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MICHAEL


276


MICHAEL


tioii of Moses (Origcn, " Dc principiis". III, 2, 1). St. Miclwol eoiuvalod tho tomb of Moses; Satan, howover, hy clisflosing it, tried to sediiee the Jewisli people to the sin of hero-worship. 8t. Michael also guards the body of Eve, aeeording to the " Revelation of Ah)ses" (".■V[X)cryphal(;osix'ls",etc.,eil. .\. Walker, ICdinlnirgh, p. 647). (d) -Vpoealypse, xii, 7, " And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John s]ieaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often ((uestion of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned. They say lie was the cherub who stood at the gate of para- dise, to keep the way of the tree of Hfe" (den., iii, 24). the angel through whom (lod published the Deca- logue to his chosen jieople, the angel who stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers, xxii, 22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (IV Kings, xix,;5.')), etc. Cf. P. Bona Ventura da Sorrento ("Mi- cha-cl", Naples, 1892).

Following these Scriptural passages. Christian tradi- tiongivestoSt. Michael four offices: (1) To fight against Satan. (2) To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the devil, especially at the hour of death. (3) To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; there- fore he was the patron of the Church, and of the order of knights during the Middle -\ges. (4) To call away from earth and bring raen'ssouls to judgment (" signi- fcr S. Michael reprsesentet eas in lucem sanctam", Offert. Miss. Defunct. " Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas ", Antiph. otT. Cf. "Hernias", Pastor, I, 3, Simil. VIII, 3). Regarding his rank in the celestial hierarchy opinions vary; St. Basil (Hom. de angelis) aixl other Greek Fathers, also Salmeron, Bellarmine, etc., place St. Michael over all the angels; they say he is called "archangel" because he is the princeofthe othcrangels; othcrs(cf.P. Bonaventura, op. cit.) Ixdievc that he is the prince of the seraphim, the first of the nine angelic choirs. But according to St. Thomas (Suinma, I, Q. exiii, a. 3) he is the prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels. The Roman Liturgj' seems to follow the Greek Fathers; it calls him "Princeps militise coelestis quern honorificant ange- lorum civcs". The hjTun of the Mozarabio Breviary places St. Michael even above the Twenty-four Elders. The Greek Liturgv' styles him 'Apx^crpdrriyoi, "highest general " (cf . Mentea, 8 Nov. and 6 Sept.).

Veneration. — It would have teen 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 martjTs as their military patrons: St. George, St. Theodore, St. Demetrius, St. Sergius, St. Procopius, St. Mercurius, etc.; but to St. Michael they gave the care of their sick. At the place where he was first venerated, in Phrygia, his prestige as angelic healer oliscured his interposition in military afTairs. It was from early times the centre of the true cult of the holy angels, particularly of St. Mi- chael. Tradition relates that St. Michael in the earliest ages caused a medicinal spring to spout at Chairoto[)a near Colossa;, where all the sick who bathed there, invoking the Blessed Trinity and St. Micliael, were cured. Still more famous are the springs which St. Michael is said to have drawn from the rock at Colossa; (Chona;, the present Khonas, on the Lycus). The pagans directed a stream against the sanctuary of St. Michael to destroy it, but the arch- angel split the rock by lightning to give a new bed to the stream, and sanctified fon^ver the waters which came from the gorge. The (ireeks claim that this apparition took place about the middle of the first century and celebrate a feast, in commemoration of it on 6 SeptemlxT (Analecta Bolland., VIII, 285-328). Also at Pythia in Bithynia and elsewhere in Asia the


hot springs were dedicated to St. Michael. At Con- stantinople likewise.St.Michacl was the great heavenly physician. His principal .sanctuary, the .Michaelion, was at Sosthenion, .some fifty miles south of Con- stantinople; there the archangel is said to have appeared to the Emperor Constantine. The sick slept in this church at night to wait for a manifesta- tion of St. Michael; his fea.st was kept there 9 June. Another famous church was within the walls of the city, at the thermal baths of the Emperor Arcadjus; there the synaxis of the archangel was celebrated 8 Nov. This feast spread over the entire Greek Church, and the Syrian, Armenian, and Coptic C'hurches adopted it also; it is now the principal feast of St. Michael in the Orient. It may have originated in Phrygia, but its station at Constantinople was the Thermie of Arcadius (Martinow, " Annus Gra;co-slavi- cus",8Nov.). Other feasts of St. Michael at Con- stantinople were: 27 Oct., in the "Promotu" church; 18 June, in the Church of St. Julian at the Forum; 10 Dec., at Athsea (Maximilian, Liturgia Orientalis, Freiburg, 1908).

The Christians of Egj-pt placed their life-giving river, the Nile under the protection of St. Michael; they adopted the Greek feast and keep it 12 Nov.; on the twelftli of every month they celebrate a special commemoration of the archangel, but 12 June, when the river commences to rise, they keep as a holi- day of obligation the feast of St. Michael "for the ris- ing of the Nile", ei5x^ "' 'V" ffi/MM«P<"' civd^aaiv tCiv TTOTafilbiv vSdruv (N. Nilles, " Kal. man.", II, 702, Innsbruck).

At Rome the Leonine Sacramentary (sixth cent.) has the " Natale Basilicie Angeli via Salaria", 30 Sept.; of the five Masses for the feast three mention St. Michael. The Gelasian Sacramentary (seventh cent.) gives the feast "S. Michaclis Archangeli", and the Gregorian Sacramentary (eighth cent.), "Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis " , 29 Sept. A manuscript also here adds " via Salaria " (Ebncr, " 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. 855). It disappeared a thou- sand years ago. At Rome also the part of heavenly physician was given to St. Michael. According to an (apocryphal?) legend of the tenth century he ap- peared 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. Boniface IV (608-15) built on the Moles Hadriani in honour of him, a chiu'ch, which was styled St. Michaelis inter nubes (in sumnnlalc circi).

Well known is the apparition of St. Michael (a. 494 or 530-40), as related in the Roman Breviary, 8 May, at his renowned sanctuary on Monte Gargano, where his original glory as patron in war was restored to him. To his intercession the Lombards of Sipontum (Manfre- donia) attributed their victory over the Greek Nea- politans, 8 May, 663. In commemoration of this victory the church of Sipontum instituted a special feast in honour of the archangel, on 8 May, which has spread over the entire Latin Church and is now called (since the time of Pius V) "Apparitio S. Michaelis", although it originally did not commemorate the apparition, but the victory.

In Normandy St. 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. Auliert, Bishop of Avranches. In Normandy his feast "S. Michaelis in periculo maris" or "in Monte Tumba" was universally celebrated on 18 Oct., the anniversary of the dedication of the first church, 16 Oct.. 710; the feast is now confined to the Diocese of Coutances. In Germany, after its evangel- ization, St. Michael replaced for "the Christians the pagan god Wotan, to whom many mountains were