The veneration of Saint Michel
Michael the Archangel is mentioned five times in Holy Scripture, in particular, in the book of Daniel, he portrayed as the supreme ruler of the heavenly army and warrior against the enemies of the Church, whilst in the book of Revelation, Michael is prince of the angels faithful to God; he fights and defeats the dragon (Satan) and the rebel angels.
Thus, St. Michael is revered in the Christian tradition as a defender of the Christian people, very much a warrior; he challenges the enemies of the Church.
The cult of the Archangel spread from the east and took root in the Mediterranean region particularly in Italy, where it arrived with the expansion of Christianity.
The oldest and most famous place of veneration of Saint Michael in the west, is the Sanctuary of San Michele in Monte Sant’Angelo, which was erected on the promontory of Gargano in the fifth century.
Very soon this sanctuary became an important centre for the spread of the veneration of Saint Michael in Europe and Italy and it came to represent the ideal model for all subsequent sanctuaries set up along the lines of that at Gargano: mountain summits, hills, high places and deep caves were regarded from earliest times as the most appropriate places for the veneration of angels and of Michael in particular.
In 708 or 709, in France, on a promontory of the Normandy coast, a sanctuary was consecrated to the Angel under the title “Mont Saint-Michel au péril de la mer”, due to the phenomenon of high and low tides which made the surroundings quite dangerous.
The Sacra is “of Saint Michael” because its birth, its growth, its history and its constituent parts all centre around the veneration of St. Michael which first came to the Susa Valley in the V or VI century. Its location on high ground, in a highly evocative setting is redolent of these two earlier establishments dedicated to the Archangel Michael on Gargano and in Normandy. Founded between 983 and 987 on the rocky spur of Mount Pirchiriano, it is at the midpoint of a pilgrimage route of over two thousand kilometres that connects a significant part of Western Europe from Mont Saint-Michel to Monte Sant’Angelo.