Russia Religion Subjects New Testament St Michael the Archangel

St Michael the Archangel

St Michael the Archangel played a pivotal role in the national consciousness of the Russian people. The angel accompanied the human soul as it left the physical body and passed on its journey to the throne of the Maker. Images of St Michael were thus often endowed with the features not only of an archistrategus or celestial warrior, but the angel of death. One of the oldest churches in the Moscow Kremlin – the Cathedral of St Michael the Archangel or the Archangel Cathedral – was used for many centuries as the burial vault of the grand princes of Muscovy and the tsars of Russia.

St Michael the Archangel was the commander of the forces of heaven, the patron saint of Russian warriors, grand princes and tsars and the angel of death, accepting and accompanying the soul of man to the Last Judgment. The north Russian town of Arkhangelsk, which was named in honour of its celestial protector – the Archangel Michael. Icons depicting St Michael as the “angel of the apocalypse” or the “commander of formidable forces” were popular in Russia from the seventeenth century onwards.

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