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The Sword of Saint Michael

The Daily Knight

By @dawniemarieee on Twitter.

Quis ut Deus? Who is like unto God? A mysterious geographic line called the “Sword of Saint Michael," extends northwest to southeast from Skellig Michael in Ireland, ending at the Carmelite Monastery of Stella Maris Haifa, Israel. Along this line are majestic monasteries, basilicas and churches. These shrines to Saint Michael the Archangel symbolize victory over the devil and role as powerful intercessor before the Throne of God.

Here stands the first monastery of the line, that of Skellig Michael, Michael’s Rock.

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Seeking a place for extreme penance, contemplation and solitude, sixth century Irish monks built a monastery on a rock island eight miles off the coast of County Kerry. Thirteen monks lived on the tiny island at a time, the abbot and twelve monks, symbolizing Our Lord and the Twelve Apostles. Skellig Michael (Michael’s Rock) was a monastery fittingly dedicated to the formidable archangel.

The line then heads south and stops in England on St. Michael’s Mount, a Cornish islet which, at low tide, joins the mainland. Here, St. Michael is said to have spoken to a group of fishermen.

Saint Michael’s Mount, England

On the coast of Cornwall in England is the site of another island monastery, Saint Michael’s Mount. Accessible only at low tide, the monastery has attracted countless pilgrims due to an apparition of Saint Michael to local fishermen and the miracles here.

Mont Saint Michel The sacred line then goes on to France, on another famous island, in Mont Saint-Michel, also one of the places in which St. Michael has appeared.

In 709, the Archangel appeared to Saint Aubert, urging him to build a church in the rock. The works began immediately, but the Benedictine abbey was not fully built until the year 900.

Mont Saint Michel, France

The iconic Mont Saint Michel sits on the coast of Normandy, France. Saint Aubert, in the ninth century, was instructed by the Archangel to build the shrine on what was formerly a Druid devil-worship site. Mont Saint Michel continues to attract pilgrims and visitors.

Sacra Di San Michele About 1000 kilometers away, in Val de Susa, the fourth sanctuary arises: the Sacra di San Michele. The very same straight line links this sacred place to the rest of the monasteries dedicated to Saint Michael.

The construction of the abbey began around the year 1000 and new structures have been added to the original building. The Benedictine monks also added an inn, because this holy place was on the way of the pilgrims that traveled through the Via Francigena.

Sacra di San Michele, Italy

Built on top of an ancient pagan settlement and a Roman fortification, this shrine, near Turin, Italy housed a Benedictine monastery starting in the ninth century. It's an epic location with a panoramic view of the Val de Susa.

Santuario Di San Michele Archangelo Moving another 1000 kilometers in a straight line, one reaches Puglia, where an inaccessible cavern is a sacred place: the Sanctuary of Saint Michael. Its story goes back to the year 490, when St. Michael appeared to San Lorenzo Maiorano.

Monte Sant’ Angelo sul Gargano, Italy

The Shrine of Monte Sant’ Angelo sul Gargano, overlooking the Adriatic Sea, is known as the “Celestial Basilica,” having been blessed by the Archangel Michael himself in the fifth century after a series of miraculous events. In the seventeenth century, Saint Michael appeared to Bishop Alfonso Puccinelli and cured townspeople and anyone who devotedly kept stones from the cave marked with a cross and the initials “MA” (Michael Archangel). Many popes, nobles and saints number among the pilgrims who prayed at this shrine. Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land prayed to the Patron of Soldiers and carved numerous crosses on the cave walls.

Symi’s Monastery From Italy, the archangel’s footprints reach the sixth sanctuary. This one is in Greece, on the island of Symi. This monastery houses a three-meter-high statue of the Archangel, one of the largest in the world.

Monastery of the Archangel Michael, Greece

On the island of Symi in Greece lies a monastery dedicated to Saint Michael built in the fifth century over the site of a temple to the pagan god Apollo. A miraculous icon of Saint Michael can be found there as well as a museum full of testimonials of the favors and graces granted through the intercession of Saint Michael, especially to sailors.

Mount Carmel Monastery The Sacred Line ends in Israel, at Mount Carmel Monastery, in Haifa. This place has been revered since antiquity, and its construction as a Christian and Catholic sanctuary dates back to the 12th century.

Carmelite Monastery of Stella Maris, Haifa, Israel

Situated on Mount Carmel, the monastery has a sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea and the port city. It is only fitting that the sword line of St. Michael shrines points to a monastery dedicated to the Queen of Angels, Mary Most Holy, at what can be considered the entrance to the Holy Land upon which she and her Divine Son walked. Ready to take an epic pilgrimage to the shrines that make up the “Sword of Saint Michael.