Have you ever visited the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo? It was built after an apparition of Saint Michael the Archangel; here is the story of the 5 apparitions of Saint Michael.
The history of the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, in Monte Sant’Angelo, in the province of Foggia, begins in 490 AD, the year in which according to tradition, the Holy Warrior among the Archangels appeared in San Lorenzo Maiorano. On the site of the apparition, three years later, the first sanctuary was built. In the following centuries Saint Michael appeared again: here are the 5 apparitions handed down by tradition. In some cases, the apparitions are told in different details, but the fundamental episodes occur in all versions.
The apparition of the Bull
Following the first apparition of Saint Michael, the place where the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo stands was identified. It is called “del Toro” because the story, handed down with variation from tradition, tells that a rich landowner of the place, lost his best bull, followed him finding him at a cave. Unable to reach him because of a mysterious force that kept him out of the cave, the man threw an arrow at the bull: the arrow turned back, hitting him. According to some traditions, as he fell from the wound, he saw a warrior angel wielding a flaming sword. The man ran to tell the event to Bishop Lorenzo Maiorano, who called three days of prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. At the end of the third day, Saint Michael appeared in a dream to the bishop, confirming the miracle and asking him to consecrate the cave to him. However Maiorano, perhaps for the inaccessibility of the place, perhaps because it had been the seat of pagan cults, hesitated before following the words of the Archangel.
The apparition of the Victory
The second apparition is of the “Victory”. The evening before a battle of the Lombards against the Byzantines, occurred a few years after the first episode according to tradition, but perhaps a few centuries later, San Michele appeared again to Bishop San Lorenzo Maiorano, announcing that the following day the victory would be assured to him by the will of the saint. The battle the following day was accompanied by earthquakes, lightning and lightning and ended with victory. This date marked the day dedicated to the veneration of the saint: May 8.
The apparition of Dedication (or Meditation)
The third apparition occurred shortly after the Victory episode. San Lorenzo Maiorano, supported by other bishops and the pope, was convinced to complete the task of consecrating the cave of San Michele. However, he remained uncertain how to do so. The archangel then appeared to him again to tell him that the place did not need human consecration, as it had already been consecrated by the very presence of Saint Michael. Maiorano and some other bishops went to the place: it was summer and it was very hot, but by miracle, some eagles protected the bishops from the sun with the shadow of their wings. On the spot they saw a rough stone altar with a cloth and a cross: Saint Michael had indeed miraculously consecrated the place, ready for the celebration of the sacrifice. In the stone, they also found a tangible sign of the presence of the archangel: the footprint of the foot of Saint Michael.
The apparition of the mole Adriana
A fourth apparition took place to Pope Saint Gregory the Great. While the plague prostrated Rome, Saint Michael appeared to the pontiff announcing the end of the epidemic. In the dream, Saint Gregory saw the Archangel above the mole Hadrian. When the prediction of the archangel came true, Saint Gregory the Great changed the name of the mole Adriana in Castel Sant’Angelo, a name that the place still retains today.
The apparition of the plague
Even the most recent appearance occurred during a plague that plagued southern Italy in 1656. Archbishop Alfonso Puccinelli, finding no human strength to oppose the plague, invoked the intervention of Saint Michael with prayers and fasts. The saint appeared to Puccinelli entrusting him with the task of blessing the stones of the cave of the sanctuary and carving on it the initials M. A. (Michael the Archangel). Anyone who kept these stones, or asked for them, would be protected from the plague. The miracle led to the salvation of the people and the end of the plague. The archbishop, in honour of the archangel, had a monument erected with this inscription: “To the Prince of the Angels Victor of the Plague Patron and Keeper monument of eternal gratitude Alfonso Puccinelli 1656”.
Other apparitions and shrines of Saint Michael
In addition to these apparitions, Saint Michael the Archangel appeared in other contexts and countries, such as Saint Oberto, Bishop of Avranches. The archangel asked him to build the abbey of Mont Saint Michel in France. The legend says that the bishop did not listen to the request until Saint Michael swallowed his skull with his finger, which is still preserved in the cathedral of Avranches. The sanctuary of Mont Saint Michel is located on a straight line, called the Sacred Line of Saint Michael the Archangel, which connects seven sanctuaries dedicated to him in different countries: the Monastery of Skelling (Ireland), the monastery of St. Michael’s Mount (Cornwall – England) the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel (Normandy – France), the Sacra di San Michele (Piedmont – Italy), the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo (Monte Sant’Angelo – Italy), the monastery of San Michele Arcangelo di Panormitis (island of Symy – Greece) the monastery of Stella Maris on Mount Carmel (Haifa – Israel).