Saint Michael the Archangel Icon: Facts about the Godly Protector
Archangels occupy a special place among heavenly inhabitants. They belong to one of the highest categories of angels who perform God’s special assignments. One of the commanders of the angelic host, whose image is depicted in Saint Michael the Archangel icon, belongs to the number of beings endowed with celestial power. Both the icon of St. Michael and his depiction with the Archangel Gabriel together are deeply revered by the believers.
A great selection of Saint Michael icons depicts this heavenly figure, which once again emphasizes his great importance to the faithful people. Below, there are several facts about Saint Michael the Archangel icon and its main character:
- The name ‘Michael’ means “Who is like God.” According to the Christian and Jewish traditions, when Lucifer rebelled against the Lord and caused a part of the angelic army to revolt as well, the Archangel Michael was the first to fight him, and his battle cry was, “Who is as God!” The Catholic Church considers St. Michael to be its patron.
- The Archangel Michael is mentioned five times in the Holy Scripture. The Old Testament describes him as one of the most potent godly spirits, the Leader of Israel who has been accompanying the Israeli people throughout their existence.
- In the middle ages, the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, celebrated on September 29 in the Catholic tradition, was considered mandatory until the 18th century.
- The Jewish people treated the Holy Prophet Moses with great honor and respect. After his death, there was a danger that believers would worship him as God. Saint Michael hid the body of Moses so that no one knew where his grave was, thus saving people from the sin of idolatry.
- The veneration of Saint Michael the Archangel icon already existed in the first centuries of Christianity. Over time, the name “Michael” was included in the Holy Liturgy.
- In the Saint Michael iconography, the Archangel can be showed in a tunic and cloak, the ruler’s clothes, or the warrior’s armor. His wings are most often painted white or green-blue. The hair of the heavenly protector is tied with a bandage or decorated with a diadem. Sometimes, Saint Michael the Archangel icon depicts him with the scales, used by the Archangel to measure every human’s good deeds.
- St. Michael’s attributes are a cross, a scepter, a spear, a globe, a sword, the scales, and a shield with the inscription Quis ut Deus, which translates as “Who is like God.” Sometimes, Orthodox icons depict the Archangel with the Satan under his feet, often shown as a defeated dragon.