Saint Michael in Judaeo-Christian and Anglo-Saxon Tradition

Michael's pre-eminence among the archangels is due to a peculiar set of circumstances. Jewish doctrine views God in his relationship to Israel and to the other nations in a logical way. The Israelites accepted God's law, therefore becoming his ‘peculiar people’ (Deuteronomy 14.2, 26.8; Psalm 135.4), but God deputed the care of other nations to guardian angels so that it might be said (e.g., in the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan to Genesis 11.7-8) that every nation has its own guardian angel to plead the cause of that nation before God. In later times, God's personal guardianship of Israel was given to Michael (Daniel 10.13, 21). In Hagigah 12b Michael is described as ‘Advocate of the Jews’ and in the Yalkut Shimeoni, Bereshith 132 he is specifically regarded as prince over all the angels because he is the guardian angel of Israel.[1] In the New Testament, Israel stands for all mankind; the vision of the Christian world to come is that of a new Israel with a new Jerusalem, and Michael must now be viewed as the defender and advocate of all men. He is viewed in this way in the Roman liturgy for 8 May and 29 September, the hymn of the Mozarabic Breviary elevates him above the Twenty-four Elders, and the Greek liturgy gives him the title ἀρχιστράτηγος, archistratégos, ‘highest general.’

Michael is mentioned by name four times in the Scriptures, once in the Koran, and very frequently in apocryphal writings. The four scriptural references (Daniel 10.13 ff., 12.1; Jude 9; Apocalypse 12.7) lead most authorities on Christian tradition to ascribe to Michael four functions—to fight against Satan, to rescue the souls of dying men from the devil, to be the champion of God's people, and to take men from earth to judgment. Such a view of Michael is inadequate for the study of the Old English eulogy in Corpus 41, however, for the source of the Old English text draws on the apocryphal references to Michael and on those many passages in the Scriptures that refer to him by implication. All these references have been identified by the church fathers and assembled in later writings, of which one may lie behind the Corpus eulogy.[2] It is therefore necessary to take a fuller view of Michael than usual in an attempt to place in context the apparently effusive and extravagant praise of him found in this Old English encomium. The list that follows is original, since it has not been possible to find one sufficiently detailed elsewhere.[3]

Michael takes part in the act of creation, has care of the tree of life, and controls chaos, especially waterEdit

In the Gospel of Bartholomew 53, Michael takes part in the creation: ‘God said unto Michael: Bring me a clod from the four corners of the earth, and water out of the four rivers of paradise’ (James, p. 178). In the Book of Enoch, Michael is set over chaos in 20.5 (Charles, p. 201), has charge of the tree of life in 24 and 25 (Charles, p. 204), and holds Akâe, the secret oath for creation, in 69.14 ff. (Charles, p. 234). In the Vita Adae et Evae 22.2, God sends Michael to Adam with seeds (Charles, p. 138).

In III Baruch 11.1 f., Michael holds the keys of heaven (Charles, p. 539); the implication is that there is reference to Michael in Apocalypse 9.1. It may further be assumed that the angel among the myrtle trees in Zechariah 1.8 ff. is Michael, and the Fathers state that in Genesis 3.24 it is Michael who stands at the gate of paradise with ‘a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.’

Michael may be seen in control of the waters in, for example, the Apocalypse of Paul 43, where he prays for dew and rain so that the earth may bear fruit (James, pp. 547-8); in the Vita Adae et Evae 28 and 29, where he casts Adam from paradise, freezing the waters for him to walk upon (Charles, p. 140); in the Book of Enoch 67.12, where God promises Noah that Michael, in command of the waters, is to judge the evil angels and kings (Charles, p. 232); and in the Slavonic Acts of Andrew and Paul, where Michael is the captain of a ship which is to take the Child to Rome (James, p. 474).

Michael is the messenger of GodEdit

Michael frequently appears in this role, and a few examples should suffice. In the Revelation of Moses, Michael is sent to Adam after the death of Abel to announce the conception of Seth (ANF 8, p. 565) and is sent to talk with Seth about the death of Adam (ANF 8, p. 566); in the Secrets of Enoch 22.6-9, Michael is sent to fetch Enoch before God (Charles, p. 443); and in the First Appendix to the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 9.1-5, Michael conveys God's message to the seventy nations (Charles, p. 363). In the light of such references as these, the Fathers read Michael whenever an angel messenger appears in the Bible: for example, Genesis 16.7-14, 18.2 ff., 31.11-13; Exodus 11.1-8, and so forth.

Michael is the heavenly scribeEdit

Michael is connected with writing in, for example, the Secrets of Enoch 33.10 (Charles, p. 452) and the First Appendix to the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 8.4-6, where Michael and seventy angels teach languages to mankind (Charles, p. 363). Michael is therefore supposed to be the angel mentioned as carrying out this function in Apocalypse 1.1-2; 5; 10. The logical extension of this belief is that Michael was regarded as the law-giver; for example, in the Apocalypse of Paul 44, the Son of God refers to ‘Michael the archangel of my covenant’ (James, p. 548), and in the Revelation of Moses Michael instructs Moses in the tables of the law (ANF 8, p. 565). Michael was therefore supposed to be the angel of the presence who gives Moses the laws on Mount Sinai in Jubilees 1.27, 2.1; Acts 7.38, 52-3. The next step in the argument was to have Michael act as judge; for example, in Malachi 3.1, the Book of Enoch 60.4, 5 (Charles, p. 224) or III Baruch where, in 11.9 and 12.1-8, Michael holds a vessel for the merits of the just and fills it with the flowers that represent their merits and where, in 14.1-2 and 15.1-4, Michael presents the merits of men to God and rewards the virtuous (Charles, pp. 540-1).

Michael escorts the bodies and souls of the departed into heavenEdit

In the Revelation of Moses, the Lord delivers Adam to Michael, and Michael cares also for the bodies of Abel and Eve (ANF 8, pp. 569-70); in the Gospel of Nicodemus II, 9, the Lord delivers Adam and the just to Michael (ANF 8, p. 437 Greek, p. 452 Latin); in the Assumption of the Virgin (Pseudo-Melito) 17, Michael rolls the stone from the sepulchre, bringing forth the soul of the Virgin (James, p. 216)—compare the homily on the subject in Corpus 41. In the Vision of Paul 14, 25, 49, Michael has charge of the souls of men (ANF 9, pp. 154, 158, 165), and in the Acts of Andrew and Paul the dead rise at the crucifixion of Peter but the Child bids them go back till Michael raise them (James, p. 474).

Michael thus takes charge of the bodies and souls of Adam and Eve, the Virgin Mary, and all men, becoming a general psychopompus. He is mentioned in this role in the offertory of the Mass for the Dead: ‘sed signifer sanctus Michael repraesentet eas in lucem sanctam.’

Michael is the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians (the Church) in the New TestamentEdit

In Sirach 17.17 (Charles I, p. 376—see note 1 supra) we read: ‘For every nation he appointed a ruler, But Israel is the Lord's portion.’ In Daniel 10.13, 21, in a vision on the banks of the Euphrates, Daniel is told by Gabriel of a quarrel between the tutelary angel of the Jews and the tutelary angel of the Persians settled after three weeks by Michael in favour of the Jews. In the forthcoming struggle with the angel of Greece, Michael will again intervene on behalf of Israel. Indeed, Michael assumes complete tutelage of Israel, as we are told in Daniel 12.1-3, and at the end of time Michael, not the Enthroned, will wage war on the dragon in Apocalypse 12.7 ff. As a result, Michael is commonly regarded as the chief warrior of heaven; in Daniel 8.11 he is the prince of the host, in the Assumption of Moses 10.2 he is Israel's champion, in the Secrets of Enoch 22.6 and 33.10 he is ἀρχιστράτηγος, archistratégos, ‘highest general’ (Charles, pp. 443, 452), and throughout the Apocalypse of the Holy Mother he is referred to as the ‘commander-in-chief’ (ANF 9, p. 169 ff.).

It is not difficult to see why the Fathers consider there is reference to Michael in the account of the angel host leaving the temple before the destruction of Jerusalem, as related by Josephus, or in the protection of the Israelites in Exodus 33.2-3; indeed, a clue is provided in Exodus 23.21—‘my name is in him.’ Michael's guardianship of Israel is extended to his guardianship of all mankind, reminding us of the Book of Enoch 20.5 and his first function and leading logically to the final two functions—to pray for all mankind and to do battle on behalf of mankind with Satan.

Michael intercedes on behalf of men in the presence of GodEdit

Angels in the presence constantly adore God (Apocalypse 4.8, 5.12; Isaiah 6.3, etc.) and Michael leads the prayers in, for example, the Testament of Abraham 4: ‘At sunset all the angels worship God and Michael himself is the first of the angels’ (ANF 9, p. 187). Other similar references include the Book of Enoch 40.9 (Charles, p. 211), the Gospel of Nicodemus 3 (ANF 8, p. 449), the Testament of Levi 5.6-7 (Charles, p. 307), the Testament of Daniel 6.2 (Charles, p. 335), III Baruch 11.1-9, 14.1-2 (Charles, pp. 539-40), and the Vision of Paul 43, 48 (ANF 9, pp. 162, 163, 165 and James, pp. 547-8).

Michael does battle with Satan in a three-fold struggleEdit

At the beginning of time: in the Gospel of Bartholomew 54-5, Michael instructs Satan to worship the newly-created Adam, but Satan refuses to do so and God casts him from heaven (James, p. 178); in the Vita Adae et Evae 13.2-15.3, Satan tells Adam of the incident that led to his being thrown from heaven by Michael for his refusal to worship Adam (Charles, p. 137). In the Book of Enoch 54.6, Michael and the three other archangels are sent to push the devil's followers into the fiery furnace (Charles, p. 220), and in 68.2-5, Michael and Raphael discuss the severity of the judgment upon the Satans (Charles, pp. 232-3).

At the present time: Michael battles the devil for the soul of each man as he dies, and this idea is based on two passages of Scripture, Jude 9 and Zechariah 3.1-2.

At the end of time: in Daniel 12.1 ff., the angel telling of the end of the world says, ‘And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.’ The final battle is described in Apocalypse. Apocalypse 9 describes the fifth angel opening the bottomless pit and the sixth loosing the four angels bound in the river Euphrates. According to the apocryphal Revelation of John, Michael and Gabriel sound the last trump (ANF 8, p. 583), after which ensues the final battle with Satan described in Apocalypse 12.7-9. It is significant that Michael fights the dragon and thrusts aside the figure of the Messiah so completely. This part of Michael's function has found a prominent place in the Liturgy, e.g.:

  • Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio, ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio. Alleluia.
  • Concussum est mare, et contremuit terra, ubi Archangelus Michael descendit de caelo. Alleluia.[4]

The Veneration of St MichaelEdit

Granted the meaning of Michael's name, the attributes and functions of the archangel as enumerated above seem to follow logically enough, culminating in Michael's replacing God as guardian of the church and defender of mankind against Satan. The memory of such a prominent archangel was naturally celebrated very frequently in the Christian world, and the veneration of St Michael is most extensive. A full description of the veneration and a list of feast-days observed may be found in the Catholic Encyclopedia and The Lives of the Saints.[5] It is sufficient to note here that Michael is celebrated as warrior and healer, in connection with water (the Springs of Colossae, the Nile) and mountain-tops (Colossae, Mount Garganus, Moles Hadriani, Le Puys, Mont-Saint-Michel, St Michael's Mount, Tumba).

In the West, confusion attends the celebration of St Michael. The modern practice of the breviary and missal is clear, 8 May being set aside for the apparition of Michael on Mount Garganus in Apulia, Italy[6] (variously given as AD 492, 494, or 520-30) and 29 September being the main Michaelmas celebration, used to celebrate Michael and all faithful angels on the anniversary of the dedication of a church to Michael in Rome (variously given as one near the Flaminian Circus, one on the outskirts of the city, or one in the Via Salaria). The feast on 8 May was instituted by Pius V in commemoration of the victory of the Lombards of Sipontum over the Greek Neapolitans on 8 May, 663; the attribution of the Mount Garganus apparition to this date was therefore erroneous.

Most early calendars and martyrologies do not celebrate 8 May, only 29 September under various heads; most say simply ‘dedicatio ecclesiae sancti angeli Michaelis’ (sic Bede) or some equivalent, some specifically mention Mount Garganus (Pseudo-Jerome, Usuard, Notker), and some mention both Mount Garganus and one of the Roman churches (Lesser Roman Martyrology, followed by Ado.)[7]

In Old English times, St Michael appears to have been celebrated only on 29 September. The Bede and Sarum calendars mention Michael only on 29 September, and indeed no calendar in Wormald[8] has the feast of 8 May. The only exception that can be found is the Old English Martyrology, which records the Garganus story under 8 May as well as the main festival of St Michael under 29 September.[9] Blickling Homily 17, ‘To Sae Michaheles Mæssan,’ is a Mount Garganus homily appearing in sequence between homilies about SS Peter and Paul (29 June) and St Martin (11 November) and therefore presumably delivered on 29 September, as was Ælfric's homily 1.34 (‘Dedicatio ecclesiae si Michaelis archangeli’). One may assume that the text in Corpus 41 was intended for 29 September.

As far as dedications are concerned, St Michael seems to have been popular in early England. By the time of the Reformation, 687 dedications had been made to St Michael or St Michael and All Angels, a number exceeded only by those to the Virgin (2,335), All Saints (1,255), and St Peter (1,140).[10] Very few are known from the early period, however, for Levison[11] can list only four to the beginning of the ninth century—at Clive (Gloucestershire), Hexham, Malmesbury, and Stanmer (Sussex)—to which may be added the monastery at Halstock (Dorset).[12] In Devonshire, St Michael had 37 dedications by the Reformation, exceeded only by those to the Virgin (113) and St Peter (50), and the reason is that St Michael ‘is to be regarded as largely a saint, if only by adoption, of the Celtic Church.’[13]

St Michael is mentioned fairly frequently in Old English sources, but not perhaps as often as one might expect. Ælfric does not refer to Michael except in the homily for his day and in one later piece, because Ælfric avoids much of the apocryphal literature (definitely objecting to some of it) and never produces any of those dramatic Last Judgment scenes that one finds in the Vercelli Codex and the Pseudo-Wulfstan homilies; Wulfstan also avoids using material of this kind. With the two most prolific writers of late Old English prose avoiding this type of thing, it is natural that the number of references to St Michael is disproportionate to the number of surviving homilies from Old English times. But it must be remembered that Ælfric and Wulfstan represent the intelligentsia, and the more dramatic Vercelli type of homily probably had great popular appeal.

Apart from probable mention of Michael in various litanies and unprinted Last Judgment homilies, the references to St Michael that one can trace follow. Michael is mentioned in the Old English Bede, but only incidentally, in a reference to an oratory and church of St Michael near Hexham.[14] In Corpus 41, this stray reference occurs on page 372 and the encomium is not found until pages 402-17, so there is no connection between the two. Michael plays a part in Eddi's Life of Wilfrid.[15] In chapter lvi he appears to the sick Wilfrid in a vision, and in chapter lxvi bands of angels come with Michael to take Wilfrid's soul to paradise. Blickling Homily 13 for the Assumption has Michael take charge of the soul of the Virgin.[16] Then there are two homilies for St Michael's day, Blickling 17,[17] and Ælfric I. 34 (‘Dedicatio ecclesiae si Michaelis archangeli’). This latter homily has been printed by Thorpe and by Warner.[18] It is found in altogether nine manuscripts, which shows how widely known this text was. It is a sermon that ends in praise of St Michael, who has care of Christian men and who appeared on Mount Garganus. Blickling 7, for Easter Day, says that Michael will blow the four trumpets at the four corners of the earth to call the dead to judgment.[19] Visions of Departing Souls, a passage written partly by Ælfric, shows Michael in his role of psychopompus; the passage has oriental antecedents, and an Old Irish parallel exists.[20] In Pseudo-Wulfstan XXIX, a demon says to a departing soul, ‘Ƿēn ys, þæt Michael se heahencȝel cume mid enȝla þreatum and ƿyle þe ȝeniman of ūs.’[21] Other references in Pseudo-Wulfstan homilies occur in XLII, a translation of Adzo on Antichrist:

...drihten hælend ofslihð hine mid his ƿorde; sƿa hƿeðer sƿa he bið ofslaȝen þurh miht ures drihtnes aȝenes bebodes oððe Michael ȝodes heahenȝel hine ofslea, þurh ðæs lifiȝendan ȝodes miht he bið ofslaȝen and nā þurh nanes enȝles mihte;[22]

in XLV:

ures drihtnes ærendȝeƿrite be ðære halȝan þrynnesse, þe feoll of þam seofoðan heofone þurh þone halȝan heahenȝel Michael...and Machabium soðlice hit asende to þære stoƿe Ss Michael þæs heahenȝles;[23]...ic sæcȝe, þæt on þam monðe, þe hatte nouembris, þæt ȝe scoldan ealle forƿeorðan, nære þære halȝan Sa Marian ȝebed and þæs halȝan heahenȝles Michahel and þara haliȝra apostola Petrus and Paulus;[24]

and in XLVI, where the sins ask the wretched soul:

hƿi noldest ðu, unȝesæliȝe, andettan þinum drihtne and biddan þone halȝan Michael, þæt he ƿære þe fultumiȝend, and ealle halȝan?[25]

There is also the reference in Corpus 41, homily 3, mentioned above. When Willard prints part of this homily,[26] he also quotes from a homily in Faustina A ix and Corpus 302 a passage beginning ‘Sanctus Michael nimð þa soðfæstan saƿle ⁊ ȝelæt hi beforan ȝodes heahsetle.’

Then there is the important Last Judgment homily, Vercelli XV, in which in turn St Mary, St Michael, and St Peter plead for the sinful, and are each given a third of their number.[27] Förster follows Vercelli XV in his edition with a homily from Hatton 116, which does not contain the passage just described but which has on page 120:

7 sanctus Michael þone heahenȝel uton ƿe us on fultum ciȝen, se is hyrde neorxnaƿonȝes ⁊ Ebrea þeoda ⁊ æȝhƿilces ȝodes mannes sawle. He ȝeƿeald hæfð, ⁊ he nefre hy ne forlæt, ær he hi ȝebrinȝe beforan Drihtnes heahsettle. ⁊ þer he is ⁊ ƿeardaþ ealra haleȝra saƿla, ⁊ seo ece bliss unasecȝendlic on heofona rice...

A source for the eulogy on St Michael in Corpus 41 cannot be found. The formula that introduces most of the stanzas, ‘þis is se halȝa heahenȝel Sanctus Michael,’ could be derived from the Roman liturgy's ‘Hic est Michael Archangelus.’ The text in Corpus 41 may be a homily of a particular type, however, for it resembles a mediaeval trope of sequence, a hymn form developed and extensively used in the liturgy from the ninth to the twelfth centuries.[28] Reconstructions of the English cycles for the sequences suggest that on Michaelmas the melody ‘Mater sequentiarum’ accompanied the sequence whose incipit was ‘Summi regis’ in eleventh-century Winchester and Exeter.[29] It may be that the homily in Corpus 41 was intended for this ceremony, but one should not go so far as to suggest that it was sung.[30]

In some ways the rather extravagant praise of St Michael sounds oriental, and in this connection it is interesting to note that almost the same list of ascriptions to Michael of the divine interventions of the Old Testament is found in a Coptic sermon printed by Budge in 1894.[31] The sermon in question is an encomium apparently by Theodosius, patriarch of Alexandria from 536-566, but dated by Budge as seventh-century since it is probably pseudonymous like most Coptic homilies. Information on the Ethiopian cult of St Michael may be found in the Acta Sanctorum, but it is sufficient to note here that the Ethiopian church commemorated St Michael on the 12th of every month and therefore spread his protection of Old Testament figures throughout the year. As the Coptic church was still partly Greek-speaking in the seventh and eighth centuries, it is possible that the ‘Theodosius’ text was known in Greek and attracted attention as the veneration of St Michael spread in the West. While the diffuse ‘Theodosius’ sermon is not the source of the Old English eulogy,[32] it is interesting to study it beside the Old English text inasmuch as it shows the same practice of attributing to Michael all sorts of acts mentioned in the Old Testament and in various apocryphal sources and inasmuch as it sets exactly the same extravagant tone as the Old English eulogy, a tone apparently by no means uncommon; one of the other two encomia printed by Budge even claims that Christ came down to earth at the Incarnation at the request of St Michael, an extravagance that is fortunately absent from the Old English text!

Warning voices prevent the suggestion of a direct Greek, Syriac, or Coptic influence on Irish piety subsequently entering Anglo-Saxon.[33] All one can say is that there seems to have been an Irish interest in oriental piety before 900 and an Irish influence on the compilation of the marginalia in Corpus 41. An extensive search in Celtic texts for a source for the Corpus eulogy meets with no success. Place-name evidence suggests that in ninth-century Wales there was a remarkable growth of dedications of ecclesiastical sites to St Michael on a scale quite unparalleled elsewhere in western Europe. If there ever was ecclesiastical literature in Wales at this time, it is now lost.

Unfortunately, too, material relating to St Michael in Irish is not extensive. There are two homilies to him (perhaps of the first quarter of the twelfth century) in An Leabhar Breac (‘The Speckled Book’),[34] occasional references to him among the principal archangels, and mention of him in material concerning Antichrist and the end of the world, some of which depends on Gregory the Great. There is also an eleventh-century macaronic poem by Máel Ísua Ua Brolchán.[35]

St Michael's name is closely associated with that of St Patrick in the Irish Liber Hymnorum, for in the Book of Mulling and the Second Vision of Adamnan in An Leabhar Breac a hymn to St Michael is linked with the hymn of St Sechnall on St Patrick found in part in Corpus 41 in the Latin portion of charm no. 4.[36] The hymns are both part of a monastic office to invoke divine protection against the yellow plague.[37] The hymn to St Michael was composed by Bishop Colman and his two brothers to free themselves from a tempest, a famine, and demons, and, while it bears not the slightest resemblance to the eulogy in Corpus 41, it serves to show Michael's association with Patrick in the Irish church. In Corpus 41 appears the most efficacious portion of St Patrick's Hymn, and it may have seemed to the compiler of the marginalia that a hymn to St Michael was also required, hence the presence of the eulogy. The Second Vision of Adamnan reads, ‘the three hostages that were taken on behalf of the Lord for warding off every disease from the Irish—are Peter the Apostle, and Mary the Virgin, and Michael the Archangel.’[38]

The encomium on St Michael in Corpus 41 takes its place in Corpus 41 alongside the other rare apocryphal texts dealing with the Assumption, Doomsday, and Easter. It should be pointed out that Michael is mentioned in all three of these texts. In the homily on the Assumption, Michael rolls the stone from the Virgin's sepulchre and takes her soul to paradise; in the homily based on the Apocalypse of Thomas, Michael appears twice, as guardian of the gate Sabaoth and as the archangel carrying out God's judgment; in the homily based on the Gospel of Nicodemus, Michael, the Virgin, and Peter each pray for mercy for one third of mankind on Judgment Day.

The encomium on St Michael in Corpus 41 is thus a most unusual text, based on apocryphal sources under possibly oriental and Irish influence, which must be added to the list of Old English texts concerned with St Michael and the list of apocryphal texts known in Anglo-Saxon England.


  1. See RH Charles, ed. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. (Oxford, 1913), I, 376, note to Sirach 17.17.
  2. A list of scriptural occurrences of Michael's name complete with patristic comments is offered in Stiltingo, Suyskeno, Periero, and Cleo, eds. Acta Sanctorum. (Paris and Rome, 1865), Septembris Tomus Octavus, 8-10.
  3. Apocryphal sources are cited as ‘ANF 8,’ ‘ANF 9,’ ‘Charles,’ and ‘James’: ‘ANF 8’ = A Roberts and J Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers VIII, general editor A Cleveland Coxe (New York, 1903); ‘ANF 9’ = A Menzies, ed. The Ante-Nicene Fathers IX (New York, 1903); ‘Charles’ = RH Charles, ed. and trans. The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament II; Pseudepigrapha. (Oxford, 1913); and ‘James’ = MR James, ed. and trans. The Apocryphal New Testament. (Oxford, 1924, latest corrected edition 1963). It should perhaps be noted, to avoid confusion, that The Book of Enoch refers to the Ethiopic Enoch and The Secrets of Enoch refers to the Slavonic Enoch.
  4. The Roman Missal for both feasts, 8 May and 29 September; see F Cabrol. Missale Romanum. (New York, 1949), pp. 888, 1104.
  5. CG Herbermann, ed. The Catholic Encyclopedia. (New York, 1911), X, 276; and S Baring-Gould, The Lives of the Saints. (London, 1897-98), V, 115, and X, 428. See also OA Dobias Rozdestenskaia (Olga Dobiache-Rojdestvensky). Kult sv. Michaila v latinskom Srednovekovi. (Petrograd, 1917) or the abridged French version, Le Culte de saint Michel et le Moyen Age latin. (Paris, 1922), and W Leuken, Michael. (Göttingen, 1898).
  6. The Gargano peninsula in the ‘toe’ of the ‘boot’ of Italy borders the Adriatic, and was the scene of the fighting in the Second Punic War (Cannae, especially). From the town of Vieste, Monte San Angelo and the shrine dedicated to St Michael may be visited.
  7. See W Smith and S Cheetham, eds. Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. (Hartford, 1880, reprinted New York, 1968), and the various martyrologies quoted in the Acta Sanctorum for 29 September, pp. 4-8; the Acta Sanctorum for 8 May simply refers the reader to 29 September. Inclusion of St Michael at all rather stretches the definition of ‘martyrology’ seeing that Michael had no corporeal existence and was not martyred.
  8. Francis Wormald. English Kalendars before A.D. 1100. Henry Bradshaw Society LXXII (London, 1934).
  9. See George Herzfeld, ed. An Old English Martyrology. Early English Text Society, old series 116 (London, 1900), pp. 78, 182.
  10. See F Bond, Dedications and Patron Saints of English Churches. (Oxford, 1914), pp. 17, 36-40; and F Arnold-Foster. Studies in Church Dedications. (London, 1899), III, 27-320; note how many times Michael is connected with mountains in these dedications. See also Millénaire Monastique du Mont Saint-Michel III (Paris, 1971) for HPR Finberg. ‘The Archangel Michael in Britain.’ pp. 459-469; and HM Roe. ‘Ireland and the Archangel Michael.’ pp. 481-487.
  11. W Levison. England and the Continent in the Eighth Century. (Oxford, 1946), p. 263.
  12. See charter no. 567 in HPR Finberg. The Early Charters of Wessex. (Leicester, 1964): a gift by King Æthelwulf in 841 of 15 hides at Halstock, Dorset, ‘in honour of God and love of the holy archangel Michael, whose church is in the same little monastery.’ Michael is also mentioned in several of this king's charters, which purport to be issued in 844 but which are considered spurious by everybody except Finberg.
  13. Bond. Dedications. p. 212.
  14. Thomas Miller, ed. The Old English Version of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of The English People. EETS, old series 95, 96, 110 and 111 (Oxford, 1890 and 1898, reprinted 1959 and 1963), I. 2, 388.5-9, Oxford Bodleian MS Tanner 10 (known as ‘T’), from the beginning of the tenth century.
  15. See Bertram Colgrave, ed. The Life of Bishop Wilfrid by Eddius Stephanus. (Cambridge, 1927).
  16. See R Morris, ed. The Blickling Homilies of the Tenth Century. EETS, old series 73 (London, 1880), pp. 137-159, especially pp. 155, 157.
  17. See Morris. Blickling Homilies. pp. 197-211, ‘To Sae Michaheles Mæessan.’ See also Max Förster. ‘Zu den Blickling Homilien.’ Archiv 91 (1893), pp. 193-200.
  18. Catholic Homilies I, 502 ff., and Ruby DN Warner, ed. Early English Homilies from the Twelfth Century MS Vesp. D. XIV. EETS 152 (London, 1917), pp. 61-5, printed as ‘In III K. Octob.’
  19. Morris. Blickling Homilies. pp. 83-97, especially p. 95.
  20. John C Pope, ed. Homilies of Ælfric. EETS, 259, 260 (London, 1967-68) II, pp. 770-81; see lines 60-82.
  21. A Napier, ed. Wulfstan: Sammlung der ihm zugeschriebenen Homilien nebst Untersuchungen über ihre Echtheit. (Berlin, 1883), p. 140.
  22. Napier. Wulfstan. p. 201.
  23. Napier, Wulfstan, p. 226.
  24. Napier. Wulfstan. p. 228.
  25. Napier. Wulfstan. p. 240.
  26. Rudolph Willard. ‘Two Apocrypha in Old English Homilies.’ Beiträge zur Englischen Philologie 30 (1935), p. 48; reprint announced by Johnson Reprint Co., New York, 1970.
  27. See Max Förster. ‘Der Vercelli-Codex CXVII nebst Abdruck einiger altenglischer Homilien der Handschrift.’ Studien zur englischen Philologie 50; Festschrift für Lorenz Morsbach, eds. F Holthausen and H Spies (Halle, 1913), pp. 20-179.
  28. Information on these hymn forms may be found in W Apel. Gregorian Chant. (Indiana UP, 1958), pp. 429-464; P Evans. ‘Some reflections on the origin of the trope.’ Journal of the American Musicological Society 14 (1961), pp. 119-30; and R Weakland. ‘The beginnings of troping.’ The Musical Quarterly 44 (1958), pp. 477-88. Specific information about the music of the liturgy in Winchester and Exeter may be found in two works by Bishop WA Frere: The Winchester Troper. (London, 1894) and Bibliotheca Musico Liturgica. (London, 1932) II, pp. 11-13.
  29. See A Hughes. Anglo-French Sequelae. (London, 1934), p. 134.
  30. The Winchester Troper, MS Corpus 473, is not only the oldest known manuscript of English music but also the earliest record of polyphony in Europe. Written c. AD 1000 in Winchester Cathedral for Wulfstan, St Æþelwold's cantor, it was taken back to the Cathedral on Saturday, September 29, 2007 for the first time since the 16th century and used by the Cathedral choir to sing a full Michaelmas Mass in its original setting for the first time in a thousand years.
  31. EAW Budge. Saint Michael the Archangel: Three Encomiums by Theodosius, Archbishop of Alexandria, Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, and Eustathius, Bishop of Trake. (London, 1894), pp. 1*-50*.
  32. The encomium simply contains within its greater length certain sections strongly reminiscent of the Old English eulogy. Michael is praised as commander of the forces of heaven, ambassador before God our creator for the salvation of our souls and bodies, ruler of the angels, etc., and each of the patriarchs and prophets tells why he praises Michael: these include Adam, Abel, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Gideon, Jepthah, David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the twelve apostles, Zacharius, and John. This is not the same list as in the old English text, but it is similar in type and content.
  33. See David N Dumville. ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish: A Preliminary Investigation.’ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 73 (1973), pp. 299-338, especially the warnings he gathers on pp. 321 f.
  34. An Leabhar Breac (‘The Speckled Book’) is a late-fourteenth-century codex. The two homilies may be found in Robert Atkinson. The Passions and the Homilies from Leabhar Breac. Royal Irish Academy Todd Lecture Series II (Dublin, 1887): ‘On the Archangel Michael.’ pp. 213-19 (text) and 451-7 (trans.), and ‘On St Michael.’ pp. 240-4 (text) and 477-8 (trans.).
  35. Charles Plummer. Irish Litanies. Henry Bradshaw Society 62 (London, 1925), p. 88 f.
  36. Charm no. 4 in Corpus 41 is on page 206 and begins ‘ȝif feoh sy undernumen’; it is a charm concerned with the theft of cattle. It is followed on pages 207-208 by a Latin charm beginning ‘Xs illum siue elegit.’ This has been printed in a continuous prose form instead of in three stanzas of verse by MR James in his description of Corpus 41 in A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. (Cambridge, 1912), I, pp. 81-85. A transcript of the material on pp. 207-8 is available at: Parker Library on the Web. Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge & the Stanford University Libraries (hereafter PL) which reproduces and corrects, when necessary, the original James records of this collection.
  37. See JH Bernard and R Atkinson. The Irish Liber Hymnorum. Henry Bradshaw Society 13 and 14 (London, 1898), as follows: vol. 13 - Introd. pages xxiv-xxvi, 43-45, and vol. 14 - pages 19, 132-134. The editors provide the text, translation and notes for the hymn, and discuss the popularity of St Michael in Ireland.
  38. Quoted from section 19 of the Second Vision of Adamnan in An Leabhar Breac by Bernard and Atkinson. The Irish Liber Hymnorum 14, p. 133.


The following abbreviations have been used in this chapter:

ANF 8: Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers VIII, op. cit.

ANF 9: Menzies, A, ed. The Ante-Nicene Fathers IX, op. cit.

Charles: Charles, Robert Henry, ed. and trans. Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, op. cit.

James: James, Montague Rhodes, ed. and trans. Apocryphal New Testament, op. cit.

Other Works ConsultedEdit

Acta Sanctorum, op. cit. Septembris Tomus Octavus. Stiltingo, Suyskeno, Periero and Cleo, eds. (Paris and Rome, 1865).

Apel, Willi. Gregorian Chant. (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1958, 1990).

Atkinson, Robert, ed. The Passions and the Homilies from Leabhar Breac: text, translations and glossary. Royal Irish Academy Todd Lecture Series II. (Royal Irish Academy: Dublin, 1887).

Baring-Gould, Sabine. Lives of the Saints, V & X. (London: J Grant, 1897-98).

Bernard, JH and R Atkinson, eds. The Irish Liber Hymnorum. (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 13 and 14, 1898).

Bond, Francis. Dedications and Patron Saints, op. cit.

Budge, E(rnest) A(lfred) Wallis, ed. Saint Michael the Archangel. Three Encomiums by Theodosius, Archbishop of Alexandria, Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, and Eustathius, Bishop of Trake. (London, 1894).

Cabrol, Dom Fernand, ed. Missale Romanum. (New York, 1949).

Colgrave, Bertram, ed. The Life of Bishop Wilfrid by Eddius Stephanus. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1927, 1985).

Dumville, David N. ‘Biblical Apocrypha and the Early Irish: A Preliminary Investigation.’ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 73 (1973), pp. 299-338.

Evans, P. ‘Some reflections on the origin of the trope.’ Journal of the American Musicological Society 14 (1961), pp. 119-30.

Finberg, HPR, ed. The Early Charters of Wessex. 7 vols. Vol. 3, Studies in Early English History. (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1964).

Finberg, HPR. ‘The Archangel Michael in Britain.’ Millénaire Monastique du Mont Saint-Michel III (Paris, 1971), pp. 459-469.

Förster, Max. ‘Zu den Blickling Homilien.’ Archiv 91 (1893), pp. 193-200.

Förster, Max. ‘Der Vercelli-Codex CXVII nebst Abdruck einiger altenglischer Homilien der Handschrift.’ Studien zur englischen Philologie 50; Festschrift für Lorenz Morsbach. Eds. F Holthausen and H Spies (Halle, 1913), pp. 20-179.

Frere, Walter Howard. The Winchester Troper, from MSS of the Xth and Xith Centuries. (London: Henry Bradshaw Society 8, 1894). Facsimile ed. by Susan Rankin. Early English Church Music. Vol. 50. (London: Stainer & Bell, 2007).

Frere, Walter Howard. Bibliotheca Musico Liturgica: A Descriptive Handlist of the Musical and Latin-Liturgical Mss of the Middle Ages. (London, 1894-1932, reprinted Hildesheim, 1967).

Herbermann, CG, ed. The Catholic Encyclopedia X. (New York, 1911).

Herzfeld, George, ed. Old English Martyrology, op. cit.

Hughes, Dom Anselm. Anglo-French Sequelae. Burnham, Plainsong & Medieval Music Society. (London, 1934, facsimile reprint Farnborough: Gregg Press, 1966).

James, Montague Rhodes. Descriptive Catalogue, op. cit.

Leuken, W. Eine Darstellung und Vergleichung der jüdischen und der morgenländisch-christlichen Tradition vom Erzengel Michael. (Göttingen, 1898).

Levison, Wilhelm. England and the Continent in the Eighth Century. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1946, reprinted Sandpiper Books Ltd., 1998).

Miller, Thomas, ed. Old English Version of Bede, op. cit.

Morris, Richard, ed. and trans. Blickling Homilies, op. cit.

Napier, Arthur S, ed. Wulfstan, op. cit.

Plummer, Charles, ed. Irish Litanies. Henry Bradshaw Society 62. (London, 1925).

Pope, John C, ed. Homilies of Ælfric. EETS, O.S., 259, 260. (London: Oxford University Press, 1967-68).

Roe, HM. ‘Ireland and the Archangel Michael.’ Millénaire Monastique du Mont Saint-Michel III (Paris, 1971), pp. 481-487.

Rozdestenskaia, Olga Dobias (Olga Dobiache-Rojdestvensky). Kult sv. Michaila v latinskom Srednovekovi. (Petrograd, 1917). Abridged French version, Le Culte de saint Michel et le Moyen Age latin. (Paris, 1922).

Smith, W and S Cheetham, eds. Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. (Hartford, 1880, reprinted New York, 1968).

Thorpe, Benjamin, ed. and trans. Catholic Homilies, op. cit.

Warner, Ruby DN, ed. Early English Homilies from the Twelfth Century MS Vesp. D. XIV. EETS, O.S. 152. (London: Oxford University Press, 1917).

Weakland, Rembert. ‘The beginnings of troping.’ The Musical Quarterly 44 (1958), pp. 477-88.

Willard, Rudolph. ‘Two Apocrypha,’ op. cit.

Wormald, Francis. English Kalendars before A.D. 1100. Henry Bradshaw Society LXXII. (London, 1934).