is the archangel
mentioned in the Book of Revelation 12:7
; in the Old Testament
Michael is mentioned by name in the Persian context of the post-Exilic Book of Daniel
. He is generally presented as the field commander of the Army of God. There Michael appears as "one of the chief princes" (Daniel 10:13
) who in Daniel
's vision comes to the angel Gabriel
's aid in his contest with the angel of Persia
Dobiel, and is also described there as the advocate of Israel
and "great prince who stands up for the children of your (Daniel's) people" (Daniel 10:21
). The Talmudic
tradition rendered his name as meaning "who is like El
("God"—but literally "El's Likeness")" (compare the late prophet Micah
), but according to Rabbi Simeon ben Lakish
), all the specific names for the angels were brought back by the Jews from Babylon
, and many modern commentators would agree.
Michael is one of the principal angels in Abrahamic tradition; his name was said to have been the war-cry of the angels in the battle fought in heaven against Satan and his followers.
Much of the late Midrashic detail about Michael was transmitted to Christian mythology through the Book of Enoch, whence it was taken up and further elaborated. In late medieval Christianity, Michael, together with St George, became the patron saint of chivalry, and of the first chivalric order of France, the Order of Saint Michael of 1469. In the British honours system, a chivalric order founded in 1818 is also named for these two saints, the Order of St Michael and St George. St Michael is also considered in many Christian circles as the patron saint of the warrior. Police officers and soldiers, particularly paratroopers, regard him as their patron saint.
Canonization (also spelled Canonisation) is the act by which a Christian Church declares a deceased person to be a saint, inscribing that person in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process, as happened, for instance, in the case of Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the Catholic Church (excepting the Eastern Catholic Churches), the act of canonization is now reserved to the Holy See and occurs at the conclusion of a long process requiring extensive proof that the person proposed for canonization lived, and died, in such an exemplary and holy way that he or she is worthy to be recognized as a saint. The Church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the persons are now in heavenly glory, that they may be publicly invoked and mentioned officially in the Liturgy of the Church, most especially in the Litany of the Saints in the Canon of the Mass. Other Christian Churches still follow the older practice (see, for instance, below on Eastern Orthodox practice).
Canonization, whether formal or informal, does not make someone a saint: it is only a declaration that the person is a saint and was a saint even before canonization. It is generally recognized that there are many more saints in heaven than have been canonized on earth.