Our region is such a beauty that we say that one of our hobbys is to travel around the region for the sake of admiration towards it. Every now and then we discover also some hidden treasures, and this was the case of Isabelle and Erik’s latest discovery: the Benedictine abbey of San Michele Arcangelo which is located on the top of Mount Sant’Angelo, near Arcevia.
It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael, a Longobard patron saint. In the Middle Ages, as early as 1024, the abbey was an important destination for pilgrims. Eventually the Benedictine monastery passed to the Camaldolese Order.
From the 17th century it slowly lost importance and fell into disrepair. In 1904, a commission from Arcevia carried out a restoration of the church with the installation of a large iron cross to replace the collapsed bell tower, so that the building could be seen from afar.
However, all this did not prevent the building from becoming more and more dilapidated, until after extensive repairs, the San Michele Arcangelo church was restored to all its glory on 9/16/2007.
However, what makes this place so special is that it sits on an imaginary line along with other churches dedicated to the Archangel Michael; starting with the Skellig Michael in Ireland, the Saint Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, Le Mont Saint Michel in France, the Sacra di San Michele in Val di Susa, this church, then the Basilica di San Michele in Puglia, the Greek monastery Mixales and to finish in Israel on Mount Carmel. This imaginary line would symbolize the sword blow Michael inflicted on the dragon.
Every Sunday afternoon from 3 pm to 6 pm. from May 8 to the last Sunday of September, a number of volunteers welcome visitors who want to visit the church. Pay attention in bad weather or if the volunteers are not available, you can also stand in front of a closed door.
The drive there is already worth it with a beautiful view of Arcevia. Isabelle and Erik visited the building for us:
Although small in size, it is an interesting three-aisled construction, with a barrel vault in the center and cross vaults on the sides and on the altar a copy of the wooden statue of St. Michael the Archangel, the original of which, attributed to the famous French woodcarver Léonard Chailleau, is in the church of San Medardo (Arcevia).
On the internal columns, under the Romanesque capitals, there are some untranslated inscriptions. There is also a second altar to the right of the central altar, where stones have been donated by the Sanctuary of Monte Sant’Angelo in the Gargano and of San Michele in Val di Susa as well as a donation of some sand and a silver image of Mont Saint -Michel in France.
If you do not know when entering the church to which saint this building is dedicated …. you will find images of the holy archangel everywhere!
An ex-miner from Arcevia donated his miner’s lamp to commemorate the victims of the mining disasters in Cabernardi and Marcinelle in Belgium.