrown down from heaven. Samael took hold of the wings of Michael, whom he wished to bring down with him in his fall; but Michael was saved by God (Midrash Pirke R. El. xxvi.).[21]

The rabbis declare that Michael entered upon his role of defender at the time of the biblical patriarchs. Thus, according to Rabbi Eliezer ben Jacob, it was Michael who rescued Abraham from the furnace into which he had been thrown by Nimrod (Midrash Genesis Rabbah xliv. 16). It was Michael, the "one that had escaped" (Genesis 14:13), who told Abraham that Lot had been taken captive (Midrash Pirke R. El.), and who protected Sarah from being defiled by Abimelech. He announced to Sarah that she would bear a son and he rescued Lot at the destruction of Sodom (Talmud B. M. 86b).

It is said that Michael prevented Isaac from being sacrificed by his father by substituting a ram in his place, and saved Jacob, while yet in his mother's womb, from being killed by Samael (Midr. Abkir, in Yalḳ., Gen. 110). Later Michael prevented Laban from harming Jacob (Pirke R. El. xxxvi.). According to one source, it was Michael who wrestled with Jacob and who afterward blessed him (Targum pseudo-Jonathan to Genesis xxxii. 25; Pirke R. El. xxxvii.).

The midrash Exodus Rabbah holds that Michael exercised his function of advocate of Israel at the time of the Exodus also, when Satan (as an adversary) accused the Israelites of idolatry and declared that they were consequently deserving of death by drowning in the Red Sea (Ex. R. xviii. 5). But according to Midr. Abkir, when Uzza, the tutelar angel of Egypt, summoned Michael to plead before God, Michael remained silent, and it was God himself who defended Israel.

Legend makes Michael the teacher of Moses; so that the Israelites are indebted to their advocate for the supreme good of the Torah. This idea is alluded to in Midrash Deuteronomy Rabbah xi. 6 in the statement that Michael declined to bring Moses' soul to God on the ground that he had been Moses' teacher.

Michael is said to have destroyed the army of Sennacherib (Midrash Exodus Rabbah xviii. 5), a deed normally attributed to an otherwise unnamed angel of destruction but perhaps accomplished by Uriel, Gabriel, or others.

Michael is also credited with being the angel who spoke to Moses in the burning bush (an honor often bestowed upon Zagzagel).

He is accepted in lore as well as being the special patron of Adam. Supposedly he was the first angel in all of the heavens to bow down before humanity.[22] Michael then kept an eye on the first family, remaining vigilant even after the fall of Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Altar by Josef Moroder-Lusenberg, 1876

In the apocryphal Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan, Michael taught Adam how to farm. The archangel later brought Adam to heaven in a fiery chariot, giving him a tour of the blessed realm. After Adam's death, Michael helped convince the Lord to permit Adam's soul to be brought to heaven and cleansed of its great sin. Jewish legend also states Michael to be one of the three "men" who visited Abraham. He is said to have tried to prevent Israel from being led into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar II and to save the Temple from destruction; but the sins of the people were so great that he was powerless to carry his purposes into effect. There is a legend which seems to be of Jewish origin, and which was adopted by the Copts, to the effect that Michael was first sent by God to bring Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, and that Michael was afterward very active in freeing his nation from Babylonian captivity (Émile Amélineau, "Contes et Romans de l'Egypte Chrétienne," ii. 142 et seq.). According to a midrash, Michael saved Hananiah and his companions from the Fiery furnace (Midrash Genesis Rabbah xliv. 16). Michael was active in the time of Esther: "The more Haman accused Israel on earth, the more Michael defended Israel in heaven" (Midrash Esther Rabbah iii. 8). It was Michael who reminded Ahasuerus that he was Mordecai's debtor (Targum to Esther vi. 1); and there is a legend that Michael appeared to the high priest Hyrcanus, promising him assistance (comp. Josephus, "Ant." xiii. 10, § 3).

The motif of Michael and the dragon appears in Michael's fight with Samael in Assumptio Mosis, x.). This legend is not found in Jewish sources except insofar as Samael or Satan is called in the Kabbalah "the primitive serpent".

The idea that Michael was the advocate of the Jews became so prevalent that in spite of the rabbinical prohibition against appealing to angels as intermediaries between God and his people, Michael came to occupy a certain place in the Jewish liturgy. There were two prayers written beseeching him as the prince of mercy to intercede in favor of Israel: one composed by Eliezer ha-Kalir, and the other by Judah b. Samuel he-Hasid. But appeal to Michael seems to have been more common in ancient times. Thus Jeremiah is said (Baruch Apoc. Ethiopic, ix. 5) to have addressed a prayer to him. "When a man is in need he must pray directly to God, and neither to Michael nor to Gabriel" (Yer. Ber. ix. 13a).

With regard to the nature of the offerings which Michael brings to the altar, one opinion is that they are the souls of the just, while according to another they are fiery sheep. The former opinion, which has become prevalent in Jewish mystical writings, explains the important position occupied by Michael in Jewish eschatology. The idea that Michael is the Charon of individual souls, which is common among Christians, is not found in Jewish sources, but that he is in charge of the souls of the just appears in many Jewish writings.

Michael is said to have had a dispute with Samael over the soul of Moses (Midrash Deut. Rabbah xi. 6.) According to the Zohar, Michael accompanies the souls of the pious and helps them to enter the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is said that Michael and his host are stationed at the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem and give admittance to the souls of the just. Michael's function is to open the gates also of justice to the just. It is also said that at the resurrection, Gabriel will sound the trumpet, at which the graves will open and the dead will rise.

Christian tradition

Canonical New Testament

In the Epistle of Jude St Michael disputes with the Devil over the body of Moses.[23] In the Book of Revelation "...there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."[24] Saint John describes Satan being thrown out of heaven three and a half years from the end of the age, "a time, times and half a time".[25] Satan being thrown from heaven coincides with the "abomination that causes desolation" spoken of by Daniel.[26] In Catholic teachings, Saint Michael will also triumph at the end times when he defeats Antichrist.[27] The Book of Daniel (12:1) states: "At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise."[2]

Christian view

Some Christian theologians identify Saint Michael in Scripture even where his name is not mentioned: examples of this identification include the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).

It may have been natural to St Michael, the champion of the Jewish people, to be the champion also of Christians, giving victory in war to his clients. The early Christians, however, regarded some of the martyrs as their military patrons: Saint George, Saint Theodore, Saint Demetrius, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, Saint Procopius, Saint Mercurius, etc.; but to St Michael they gave the care of their sick. At the place where he was first venerated, in Phrygia (modern-day Turkey), his prestige as an angelic healer obscured his interposition in military affairs. It was from early times the centre of the true cult of the holy angels, particularly of St Michael. Church tradition relates that Saint Michael in the earliest ages caused a medicinal spring to spout at Chairotopa, near Colossae, where all the sick who bathed there, invoking the Blessed Trinity and St Michael, were cured.

The Miracle of St Michael at Chonae, 12th-century icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai.

Still more famous are the legends of the springs which St Michael is said to have drawn from the rock at Colossae (Chonae, on the Lycus). Church tradition tells that the pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St Michael to destroy it, but the custodian of the shrine, named Archippus, prayed to St Michael, and the archangel appeared and split the rock, opening up a new bed to divert the stream, and forever sanctified the waters which came from the gorge. The Orthodox Church believes that this apparition took place about the middle of the first century and celebrates a feast in commemoration of it on September 6[28] as the "Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae."[29] The Monastery of the Miracle in the Moscow Kremlin, where the Russian Tsars were baptized, was dedicated to the Feast of the Miracle at Chonae (Kona). Hot springs at Pythia in Bithynia and elsewhere in Asia Minor were also dedicated to St Michael.

At Constantinople likewise, Saint Michael was a great heavenly physician. His principal sanctuary, the "Michaelion", was at Sosthenion, some fifty miles south of Constantinople. He supposedly visited Emperor Constantine the Great at Constantinople, intervened in assorted battles, and appeared, sword in hand, over the mausoleum of Hadrian, in apparent answer to the prayers of Pope Gregory I (r. 590-604) that a plague in Rome should cease. In honor of the occasion, the pope took to calling the mausoleum the "Castel Sant'Angelo" (Castle of the Holy Angel), the name by which it is still known. The sick slept in this church at night to wait for a manifestation of St Michael; his feast was kept there June 9.

Another famous church was within the walls of the city, at the baths of Arcadius; there the synaxis of the archangel was celebrated November 8. This feast spread over the entire Greek Church, and the Syrian, Armenian, and Coptic Churches also adopted it. It is currently the principal feast of St Michael amongst the Eastern Christians. Although originating in Phrygia, its station at Constantinople was known as the "Thermae of Arcadius" (Martinow, "Annus Graeco-slavicus", November 8). Other feasts of St Michael at Constantinople were: October 27, in the "Promotu" Church; June 18, in the Church of St Julian at the Forum; and December 10, at Athaea.

Archangel Michael as represented on a coin of Emperor Michael V.

At Rome, the Leonine Sacramentary (sixth century) has the "Natale Basilicae Angeli via Salaria", September 30; of the five Masses for the feast, three mention St Michael. The Gelasian Sacramentary (seventh century) gives the feast "S. Michaelis Archangeli", and the Gregorian Sacramentary (eighth century), "Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis", September 29. A manuscript also here adds "via Salaria" (Ebner, "Miss. Rom. Iter Italicum", 127). This Church of the Via Salaria was six miles to the north of the city; in the ninth century it was called Basilica Archangeli in Septimo (Armellini, "Chiese di Roma", p. 85). It disappeared a thousand years ago. At Rome also the part of heavenly physician was given to St Michael. According to a legend of the tenth century, he appeared over the Moles Hadriani (Castel di S. Angelo), in 950, during the procession which St Gregory held against the pestilence, putting an end to the plague. Pope Boniface IV (608-15) built on the Moles Hadriani in honour of him, a church, which was styled St Michaelis inter nubes (in summitate circi).[30]

Fontaine Saint-Michel in Paris

In Normandy, Saint Michael is the patron of mariners in his famous sanctuary at Mont-Saint-Michel in the Diocese of Coutances. He is said to have appeared there, in 708, to St Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. In Normandy, his feast, "S. Michaelis in periculo maris", or "in Monte Tumba", was universally celebrated on October 18, the anniversary of the dedication of the first church, October 16, 710; the feast is now confined to the Diocese of Coutances.

The hymns of the Roman Office are said to have been composed by Saint Rabanus Maurus of Fulda (d. 856). The hymn "Te Splendor" to Saint Michael (which derives its name from the fact that in Latin it begins with Te splendor et virtus Patris) is published in the Raccolta collection of prayers with indulgences, and, in 1817, Pope Pius VII granted an indulgence for saying the hymn.[31]

In art, St Michael is represented as an angelic warrior, fully armed with helmet, sword, and shield (often the shield bears the Latin inscription: "Quis ut Deus?"), standing over the dragon, whom he sometimes pierces with a lance. He also holds a pair of scales in which he weighs the souls of the departed (cf. Rock, "The Church of Our Fathers", III, 160), or the Book of Life, to show that he takes part in the judgment. Michelangelo depicted this scene on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.[32]

His feast (September 29) in the Middle Ages was celebrated as a holy day of obligation, as he was the patron of knights, but along with several other feasts it was gradually abolished since the eighteenth century. Michaelmas Day, in England and other countries, is one of the regular quarter-days for settling rents and accounts; but it is no longer remarkable for the hospitality with which it was formerly celebrated. Stubble-geese being esteemed in perfection about this time, most families had one dressed on Michaelmas Day. In some parishes, (such as the Isle of Skye,) they had a procession on this day and baked a cake, called St Michael's bannock.

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians often refer to the angel Michael as "Saint Michael", an honorific title that does not indicate canonization. He is generally referred to in Christian litanies as "Saint Michael the Archangel." Orthodoxy accords him the title "Archistrategos", or "Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts."

In the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Michael has four main roles or offices.[33] He is the Christian angel of death, carrying the souls of all the deceased to heaven, where they are weighed in his perfectly balanced scales (hence Michael is often depicted holding scales). At the hour of death, Michael descends and gives each soul the chance to redeem itself before passing, thus consternating the devil and his minions. St Michael is the special patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament and is guardian of the Church; it was thus not unusual for the angel to be revered by the military orders of knights during the Middle Ages. Last, he is the supreme enemy of Satan and the fallen angels.

Some early Protestant scholars identified Michael with the pre-incarnate Christ, basing their view, partly on the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel in Revelation 12, and partly on the attributes ascribed to him in Daniel.[34]

St Michael's Victory over the Devil, sculpture above the main entrance to St Michaelis church in Hamburg, Germany.

In the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, Anglican Calendar of Saints, and the Lutheran Calendar of Saints, his feast day, once widely known as Michaelmas, is celebrated September 29 and was one of the four quarter days on which accounts were settled and, in England, when terms began in universities. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, his principal feast day is November 8 (November 21 by most Orthodox churches since they use the Julian calendar), where he is honored along with the rest of the "Bodiless Powers of Heaven" as their Supreme Commander, and his miraculous appearance at Colossae (see below) is commemorated on September 6.

The last visit, that of his appearance over the mausoleum of Hadrian, certified one major aspect involving Michael, namely his role as an angel of healing. This title was bestowed at Phrygia, in Asia Minor, which also propagated the cult of angels and became a leading center for their veneration. St Michael is reputed to have caused a healing spring to flow in the first century at Colossae, and his churches were frequently visited by the sick and lame. The angel is invoked additionally as the patron of sailors in Normandy (the famous monastery of Mont Saint Michel on the north coast of France is named after him). He is especially remembered in France as the angel who, along with Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret, gave Saint Joan of Arc the courage to save her country from the English during the Hundred Years' War (1337–1455).Pope Pius XII (r. 1939-1958) named him patron of policemen.

According to legend, Michael instructed St Aubert, bishop of Avranches to build a church on the rocky islet now known as Mont Saint Michel in 708. Also dedicated to Michael was the French Order of St Michel founded in 1469.[35] Today, however, he is more usually associated with police officers, paramedics, EMTs and other emergency workers.[36] He is also claimed as the patron saint of the American airborne units. He is the patron of Ukraine and its capital Kiev and of the archdiocese of Seattle.

Under the influence of the widely read angelology of the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, among Church fathers much time was spent allotting Michael a rank in the celestial hierarchy: Alfonso Salmeron, Cardinal Bellarmine, Saint Basil the Great's homily (De Angelis) and other Greek fathers place Saint Michael over all the angels; they say he is called "Archangel" because he is the prince of the other angels. Others (cf. P. Bonaventura, op. cit.) believe that he is the prince of the Seraphim, the first of the nine angelic orders. According to Saint Thomas Aquinas (Summa Ia. 113.3), he is the Prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels.

A favorite angelic subject in art, matched only by Saint Gabriel, Saint Michael is often depicted as winged and with unsheathed sword. As with all angels' iconography, his wings represent swiftness, his sword means authority or power, and his white raiment stands for his enlightenment.[37] In the Renaissance period, he is shown as young, strong, and handsome, and is most often depicted as a proud, handsome angel in white or magnificent armor or a splendid coat of mail and equipped with sword, shield and spear. His wings are generally conspicuous and very grand. He is usually shown holding in his hand a banner or the scales of justice. Quite often he is seen, like Saint George and in some representations of the Madonna, in conflict with a dragon or standing upon a vanquished devil, who most of the time is Satan.

Apparitions of Saint Michael the Archangel

The Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France

The Sacred Tradition of the Orthodox Church celebrates the Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae in Phrygia. According to the account, pagans diverted the stream of the river Lycus against the sanctuary of St Michael there to destroy it, but Michael the Archangel appeared and split the rock by lightning (or, according to some accounts, with a spear) to open up a new bed for the stream, directing the flow away from the church and sanctifying forever the waters which came from the new gorge. The Orthodox celebrate a feast day in commemoration of this event on 6 September. The Monastery of the Miracle (Chudov Monastery) in the Moscow Kremlin, where the Russian Tsars were baptized, was dedicated to the Feast of the Miracle at Chonae.

The Roman Breviary for May 8 relates the story of the apparition of Saint Michael (494 or 530-40) at his sanctuary on Monte Gargano, where his original glory as patron in war was restored to him. This is further alluded to in a paragraph listed for the feast day of St Michael on this date found in the "Saint Andrew Daily Missal."[38] To his intercession, the Lombards of Sipontum (modern-day Manfredonia) attributed their victory over the Greek Neapolitans May 8, 663. To commemorate this victory, the Church of Sipontum instituted a special feast on May 8 in honour of the archangel, which spread throughout the Latin Church under the name "Apparition of St Michael", although it originally commemorated the victory, not the apparition. The Tridentine Calendar gave this feast the rank of "Double", which was raised in 1602 to the newly invented rank of "Greater Double". In 1960, Pope John XXIII removed it from the General Roman Calendar, along with other cases of second feasts of a single saint.[39]

There is a legend in Cornwall that in the 5th century, the Archangel appeared to fishermen on St Michael's Mount, which according to author Richard Freeman Johnson is perhaps a nationalistic twist to a myth.[40] Cornish legends also hold that the mount itself was constructed by giants[41] and that King Arthur battled giant there.[42]

Also a Portuguese Carmelite nun, Antónia d'Astónaco, had reported an apparition and private revelation of the Archangel Michael who had told to this devoted Servant of God, in 1751, that he would like to be honored, and God glorified, by the praying of nine special invocations. These nine invocations correspond to invocations to the nine choirs of angels and origins the famous Chaplet of Saint Michael. This private revelation and prayers were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1851.[43][44]

During the years 1961 to 1965, four young schoolgirls had reported several apparitions of Saint Michael the Archangel in the small village of San Sebastian de Garabandal, in Cantabria, north Spain. At Garabandal, the apparitions of the Archangel Michael were mainly reported as announcing the arrivals of the Virgin Mary. The Catholic Church has never condemned Garabandal apparitions, and the Vatican has never made an official pronouncement.[45]

Major shrines

For a larger gallery (and hence a structured list) of church images, please see: Saint Michael church gallery.

St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery in Kiev (Ukraine).

  • St. Michael's Cathedral (Toronto), Ontario, Canada
  • St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, in Brussels, Belgium
  • Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France - a World Heritage Site
  • Skellig Michael, off the Irish west coast - a World Heritage Site
  • Archangel Cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin - a World Heritage Site
  • Chudov Monastery in the Moscow Kremlin, where the future Russian tsars were baptized
  • St. Michael Chapel in Košice, Slovakia
  • Monte Sant'Angelo sul Gargano, Gargano, Italy
  • St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, UK
  • St Michael's Cathedral, Coventry, England
  • Michaelhouse Chapel, Balgowan, KZN, South Africa
  • St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine
  • St Michael's Church]] in [[Vienna, Austria
  • St. Michael and All Angels' Anglican Church, Weltevreden Park, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Basilica of St Michael the Archangel, Tayabas, Quezon, Philippines
  • Archangel Michael's Church, Znojmo, Czech Republic
  • St. Michael's Cathedral in Belgrade, Serbia

Jehovah's Witness belief

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus and the Archangel Michael are the same, saying "the evidence indicates that the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth and is known also by that name since his return to heaven where he resides as the glorified spirit Son of God." [46] He later took human form as Jesus and led a life without sin. Additionally, the spirit person who bears the name Michael is referred to as "one of the chief princes," "the great prince who has charge of your (Daniel's) people," and as "the archangel." (Daniel 10:13; 12:1: Jude 9)

Seventh-day Adventist belief

Seventh-day Adventists believe that Michael was another name for the Word-of-God (John 1) before He became incarnate as Jesus. Archangel (meaning "Chief of the Angels") was the leadership position held by the Word-of-God as Michael while among the angels. Michael was the Word-of-God, not a created being, by whom all things were created. The Word-of-God was then born incarnate as Jesus.


Michael (Arabic: ميخائيل, Mikhail ميكائيل, Mikael ), is one of the Archangels in Islam, and one of the two archangels mentioned in the Qur'an, alongside Jibreel (Gabriel). In the Qur'an, Michael is mentioned once only, in Sura 2:98.

Whoever is an enemy to God, and His angels and His messengers, and Jibreel and Mikhail! Then, lo! God (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers.
Qur'an, sura 2 (Al-Baqara), ayat 98

Michael is mentioned in the Hadith numerous times. According to Muslim belief, Mikhail is often depicted as an angel of mercy, and the one through whom God supplies rain and thunder for mankind. Furthermore, Muslims also believe that God has also put Mikhail in charge of rewarding the righteous in their life on Earth. Mikhail is also credited with being present with the Muslims in their first victory in Arabia, at the Battle of Badr.

Muslim commentators state with reference to Sura 11:69 that Michael was one of the three angels who visited Abraham.


In Thief in the Night, the Bahá'í writer, William Sears, interpreted references to Michael as referring to Bahá'u'lláh.[47] He quotes Daniel (10:13): "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me...'. Daniel was told that this vision concerned "...what shall befall thy people (Israel) in the latter days." Sears interprets this as a prophecy about Bahá'u'lláh, who was a Persian nobleman of Sassanian royal lineage. He also quotes from the Book of Enoch (69:14): "He (God) spoke to holy Michael to discover to them the sacred name, that they might understand that secret name".


According to esoteric writer Rudolf Steiner: "in 1879, in November, a momentous event took place, a battle of the Powers of Darkness against the Powers of Light, ending in the image of Michael overcoming the Dragon".[48]


In the English epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton, Michael commands the army of angels loyal to God against the rebel forces of Satan. Armed with a sword from God's armory, he bests Satan in personal combat, wounding his side.[49]


  • Bamberger, Bernard Jacob, (March 15, 2006). Fallen Angels: Soldiers of Satan's Realm. Jewish Publication Society of America. ISBN 0-8276-0797-0
  • Briggs, Constance Victoria, 1997. The Encyclopedia of Angels : An A-to-Z Guide with Nearly 4,000 Entries. Plume. ISBN 0-452-27921-6.
  • Bunson, Matthew, (1996). Angels A to Z : A Who's Who of the Heavenly Host. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-88537-9.
  • Cruz, Joan C. 1999. Angels and Devils. Tan Books & Publishers. ISBN 0-89555-638-3.
  • Davidson, Gustav. A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels. Free Press. ISBN 0-02-907052-X
  • Graham, Billy, 1994. Angels: God's Secret Agents. W Pub Group; Minibook edition. ISBN 0-8499-5074-0
  • Guiley, Rosemary, 1996. Encyclopedia of Angels. ISBN 0-8160-2988-1
  • Kreeft, Peter J. 1995. Angels and Demons: What Do We Really Know About Them? Ignatius Press. ISBN 0-89870-550-9
  • Lewis, James R. (1995). Angels A to Z. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
  • Melville, Francis, 2001. The Book of Angels: Turn to Your Angels for Guidance, Comfort, and Inspiration. Barron's Educational Series; 1st edition. ISBN 0-7641-5403-6
  • Ronner, John, 1993. Know Your Angels: The Angel Almanac With Biographies of 100 Prominent Angels in Legend & Folklore-And Much More! Mamre Press. ISBN 0-932945-40-6.


  1. Alban Butler, The lives of the fathers, martyrs, and other principal saints Published by B. Dornin, 1821 page 117
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Bible gateway, Daniel 12:1".;&version=31. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  3. Book of Daniel 10:13
  4. Epistle of Jude 1:9
  5. Book of Revelation 12:7
  6. Book of Daniel 10:13
  7. Book of Daniel 10:21, Book of Daniel 12:1
  8. Studies in Revelation by Hampton J. Keathley, 3rd, J. Hampton Keathley III 1997 ISBN 0-7375-0008-5 page 209 [1]
  9. Noted by Johan Huizinga, The Autumn of the Middle Ages (1919, 1924:56.
  10. "Michael the Archangel". Patron Saints Index. Catholic Community Forum. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  11. "Bruxelles International : Brussels... Mysterious and esoteric" (in French). Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  12. "". Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  16. Doctrine and Covenants 27:11
  17. Doctrine and Covenants 107:53-56
  18. Doctrine and Covenants 128:21
  19. Millet, Robert L. (February 1998), "The Man Adam", Liahona, 
  20. "Jewish Encyclopedia - Michael". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  21. Kirkham, Melanie, Beyond Archangel - The Archangel Theme in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Grin Verlag, 2007 [2]
  22. Epistle of Jude 1:9
  23. Book of Revelation 12:7-9
  24. Book of Revelation 12:14
  25. Book of Daniel 9:27
  26. "Catholic encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  27. Analecta Bolland., VIII, p 285-328
  28. *Miracle of the Archangel Michael at Chonae
  29. Alban Butler, The lives of the fathers, martyrs, and other principal saints Published by Published by J. Duffy, 1866 page 320
  30. The Raccolta Collection of indulgenced prayers by T. Galli, authorized translation by Ambrose Saint John, Published by Burns and Lambert, London, 1857, page 252
  31. "Vatican website: Sistine Chapel". Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  32. "Catholic encyclopedia". 1911-10-01. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  33. John A. Lees, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1930, Vol. 3, page 2048
  34. Angels in the early modern world By Alexandra Walsham, Cambridge University Press, 2006 ISBN 0521843324 page 2008
  35. Michael McGrath, Patrons and Protectors Published by Liturgy Training, 2001 ISBN 1568541090
  36. Lesser Feasts and Fasts, p. 380 (Episcopal Church).
  37. As found on page 1328 the section reads: During the pontificate of Pope Gelasius I, in 492, St Michael appeared on the summit of Monte Gargano in Apulia, near the Adriatic coast of Italy on the same latitude as Rome. He asked that a church dedicated to him should be built, in which God should be worshipped in memory of himself and all the angels. This shrine was made famous by many miracles. Today's feast celebrates its dedication rather than the apparition itself; just as the feast of September 29 commemorates the dedication of the same Archangel's church at Rome. "The Saint Andrew Daily Missal, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts," by Dom Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B., St Paul, MN, E. M. Lohmann Co., 1952, pp 1,959
  38. General Roman Calendar of 1962
  39. Saint Michael the Archangel in medieval English legend by Richard Freeman Johnson 2005 ISBN 1843831287 page 68
  40. Popular Romances of the West of England by Robert Hunt 2009 ISBN 0559129998 page 238
  41. Myths and Legends of Britain and Ireland by Richard Jones 2006 ISBN 1845375947 page 17
  42. Ann Ball, 2003 Encyclopedia of Catholic Devotions and Practices ISBN 087973910X page 123
  43. EWTN The Chaplet of Saint Michael the Archangel
  44. Garabandal Clarification, a collection of letters, interviews and statements explaining the position of the Church.
  45. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, p. 218
  46. Sears, William (2002) [1961]. Thief in the Night. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 085398008x. 
  47. Steiner, Rudolf (1994) [1917]. Christopher Bamford. ed. The Archangel Michael. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press. ISBN 0-88010-378-7. 
  48. John Milton, Paradise Lost 1674 Book VI line 320

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Michael (archangel). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.