The two tidal islands of St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, Mount Saint-Michel in Normandy, Skellig Michael in Ireland, The Saint Michael’s Abbey in Val di Susa, the Church of the Archangel Saint Michael in Foggia, Archangel Michael of Panormitis Monastery in Symi in Greece and the Stella Maris Monastery of Israel in Mont Carmel: all of those places have a something in common.
As you might have guessed already, all of the listed above are devoted to Saint Michael whose cult, of Asian origin, date back to the Emperor Constantine. In fact he was the one who erected a majestic Sanctuary in Costantinople named “Michaeleion”
1 – The journey starts off in Skelling Island, Ireland
Pic by User:Gdr shared via Wikipedia – licence CC BY-SA 3.0
Towards the end of the 5th Century, Saint Michael’s cult was quickly spread throughout all Europe. On the 8th of May 490 a presumed apparition of the Archangel took place in San Lorenzo Maiorano and shortly after a Church in Foggia was built up too. This latter saw its sanctuary becoming place of pilgrimage, with a continuous flow of worshippers heading to the Holy Land.
2 – Saint Michael’s Mouth in Cornwall
Below, Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall in a pic of the 1900
Cornwall, this piece of soil in the farther outskirts of England.Lashed by the wind, it runs from the English Channel all the way to the Celtic Sea, branch of the Atlantic Sea wedged between Ireland and Great Britain. Cornwall is the landscape of romance, castles and fishers villages, moorlands and disused mines.
In Marazion, a suggestive sailors town in the South West, the Mount’s Bay and the view of St Michael’s Mount is extraordinary. The island is pretty close from there and stands out with its beautiful bright greens.
3 – Mont Saint Michel in France
Pic by Benh LIEU SONG shared via Wikipedia -licence CC BY-SA 2.0
The bay all around the island seems calm and reassuring but the feeling doesn’t last very long once you find out about those more than 150 shipwrecks happened in these waters from the 19th Century onwards.
St Michael’s Mount, which is the local language is called « Karrek Loos Yn Koos» (la grigia roccia nel bosco), is thought to be the ancient city of Ictis, place where merchants would converge in order to exchange the tin, extracted from the nearby Cornwall.
4 – The Saint Michael’s Abbey in Val di Susa
According to the legend, Saint Michael had appeared in 495 to a group of Benedectine monks coming from Mont Saint Michel in Normandy. When in the 11th century Edward the Confessor ceded the island to the abbot Bernard Le Bec, the abbey got sanctified by the apparition of the Saint.
Like the French St.Michael’s Mount, this Abbey in Italy was sharing its tidal nature, the conical shape and its final aim as a pilgrimage spot, destined to last for more than three centuries and becoming one of the most important English religious centers in the Middle Ages.
5 – Church of St.Michael in Mount St.Angelo Foggia, Italy
Below: Sotto, Church of St. Michael in Puglia.Pic by di Nikater shared via Wikipedia – licence CC BY-SA 3.0
In 1548 the Benedectine monks left the Island due to the suppressions of the abbeys in England an it got turned into a military outpost, as a defence from Spanish and French attacks. In 1588 the Spanish Armada (Philippe II’s army), was sighted in Mount St.Michael. A light was immediately turned on so that it was possible to inform London about the impending arrival of the enemies. At that point in all the Southern coasts this act was repeated.
In 1650, St.Michael’s Mount was bought by Sir John St Aubyn to be used as a sumptuous nobile dwelling. Subsequently during the Victorian age, the house, still owned by the same family, became a castle thanks to the refined work of the architect Piers St Aubyn.
6 – Archangel Michael of Panormitis Monastery in Symi, Greece
Pic by npinikas shared via wikipedia – licence CC BY-SA 3.0
The place can be accessed on a boat, however, at low tide you can reach this little gem by land as well. That is the best moment of the year to breathe in the smell of exotic plants that inhabit the atmospheric location since the 18th century. This area belongs to the Seven Sacred Places dedicated to the Archangel Saint Michael.
Strangely enough, all the places above mentioned, from the Northernmost Island of Skellig Michael to the Stella Maris Monastery of Israel in Mont Carmel, by connecting one place to another on a map, it seems like a line converging towards Jerusalem starts to form
This very mysterious line symbolises for many people nothing but the sword stroke with whom the Archangel repelled the devil, exiling him in hell for good.
7 – Stella Maris Monastery of Israel in Mont Carmel, last dot on the Archangel line
The sacred line of St. Michael, Prince of the Celestial Militia, evoked against Lucifer and the Evil Spirits, arise on top of a “Lay Lines”, i.e. one of those lines believed to release a huge amount of energy, considered from many ancient epochs of high symbolic and spiritual value.
Along this line, all the sanctuaries are placed to a similar distance one to the other. In a perfect alignment with the sunset during the Summer Solstice, maybe the travellers reminder to follow the path of righteousness.
A powerful call, despite the centuries.