St. Michael, the chief of the angels, is a familiar figure for many Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Some Christians will honor the archangel tomorrow on the festival day of St. Michael and All Angels, also known as Michaelmas. Gabriel, Raphael, and other angels are also revered on this day. (Many Orthodox Christians celebrate the angels on November 8.)
St. Michael is an angelic warrior, best known for fighting and vanquishing Satan. His name means "who is like God" in Hebrew, and he is also called "Captain of the Heavenly Host" and "the vanquisher of evil spirits." In art, St. Michael is typically depicted as an armed warrior carrying a shield and a sword or spear, with Lucifer under his heel.
A traditional prayer celebrates the angel protector and leader of heaven's armies:
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Keep reading for ten things you didn't know about St. Michael and his festival day.