The Angel Michael was the field commander of the Army of God, leading them against Satan's forces during his uprising. "Who is like God?" (the phrase from which originates his name) was the battle cry of the good angels in the battle against Satan and his followers.
Image: Battle of the Archangel Michael and the Satan. Author: Tintoretto.
According to rabbinic Jewish sources, Michael was the advocate of Israel. He was in the fight with angel Samael, the accuser of Israel. When the latter was expelled from heaven and thrown down, he caught Michael by the wings, wishing to take him down, but Michael was saved by God.
The most famous is the legend of the miracle at Chonae (or Colossae), in Phrygia (an ancient kingdom, situated on the territory of modern Turkey). According to this legend, pagans wished to destroy the sanctuary of St Michael by the potent stream directed against it, but the custodian of the site Archippus prayed to St Michael, and the Archangel appeared and broke the rock, making a new way for the stream and blessing the water. That water was believed to have healing properties, and from then on the churches of St Michael were frequently visited by the sick and lame.
Image: Archangel Michael and the monk Archippus at Chonae. Icon, probably of Constantinopolitan origin. First half of the 12th century.
At Constantinople St Michael was famous as a great healer. According to some sources, he visited Emperor Constantine the Great, encouraging him for battles for spreading Christianity and appeared himself in several battles.
In the Roman Catholic Church, Michael is the Christian angel of death, carrying the souls to heaven, where they are weighted in his scales. At the hour of death, Michael appears in front of the dying person, giving the chance to redeem the soul before departure. St Michael is considered as well the guardian of the Church, which has been proved by his various apparitions. One of the most significant was over the mausoleum of Hadrian (situated in Parco Adriano, Rome, Italy), where he appeared with a sword in hand in answer to the prayers of Pope St Gregory I the Great about the plague in Rome. The prayers were fulfilled, and the Pope gave a new name to the mausoleum: "The Castle of the Holy Angel".
Image: Archangel Michael. Author: Carlo Crivelli. 1477.
Another marvelous apparition occurred near Monte Gargano in the Kingdom of Naples. In the year 492 a man named Garganus was pasturing his cattle in the countryside. He was very rich and had a lot of sheep and beasts. One day a bull fled to the mountain, and could not be found. Soon people discovered the cave where he was hiding, and shot an arrow inside, but it returned and struck the one who had sent it. People decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that Garganus had such a misfortune by Michael’s will, that the cave of the bull was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all Holy Angels. Bishop went with people to the cave, which had already the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and a magnificent temple of the divine Power arose there.
In Normandy Michael is the patron of sailors. He is 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. Michaels’s apparition in France to the bishop of Avranches led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel, a famous pilgrimage site.
Image: Vue du Mont Saint-Michel. Author: Victor Marie Félix Danvin. Current location: Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy.