Saint Michael and All Angels

11Durer

There was a silence in heaven as the dragon joined battle with the Archangel Michael.

A voice was heard, thousand upon thousand-fold, saying:
Salvation, honor and virtue to almighty God. Alleluia.

–Benedictus antiphon at Lauds on Michaelmas Day

The Christian calendar marks this day as the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels or, as it is commonly known, Michaelmas. I like Saint Michael, an archangel and a fierce figure. I hate what our pop culture as done with angels though, placing them somewhere between Smurfs and unicorns.

There's a unicorn grazing near here

There's a unicorn grazing near here

 

 

The first words from angels whenever they appear in the Bible was almost always, “Fear not.” You wouldn’t be terrified by a doughy little baby with cotton wings, would you?

 

 

 

Michaelmas is an interesting feast day and here’s an excellent essay about it from the Lectionary page http://satucket.com/lectionary/Michael.htm

 For fans of choral music and Anglican liturgy there’s a superb recording on the Hyperion label called The Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels at Westminster Abbey. The recording takes the listener through a day of worship at the Abbey with music for Matins, the Eucharist and Evensong. Some highlights include Michael Tippett’s Plebs angelica, Richard Dering’s gorgeous Factum est silentium and the Sequence for  St. Michael by Herbert Howells.

A must-have

A must-have

You can sample bits of it and read the liner notes at the Hyperion website http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/

Speaking of angels, here’s Claudio Monteverdi’s Duo Seraphim from his Vespro della Beata Virgine 1610

Raphael's Saint Michael

Raphael's Saint Michael

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