St Michael & All Angels Church

Who is St Michael?

Men's Group



 

St MICHAEL ( ARCHANGEL)

St Michael on the Altar Frontal
St Michael shown slaying the dragon on the front of the Altar

St Michael (the Archangel) - his name means, "who is like unto God", he appears in the book of 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 - 9).1

From 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.

East Window
East Window

Left hand light of East Window
Part of the East
Window

Michael 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.

His 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).

1. Oxford Dictionary of Saints, OUP 1997, D Farmer, P348

St Michael shown by the artist as a young man
Detail of east Window