St Michael (the Archangel) - his
name means, "who is like unto God", he appears in the
Daniel as one of the chief princes of the heavenly host and as the
special guardian and protector of Israel (Dan 10: 13 ff. and 12:1).
In the book of revelation he is the principal fighter of the heavenly
battle against the devil (or dragon), "who was cast unto the
earth and his angels were thrown down with him" (Rev 12:7 -
early times his cult was strong in the British Isles and became
popular in Wales in the 10-11th century. The cult spread from Brittany to Wales in the 8th century with the coming of the Norman's, who particularly favoured
Michael seeing him as the 'archangel soldier'. It is possible that
the Norman's who also built a Cistercian Abbey close at hand in
the 11 century may have founded the original church on the site
at Llantarnam. The cult of Michael was also strong in Normandy amongst
monks and there, can be found his most famous shrine, Mont-St-Michel.
of the East
is depicted at st Michael's Church in Llantarnam in the east window, shown
by the artist as a young man with an almost Tuetonic look. He is
also featured in an engraving on the front of the altar, slaying
the dragon (see above) dressed in armour.
principal feast is on 29 September, often called the feast of St
Michael and All Angels. Since 1969 the Roman calendar has also included
Gabriel and Raphael (the two other archangels) under his feast. The Welsh name for Michael is 'Mihangel' (from which we derive Llanfihangel as the welsh name of our church).
Oxford Dictionary of Saints, OUP 1997, D Farmer, P348
of east Window