Joshua, the son of Nun, saw him in great glory and was frightened by him and fell on his face to the earth and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” So he said, “No; but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come … I have given Jericho into your hand and its king.” (Joshua 5:13-15, 6:2)
The Archangel Michael was with all the saints and martyrs. He strengthened them and enabled them to endure patiently until they finished their strife.
Festivals of commemoration are held and alms offered in his name on the twelfth day of each Coptic month. Our Coptic Orthodox Church celebrates two major feasts for Archangel Michael, namely on the 12th of Hator (November 21st) and on the 12th of Paona (June 19th).
This name of his is a Hebrew name meaning “who is like God”. He is in a general manner, the commander of the angels. The Holy Church asks for his intercession in every mass, in the hymns, prayers, and songs. His feast is monthly celebrated on the twelfth of every Coptic month, and the miracles which he has operated are mentionned. There are some books which were written about these miracles. Some families have the habit of making “the cakes of the angel” (feteer el malak) and they distribute them to their friends and loved ones, and they remember that a miracle (relatively to these cakes) happened to a certain family by means of the Archange Michael.
The icon of the archangel Michael is set up in every church, where he is dressed in a soldier’s dress as “commander of the army of the Lord”. He has a spear in his hand by which he pierces Satan who appears as a dragon, as it is written in the book of Revelation: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon”. Michael triumphed in that war, and he cast the devil out of heaven (Revelation 12: 7-9).
A church is built up in every monastery on the topmost of the fence, as the Archangel Michael is considered the guardian of the monastery. How many are the churches which are built in the name of the Archangel Michael in cities in all the continents, as a sign of his love and intercession.
Because of the love of people for the Archangel Michael, many people are called by his name, whether in the Hebrew or in the Coptic language (Mikhail), or by his name in English (Michael), or in French (Michel). They are also called by the name of “Malak” (meaning angel), or “Abdel Malak” (meaning the servant of the angel). Many Jews in the Old Testament were also called by his name.
Our Church believes that the Archangel Michael is the angel of the Resurrection, as it came in (Matthew 28). Therefore we say in the “fraction prayer” at Easter: “Michael, the commander of the angels, came down from heaven, and rolled back the stone from the mouth of the tomb, and announced the women who carried the spices and fragrant oils saying: Christ is risen from the dead”.
It is said of him in the book of the prophet Daniel: “Michael … the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people” (Daniel 12:1). In spite of the greatness of the archangel Michael, we see his humility, as it was mentioned in the epistle of Jude: “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said: ‘The Lord rebuke you!”‘ (Jude 9). And we note that the archangel Michael is the one who came to help the archangel Gabriel, when the devil, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia”, stood before him to oppose him. (Daniel 10: 11-13).
His intercession be for us and Glory be to our God, forever. Amen.