The History and Meaning of the St. Michael Icon
The St. Michael icon is one of the most famous and, at the same time, most venerated icons in Russia. For centuries, the believers from all corners of the country have been coming to it in the hope of receiving answers to the essential questions, healing from serious illnesses, and, what is more important, getting a little closer to God and uniting with higher forces. The value of this icon in Orthodox culture is second to none.
Who is Saint Michael?
It is believed that Saint Michael is the supreme and closest to God angel. He is the commander of heavenly legions, who leads the fight against evil on this earth. Michael is as courageous as spiritually pure. His icon is considered miraculous and symbolizes the search for meaning, hope, and everything that purifies the soul and brings the person closer to God. The ancient texts say that it was Michael who united all the archangels in the struggle against Lucifer. That is why the icon of St. Michael is especially honored among the military people who consider the saint their patron. Besides, St. Michael patronizes builders and grooms. People named Michael also venerate the saint.
Quite often, the saint is depicted holding a pike in his right hand as a symbol of struggle. In his left hand, Michael holds a mirror that symbolizes the foresight. In the Russian icons of a later period, you can see the archangel in the similitude of a winner in the battle with Satan. He holds a pike in his right hand and the scales in his left hand. There are also Saint Michael icons depicting him holding a flaming sword and wearing a bright red cape as a symbol of victory.
The most famous depiction of the saint in the entire Saint Michael iconography is perhaps “The miracle in Khonekh.” In this icon, the saint is depicted holding a staff in his hand, with streams of water around him forming an arch.
You will hardly find a church in Russia without the St. Michael icon. His icons can also be found on church utensils and even on the coat of arms of the Russian Federation. The city of Arkhangelsk is named in honor of the Archangel Michael.
How does the St. Michael icon help?
People often come to the icons to ask for help in complicated situations. They turn to Saint Michael to overcome mental and physical illnesses, in search of life mission, asking for help in military affairs and protection from enemies. Besides, people pray with the Saint Michael the Archangel icon to bless a new home.
They say that you can also pray with the St. Michael icon for the salvation of deceased relatives. It is believed that the archangel can visit the Purgatory and bring out the souls of those people, whose beloved ones pray for them on earth. The most important thing is to believe that your message will be heard and accepted.