Feast of St.Michael | Sunday Observer

Feast of St.Michael

The feast of St Michael’s Church, Koralawella Moratuwa was held last Sunday. Here, Christie Ferdinando , Hony. Secretary of the church for 21 years, pays his tributes to the saint.

Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are three archangels liturgically venerated by the church and St.Michael is regarded the Prince of the heavenly hosts.

Michael means ‘who is like God’, the war cry of the good angels which calls to mind the battle in heaven between St.Michael and the rebellions Lucifer. St.Michael’s name appears in the Old Testament, the New Testament and in apocryphal writings.

In the book of Revelation, it is mentioned, “and war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who was called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world was thrown down to the earth and his angels were thrown with him”. (Revelation 12:7-9)

Satan’s defeats are mentioned in Luke 10:18. “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.”

Death of Moses

With reference to the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6), he died in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command and was buried opposite Beth-be-or but no one knows to this day where he was actually buried.

St.Jude refers to a dispute between St.Michael and the devil over the body of Moses. St.Michael prevented the Jews from hero worshiping him, but the devil fried to disclose the site of burial of Moses and persuade the Jewish people to sin.

“But when the Archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “the Lord rebukes you” (Jude 8:9).

There are many instances in the scripture, where St.Michael’s name is not mentioned, but these refer to St.Michael.

In the early days, St.Michael was the patron Saint of Jewish people and was military patron to Christians, giving victory to their wars.

He was first venerated at Phrygia, and his military prestige changed over to an angelic healer. Belief is that a spring that was flowing from a rock, where those who bathed there were cured of their illness. Pagans had directed a water way to destroy the spring. But St.Michael had directed lightening and split the rock.

An apparition had taken place in the 1st century and a feast was held on September 6. Healing powers of this heavenly physician spread to other places in quick succession and springs and mountains were dedicated to St.Michael. After Germany was evangelised, many mountains and shrines dedicated to pagan gods were re-dedicated to St.Michael.

In Egypt, Christians placed the Nile under the patronage of St.Michael and on June 12, a commemoration in honour was held and named “rising of the Nile”.

Apparition of St.Michael in Italy in 525 during the pontificate of Pope Gelasius I on monte-Gar-gano in Apalia is well known and a request had been made that a sanctuary be built in his honour.

Here he was considered the patron of war and received his earlier position.

About the year 530, Pope Baniface II chose September 29, earlier dedicated to all angels to dedicate a church in Rome to St.Michael the Archangel. Since then the feast of St.Michael has been celebrated through out the Christendom on this day.