Saint Archangel Michael, Triptych
|Dimensions||0.0 × 27.0 × 25.0 cm|
Saint Archangel Michael with Our Lady and saint Nicholas, Triptych/Wood
Michael ([mixaˈʔel]; Hebrew: מִיכָאֵל, Micha’el or Mîkhā’ēl, ‘Who is like God?’; Greek: Μιχαήλ, Russian Архистратиг Михаил) is an archangel in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions, he is called “Saint Michael the Archangel” and “Saint Michael”. In the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox traditions, he is called “Taxiarch Archangel Michael” or simply “Archangel Michael”.
Michael is mentioned three times in the Book of Daniel, once as a “great prince who stands up for the children of your people”. 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.
In the New Testament Michael leads God’s armies against Satan’s forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. In the Epistle of Jude Michael is specifically referred to as “the archangel Michael”. Christian sanctuaries to Michael appeared in the 4th century, when he was first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. By the 6th century, devotions to Archangel Michael were widespread both in the Eastern and Western Churches. Over time, teachings on Michael began to vary among Christian denominations.
The Eastern Orthodox accord Michael the title “Archistrategos”, or “Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts. The Eastern Orthodox pray to their guardian angels and above all to Michael and Gabriel.
The Eastern Orthodox have always had strong devotions to angels, and the trend continues to date with the term “Bodiless Powers” applied to them. A number of feasts dedicated to Archangel Michael are celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox throughout the year.
Archangel Michael is mentioned in a number of Eastern Orthodox hymns and prayer, and his icons are widely used within Eastern Orthodox churches. In many Eastern Orthodox icons, Christ is accompanied by a number of angels, Michael being a predominant figure among them.
In Russia many monasteries, cathedrals, court and merchant churches are dedicated to the Chief Commander Michael, and most Russian cities have a church or chapel dedicated to the Archangel Michael.
The place of Michael in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is as a saintly intercessor, where he is seen as the one: who presents to God the prayers of the just, who accompanies the souls of the dead to heaven, who defeats the devil. He is celebrated liturgically on the 12th of each month. In Alexandria, a church was dedicated to him in the early fourth century on the 12th of the month of Ba’unah. On the 12th of the month of Hathor is the celebration of Michael’s appointment in heaven, where Michael became the chief of the angels.