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There are only three Archangels in the Western Christian tradition, and of these only Michael is actually mentioned as an archangel in the New Testament.





Michael (Michele)



The only Archangel referred to by name and rank (twice) in the New Testament



Basilica San Michele, Lucca


Michael, the Warrior Archangel, has branded some magnificent sites and churches, most spectacularly mountaintop monasteries, and given rise to many beautiful icons.


Link to Monte Sant'Angelo (Gargano)


San Michele and San Giorgio kill dragons






Traditionally associated with certain events like the Annunciation (Luke) and the Nativity, though referred to mostly as an unnamed angel (not Arch~).



Link to Convent of San Marco in Florence (Fra Angelico)


Link to Spoleto Duomo (Fra Filippo Lippi)


More to Come



Rafael (Rafaello)



In the Deuterocanonical Book of Tobit, Raphael unblinds Tobit and undemonizes his son Tobias, then later stars in the Book of Enoch. 



More accessibly, the intertwined then and now story is absorbingly told in the book by Sally Vickers called "Miss Garnet's Angel" - a must for anyone visiting Venice.


Buy from Amazon USA        Buy from Amazon UK


Link to Books about Venice


Link to Campo de L'Anzolo Raphael in Venice












(Winged) Man / Angel (Christ as human)





(Winged) Lion (Christ as King)


Anything to do with Venice is a good starting point for the Lion of Saint Mark.  Also ...


Link to Troia Cathedrale





(Winged) Calf, Ox or Bull (Christ as sacrifice)


Now you know the origin of all those weathered cows you see struggling to fly out of the facades of Romanesque (and later) churches in Italy.  Links include ....


Troia Cathedrale (Puglia)     Alba Duomo (Piemonte)


Orvieto Duomo (Umbria)     Norwich (England)



John the Evangelist


Eagle (Christ as God)



The sculptured or bas-relief symbols of the Evangelists are often found on the western facades of the larger medieval churches, either in a horizontal line or at the corners of an imaginary square around the central window or a mandorlad Christ figure, or as part of a portico / tympanum structure.  They may also be found externally around eastern apse windows, or even appear as large statues standing on top of apse walls (such as the spectacular group in Angers).  Many statues have disappeared over time because of wanton destruction, deterioration, restructuring and restoration.  Although in a particular church there would normally have been all four symbols in a group somewhere, it is not uncommon to find that they have become scattered or depopulated over time - Pisa Duomo for example has an ox flying out of the east facade, an eagle and an angel on the west facade, and a lion standing alone on the distant cemetery wall.  


It is also common to find frescos of the four evangelist symbols around a frescoed Christ pantocrator in a mandorla (it: almond) shaped frame, on the wall or spherical ceiling sections inside apses, such as this little pilgrimage church on the River Loir.  In the older churches of Rome like Santa Pudenziana, Santa Prassede and Santa Maria in Trastevere, mosaics of the evangelists signs are often found in the apse area in a straight line.


An arrangement of four symbols (not necessarily evangelists) is known as a tetramorph.  One interesting little pilgrimage abbey church on the River Lot in France has a satanic tetramorph.





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