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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

St Michael – Who was he?
Friday, March 18, 2022 @ 9:35 AM

The saint who has given his name to the products sold by an British chain store, a Spanish beer, an island in Cornwall, UK, another island in Normandy, France, as well as umpteen English churches and place names in the English-speaking world.



Marks & Spencer have used the name St Michael to brand their products since the company was founded in 1884. The company recently axed the brand and saw a drop in clothing sales and an increase in food sales.

San Miguel beer originated in the Philippines in 1890 when the island group was still a Spanish colony. Established in Spain in 1953, it now forms part of a major beer group which includes San Miguel, Mahou (Madrid) and Alhambra (Granada). San Miguel is now a major beer brand throughout Spain and the world. There are breweries in Barcelona, Burgos, Madrid and Málaga.



St Michael´s Mount is an island off the coast of southern Cornwall at Marazion. It can only be reached by walking across a causeway at low tide, or by boat. It is managed by the National Trust, and the castle and chapel have been the home of the St Aubyn family since approximately 1650.

Mont St Michel in Normandy, France, is uncannily similar in appearance to St Michael´s Mount. 1 kilometre offshore, it too is reached by a causeway. It is much smaller than its Cornish sister.



Cathedral Church of St Michael, Coventry, UK

The Church of StMichael is a parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, USA

Church of St Michael, Crewe, UK

St Michael, Cornhill, is a medieval parish church in the City of London, UK

St Michael and All Angels' Church, Whittington, Lancashire, UK

St. Michael's Church, Mumbai, India

Church of StMichael, Štip, Republic of Macedonia

And last, but by no means least, St. Michael's Golden-Domed Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine


Place names in the UK

Barford St Michael, Oxfordshire

Creech St Michael, Somerset

Gussage St Michael, Dorset

Kington St Michael, Chippenham, Wiltshire

Ormesby St Michael, Norfolk

Seavington St Michael, Somerset

St Michael Caerhays, Cornwall

St Michael Penkevil, Cornwall

St Michael's Hamlet, Merseyside

St Michael's on Wyre, Lancashire

St Michaels, Kent

Stoke St Michael, Somerset

St. Michael Urban is a municipal borough of St Alban‘s, Hertfordshire, UK


Place names throughout the world

StMichael is a hamlet in central Alberta, Canada

The parish of StMichael is one of eleven parishes of Barbados

Saint Michael's Basilica, Bordeaux, France

St. Michael´s Church, Slagelse, Denmark

Saint Michael, Austria, a village in lower Austria

St. Michael's Cave, Gibraltar

St. Michaels, in County Cork, County Kildare and County Wexford, civil parishes of Ireland

St. Michael, in Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Pennsylvania

St. Michaels in Arizona, Maryland, Wisconsin and the US Virgin Islands

Oh, and who was St Michael?

St Michael, also called Saint Michael the Archangel or Saint Michael the Taxiarch in Orthodoxy and Archangel Michael is an archangel in JudaismChristianity, and Islam.

The earliest surviving mentions of his name are in 3rd- and 2nd-century BCE Jewish works, often but not always apocalyptic, where he is the chief of the angels and archangels and responsible for the care of Israel. 

Christianity adopted nearly all the Jewish traditions concerning him, and he is mentioned explicitly in Revelation 12:7–12, where he does battle with Satan, and in the Epistle of Jude, where the author denounces heretics by contrasting them with Michael. He is also mentioned in surah 2:98 of the Quran, where the Jews of Medina challenge Muhammed to tell them the name of the angel from whom he received revelation, and when told that it was Gabriel they reply that revelations came from Michael.



Catholics often refer to Michael as "Holy Michael, the Archangel" or "Saint Michael", a title that does not indicate canonisation. He is generally referred to in Christian litanies as "Saint Michael", as in the Litany of the Saints. In the shortened version of this litany used in the Easter Vigil, he alone of the angels and archangels is mentioned by name, omitting saints Gabriel and Raphael.

In Roman Catholic teachings, Saint Michael has four main roles or offices. His first role is the leader of the Army of God and the leader of heaven's forces in their triumph over the powers of hell. In his second role, Michael is the angel of death, carrying the souls of all the deceased to heaven. In his third role, he weighs souls on his perfectly balanced scales. For this reason, Michael is often depicted holding scales. In his fourth role, Saint Michael, the special patron of the Chosen People in the Old Testament, is also the guardian of the Church. Saint Michael was revered by the military orders of knights during the Middle Ages.

Protestant denominations recognize Michael as an archangel. Within Protestantism, the Anglican and Methodist tradition recognizes four angels as archangels: Michael, RaphaelGabriel, and Uriel.

The Eastern Orthodox Church accord Michael the title Archistrategos, or "Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts". The Eastern Orthodox pray to their guardian angels and above all to Michael and Gabriel.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known informally as Latter-day Saints or Mormons) believe that Michael is Adam, the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7), a prince, and the patriarch of the human family. They also hold that Michael assisted Jehovah (the pre-mortal form of Jesus) in the creation of the world under the direction of God the Father (Elohim); under the direction of the Father, Michael also cast Satan out of heaven.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that "Michael" is but one of the many titles applied to Jesus

Jehovah's Witnesses believe Michael to be another name for Jesus in heaven, in his pre-human and post-resurrection existence. They say the definite article at Jude 9—referring to "Michael the archangel"—identifies Michael as the only archangel. 



In Islam, Michael, or Mīkāʾīl, is the angel said to effectuate God's providence as well as natural phenomena, such as rain. He is one of the four archangels along with Jebreel (Gabriel, whom he is often paired with), ʾIsrāfīl (trumpeter angel) and ʿAzrāʾīl (angel of death).

Michael in Islam is tasked with providing nourishment for bodies and souls and is also responsible for universal or environmental events and is often depicted as the archangel of mercy. He is said to be friendly, asking God for mercy toward humans and is, according to Muslim legends, one of the first to obey God's orders to bow before Adam. He is also responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life. From the tears of Michael, angels are created as his helpers.



According to rabbinic tradition, Michael acted as the advocate of Israel, and sometimes had to fight with the princes of the other nations (Daniel 10:13) and particularly with the angel Samael, Israel's accuser. Michael's enmity against Samael dates from the time when the latter was thrown down from heaven. Samael took hold of the wings of Michael, whom he wished to bring down with him in his fall; but Michael was saved by God. Michael said, "May The Lord rebuke you" to Satan for attempting to claim the body of Moses.


So, there you have it. The history and tradition of St Michael and the uses of his name throughout the world.

However, I think the clothing, beer and island stories are much more entertaining! But I’m only Joe King.


With acknowledgements to Wikipedia


About Joe King

Joe, not his real name, is a bit of an enigma. He has lived in the Serranía de Ronda for many years, but sometimes prefers to fly under the radar. He doesn’t take life too seriously, except in the case of Covid-19, but even there he can see the funny side.

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