In order to discover this amazing story, what you need is a pencil, a ruler, and a map of Europe and the Middle East. The connection of seven dots, from Ireland to Israel, draws a line that traces, not without design, the sword of the Archangel Michael. These places on the map indicate various sanctuaries connected with the sword of the warrior angel.
On the Trail of the Archangel Michael
While the Camino de Santiago (St. James’ Way) is experiencing a renaissance in contemporary Europe these days, one hears very little about another pilgrimage path, which was frequented in the Middle Ages: the trail of the shrines of the Archangel Michael. In those days pilgrims traversed two thousand kilometers of roadway through today’s France and Italy. To complete the task, these pilgrims would start at Mont-Saint- Michele, on the coast of Normandy, and visit the Sacra di San Michele shrine in northern Italy. This was located at the half-way point to reaching the location of the best known apparition of the Archangel at Gargano, Italy. After a time, it was noticed that the sword of the Archangel could be further extended through two additional shrines: St. Michael’s Mount in Marazion, Cornwall, England, and the monastery of the Archangel Michael of Panormitis (Μονή Αρχαγγέλου Μιχαήλ του Πανορμίτη) on the Greek island of Symi. Later on, two more Middle Ages monasteries were added to the route: Skelling Michael in Ireland, and Stella Maris in Haifa, Israel. This last one is the only one that does not bear the name of the Archangel.
This Michael is the first who appears against Lucifer when he rebelled against God. This is why he has the “military” look in the iconography
Most of the shrines were established on rocky hills with difficult access. According to legend, some of the shrines are marked by the distinct presence of the Prince of Angels. In the fifth century in Cornwall, England Archangel Michael appeared to a group of fishermen, rescuing them from inevitable death on the sea. Three centuries later in Mont-Saint- Michele, France, he appeared to St. Aubert, asking him to build a chapel. A similar occurrence took place in Sacra, Italy, where, at the recommendation of the archangel, the hermit St. John Vincent, known for his devotion to the conqueror of evil spirits, undertook to erect a church.