The following message from Bill Thayer on LT-ANTIQ from last March may
be of use in the discussion of Michael the Archangel. In a subsequent
posting I'll reveal something about my interest in this subject area.
Bob Kraft, UPenn
> Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 10:17:29 -0600
> From: Bill Thayer <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: The Cult of St Michael
> To: Multiple recipients of list LT-ANTIQ
> <[log in to unmask]>
> Scripsit Alex Woolf <[log in to unmask]>:
> > Can anyone out there suggest either work on this very subject or
> > work more generally on the cult of Michael in Late Antiquity (c.350-650)?
> A rather weak starting point, since mostly concerned with a later period,
> in case no one else responds:
> Farmer, Hugh David: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
> Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978
> s.v. "Michael"
> It seems that the formal cult of Michael began in the East, where he was
> invoked for the care of the sick: Constantine built a church in his honour
> for this purpose at Sosthenion, near Constantinople; hot springs were also
> dedicated to him in Greece and Asia Minor. A famous apparition of Michael
> on Monte Gargano (SE. Italy) in the late 5th century was important in
> spreading the cult to the West; the feast of 29 September commemorates the
> dedication of his basilica on the Salarian Way near Rome.
> From early times his cult was strong in the British Isles. There were
> known dedications of churches at Malmesbury (Wilts.), Clive (Glos.), and
> Stanmer (East Sussex), besides that of the cemetery-oratory near Hexham
> mentioned by Bede. According to Eddius' Life, Wilfrid had a vision of
> Michael shortly before his death. Many high places were associated with
> his cult, one of the most spectacular being the Great Skellig (Skellig
> Michael, Co. Kerry), while St. Michael's Mount (Cornwall) was believed to
> commemorate a vision there in the 8th century. Often he was chosen as
> patron of cemeteries. His cult became popular in Wales in the 10th-11th
> centuries, while in England by the end of the Middle Ages, his church
> dedications numbered as many as 686.
> Same source, bibliography:
> AA.SS. Sept.VIII (1762), 4-123; O. Rojdestvensky, _Le Culte de Saint Michel
> et le moyen =E2ge latin_ (1922); A. M. Renner, _Der Erzengel Michael in der
> Geistes- und Kunstgeschichte (1927); J. Lemari=E9, 'Textes liturgiques
> concernant le culte de S. Michel', _Sacris Erudiri_, xiv (1963), 277-85;
> see also J./ Dani=E9lou, _Les anges et leur mission_ (1952).