THE SHRINE OF SAN MICHELE ARCANGELO: A PLACE OF WORSHIP SINCE THE FIFTH CENTURY.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo has been welcoming pilgrims from all over the world to Monte Sant’Angelo (Foggia, Puglia, Italia) since the 5th century.
The Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since June 2011, is located in the heart of Monte Sant’Angelo (link: goo.gl/maps).
One of the world’s most celebrated holy places dedicated to the Archangel Michael, it stands on high ground on what was once the Via Sacra Langobardorum. All around lies the Gargano’s typically verdant and inaccessible countryside. The Sanctuary’s white façade welcomes pilgrims with its two large arches, surmounted by a niche with a statue of Saint Michael.
The underground cave probably became a place of worship in the period when the area was under Greek rule. The sanctuary was founded between the 5th and 6th centuries AD at the behest of the bishop of Siponto, Lorenzo Maiorano, after the archangel Michael had appeared three times. It served as a national memorial chapel under the Lombards and was later attacked by the Saracens, before being restored by the archbishop of Benevento Aione in the 9th century. The Normans and Angevines left signs of their reign over the “Celestial Basilica,” which is today entrusted to the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel.
Spread over two levels, the sanctuary welcomes the faithful with its Romanesque façade and bell tower, known as the Angevine tower. A stairway dug into the rock leads underground to the Sacred Cave, Museum, and crypts. Numerous inscriptions are carved into the rock, some in runes, testifying to the passage of pilgrims since Lombard times.
The marble statue of Saint Michael the Archangel in the Sacred Cave was carved by Andrea Sansovino in 1507. Other treasures of sacred art include the episcopal pulpit and a statue of Saint Sebastian. The crypts are decorated with sculptures found at nearby archaeological excavations.
The Via Micaelica
The Via Micaelica, which is also known as the Via Francigena del Sud, connects Rome to Monte Sant’Angelo. The ancient trail from Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome to the Sanctuary of San Michele, in Gargano, is a reference point for many pilgrims and the current focus of a general historical and spiritual reawakening.
7 shrines linked by a straight line. The mysterious worship for Archangel Michael
A mysterious imaginary line connects seven monasteries, from Ireland to Israel. Is it just a coincidence? There are seven sanctuaries that are very far from each other, yet perfectly aligned.
According to legend, the Sacred Line of San Michele Arcangelo is the blow of the sword that the Saint inflicted on the Devil to send him back to hell. (link: www.aleteia.org )
text taken from viaggiareinpuglia.it