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Mont Saint Michel: A mythical place – A holly ground

The Story Of Mont Saint Michel

The history of the place has its roots back in 708 a.d. when Aubert, Bishop of Avranches, from the province of Norman, dreamed of the Archangel Michael indicating the place where he had to build a church. That place was a small insignificant islet, a rocky hill surrounded by the sea. Consequently, Bishop obeying to Archangel’s prompt built a small shrine in his honor.

The story spread around the province, and the place gradually became noteworthy famous. Eventually, the unknown and inaccessible island quickly became one of the most influential places of pilgrimage of the medieval West. Men and women from all across Europe followed ‘the paths of paradise‘ that led to the Mont Saint Michel to religiously request from Archangel Michael, known as the ‘judge of souls’, the eternal life.

The island-Abbey remained an impregnable castle during the hundred years’ war between England and France. The untrodden fortifications of the Abbey withstood the  British siege for almost 30 years, that fact attributed a new dimension to the religious space: from religious symbol of faith turned into a symbol of national identity.

After the dissolution of the religious order by Benedictines, in 1863 the Abbey lost its religious use and was used as a prison.


The worship of  Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael, the leader of all the angels, had great importance in the religious consciousness of the people in the middle ages. For the humans of that era, who lived in plain fear and anxiety regarding afterlife chances, Archangel Michael was of great importance. Since he is the one who judges the souls first, before the final reckoning during the second arrival of  Jesus Christ on Earth.

After 1000 a.d. multiply churches and shrines dedicated to Archangel and usually built on hilltops or in capes. At the end of the hundred years ‘ war, the cult of the Archangel Michael gained even greater aspect.  In particular, after the successful resistance of the English attacks, Archangel Michael was honored as the savior of the district. Later, due to the consequences of the Schism, occurred between Catholics and Protestants within the Catholic Church, dominated the perception that only “the soldier Angel” could secure victory in the fight against the Protestant heresy.

The worship of the Archangel Michael was identified with the Saint Michel’s Abbey since the religious space considered by the believers as a sacred ground,  the particular place where all the answers regarding the post-mortem life were hidden.  Saint Michel Abbey was regarded as the gate of the underworld, as the holy place protected by the emblematic figure of Archangel Michael, eventually, turn into a focal meeting point among the holy places of Europe.

In addition, the interior of the Abbey has an impressive impact on the visitors. Visitors can wonder at the halls where the monks used to study and pray, and admire the imposing fortifications that once converted the Abbey into an impregnable fortress. The atmosphere radiates an eerie sanctity all over the place, while, a feeling of holiness suffuses the whole Abbey. The expectation of discovering the source of all the answers about human life along with the presence of death transform the place into a monumental path to the divine presence.

This majestic place is the formidable locus where the breathtaking beauty of nature encounters the archetypal human need to connect with God. The energy that suffuses the space, covers everything, both people, and nature, by preparing the mind and soul for a sacred meeting.

From the dark Middle Ages until the present day, the Mont of Saint Michel bring in mind the indestructible reply for those seeking persistently answers to unanswered questions. Undoubtedly, in this place, there are answers that are still waiting to be revealed.

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Mont Saint Michel: A mythical place – A holly ground


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