Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

St. Michael's Sword

Do "ley lines" exist? Me, I have no idea, and am not sure I understand what a "ley line" is actually supposed to be. But I have discovered something possibly interesting about many of the sites at which St. Michael has appeared to humans, or, at least, sites at which St. Michael is honored in extraordinary ways. Consider:

About seven and a half miles off the Southwest coast of Ireland is a very tiny, very craggy, very inhospitable, steep pyramid of an island called "Skellig Michael." In 60 A.D., Aristobulus of Britannia -- named as one of "the seventy" (Luke 10) , mentioned in Romans 16:11, ordained by St. Paul, and the first Bishop of Roman Britan -- ordered that a hermitage be built on the island to preserve texts brought to Britain by Joseph Of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:43; John 19:38). Since at least 1044, the island has been consecrated to St. Michael -- possibly because of an at least legendary association between the place and St. Patrick: it was here that St. Patrick is said to have had his final show-down with the serpents that once plagued Ireland. Sadly, the place is no longer in Catholic hands -- not since the so called "Reformation." But it retains its Catholic name.

Off the West coast of Cornwall, England, is another little island dedicated to St. Michael: St Michael's Mount. Our archangel is said to have appeared there in A.D. 495, and Benedictines built an abbey there in his honor. The place very much resembles Mt. St. Michel in Normandy, the next site on our list.

Mont St. Michel was built to St. Michael's honor off the coast of Normandy, France because our warrior Saint is said to have appeared there in 708 to St. Aubert, Bishop of Avranches.

After Normandy, France's Mt. St. Michel comes Sacra di San Michele in Sant'Ambrogio of Turin, Piedmont, Italy. Originally built in around 983 after an appearance there by St. Michael, this monastery and church sit atop Monte Pirchiriano, a mountain that is a part of the Italian Alps. The Benedictines took over the place in the 11th century, and the the church was rebuilt in the 12th.

Next comes the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, in Monte Sant'Angelo, Puglia, Italy. As I wrote on the page about the Feast of St. Michael, "[T]he Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo [is] in the province of Foggia, in northern Apulia, Italy. This basilica is at the site of a cave near which St. Michael appeared several times to the Bishop of Sipontum in A.D. 490. Michael told the Bishop that the cave should be consecrated and that, in return, the nearby town of Sipontum would be saved from pagan invaders. When the pagans came, St. Michael appeared on top of a mountain near the cave, brandishing a flaming sword, and the people of the town were victorious. Pope Gelasius I, who held the Petrine office from A.D. 492 to 496 built the basilica there, and the cave itself is a place of healing and pilgrimage."

Then there is the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Taxiarchis Mihail Panormitis dedicated to St. Michael on the island of Symi, in the Dodecanese archipelago in Greece. It was originally built in 450, on a site once dedicated to Apollo, but underwent major restoration in the 18th century. In the church there is a very famous icon -- Archangel Michael of Panormitis.

Finally, in Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel is the Carmelite Stella Maris Monastery which contains the cave in which the prophet Elias (Elijah) hid (III Kings 19; I Kings 19 in Bibles with Masoretic numbering). For the life of me, I can't figure out what this monastery has to do with St. Michael, but it is on every list of sites relevant to this page, which is about the alleged "Line of St. Michael"  -- sometimes called "St. Michael's Sword."

What is this line, this sword? It turns out that if you plot all of these sites on a map -- Skellig Michael in Ireland; St. Michael's Mount in England; Mt. St. Michel in France; Sacra di San Michele in Italy; San Michele Arcangelo in Italy; Greek Orthodox Monastery of Taxiarchis Mihail Panormitis in Greece; and Stella Maris monastery in Israel -- they all form a perfect line.

The Italian version of Wikipedia says that the alignment reflects the zodiacal axis which starts from the north-west from Virgo and ends in the south-east with Pisces. The English Wikipedia says that "[a]nother interesting thing is that the Sacred Line is perfectly aligned with the sunset on the day of the Northern Hemisphere’s Summer Solstice." Hmm, OK.

So, what is the meaning of it all? Could be nothing. Could be something. I lean toward the former since I don't understand why that last monastery is included, and because it ignores other relevant sites, like the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, or Domrémy, France where St. Joan had her visions of St. Michael. But it's a very pretty idea that these sites exist where they do because of some higher planning, by God's positive will, isn't it? And because this idea is out there in the Catholic world, I thought I should tell you about it.

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