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Michael (mĪˈkəl) [key] [Heb., = who is like God?], archangel prominent in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions. In the Bible and early Jewish literature, Michael is one of the angels of God's presence. He is depicted as a warrior-prince leading the celestial armies against wicked forces and as Israel's guardian angel. The intermediary between God and Moses on Mt. Sinai, Michael also confronts the devil over Moses' right of proper burial. In Christian tradition he is the angel with the sword. Michael is venerated in the Roman Catholic and Eastern churches. His feast (jointly with the other archangels) is Michaelmas, Sept. 29; it is the anniversary of the dedication of a Roman basilica to him. On May 8 he is honored for his apparition (492?) on Monte Gargano, Italy. He is supposed to have appeared to Joan of Arc and on the site of Mont-Saint-Michel.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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