St. Michael the Archangel was present in the life of the apostles and the early church from the very beginning. St. John the Evangelist wrote about St. Michael in the Book of Revelation, and others witnessed his prophecy at Colossae about the coming of St. Michael.
When St. John the Evangelist went to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Ephesus, he noted that many of them had fallen into idolatry most especially toward the god Artemis. St. John raised his hands to heaven in sighs worshiping the true God, and the idol was toppled inside the temple. He continued praying, and the entire temple crumbled causing many to convert to the true faith.
St. John then left for Lydia where he met up with the Apostle Philip, and they left for Colossae of Phrygia where the people worshipped a giant serpent. This is also the area where St. Paul would write the Letter to the Colossians. With much prayer and a spear, St. John and St. Philip slew the people’s idol. In retaliation, they crucified the Apostle Philip. When they were about to seize St. John, a giant earthquake followed resulting in many who asked for baptism.
Later, St. John the Evangelist received a prophetic vision that St. Michael the Archangel would appear and leave a miraculous spring for the healing of the people. This occurred a few days after St. John left the area.
In the city of Laodicea (also spelled Laodikeia) lived a nobleman who was a Greek pagan with a daughter who was unable to speak from birth which caused him much sadness. St. Michael appeared to him in a dream and said,
“If you want your daughter to be able to speak bring her to my water-spring and give her water from there…”
The nobleman woke up in fear and trembling and did as St. Michael commanded. When he arrived, a crowd was already at the spring where many were being healed (recalling the gospel story of the Pool of Bethesda where a crowd awaited the healing angel – John 5:4.)
The nobleman asked the many people gathered at the healing spring what words they uttered to receive healing, and they said,
“We utter in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one in essence, and the chief commander Michael, the slave of the Trinity.”
The nobleman with deep faith and prayer uttered the words and gave his mute daughter water from the spring to drink, and she immediately spoke for the first time saying,
“God of the Christians, have mercy on me; Holy Archangel St. Michael help me, O Archangel St. Michael help me…”
The nobleman and his daughter converted to the faith. He then built a beautiful church over the spring in honor of St. Michael the Archangel and the many miracles.
Approximately ninety years later, a young boy named Archippos from Hierapolis traveled to the Church of Archangel Michael in Colossae where he lived for seventy years as the custodian of the shrine. Archippos was an ascetic praying unceasingly and caring for the people who came to the miraculous spring.
Then, envious pagans about 5,000 in number, on seeing so many healings and conversions decided to divert the flow of two nearby rivers (Lykokaperos and Kufos Rivers) in order to kill Archippos and destroy the church with the healing spring. For ten days the pagans worked openly in front of Archippos, and his only weapon was prayer and asking for St. Michael’s intercession saying,
“Blessed be God, I will not leave the oratory and I will not flee. But I too will die from the water, for I believe in God who will save me from pusillanimity and tempest through the intercession of Michael that he might not abandon this home of his or this land until the end of time.”
After the ten days, the pagans broke the dams managing to make the two rivers flood toward the church and the healing spring. Archippos on hearing the roar of the rivers coming prayed Psalm 92:4-7 exclaiming, “The rivers have lifted up, O Lord, the rivers have lifted up their voices. The rivers will lift up their waves, at the voices of many waters. Wonderful are the surgings of the sea, wonderful on high is the Lord. Holiness becometh Thy house, O Lord, unto length of days.” He then cried out to St Michael for protection saying,
“Holy Archangel of God, Michael protect your temple; do not let this sacred place be destroyed.”
St. Michael appeared as a warrior in great brilliance. Archippos unable to withstand such a holy sight left to the church in fear and went prostrate on the ground. St. Michael then said,
“I am the Archangel of the Lord, who stands before God. I am unable to look upon the fearful glory of the undetectable Lord and the unbearable light of the immeasurable power that comes from the sight of Him. But if you cannot bear the sight of me and you shudder at the form and power of his servant, then how will you look upon the One at whose side I stand trembling?” “Rise and stand on thy feet and come here outside in order to behold the invincible might of God.”
Archippos stood up and St. Michael made the Sign of the Cross with his right hand upon the rock and upon the church saying, “Up to this point is thy flux.” St. Michael also made the Sign of the Cross over the two rivers, and they stood still forming a wall, as in the time of Moses at the Red Sea. St. Michael then struck the rock with his staff, and again, made the Sign of the Cross and said to the rivers, “Funnel the waters here.”
With a loud booming sound, the earth parted in two, and the onrushing waters from the two rivers forming a wall were channeled into the opening made by St. Michael. The opening or chasm where the rivers entered was renamed “Chonae”, which means “plunging/funneling” which is often depicted in icons celebrating this great miracle.
The two rivers became one stream at “Chonae” and then they split into two streams underneath, each of which passed around the holy spring of St. Michael, acting as protective moats around a castle. The pagan leaders fled in fear while thousands converted; Archippos (also spelled Archippus) went on to become a saint. On this day concerning the healing waters St. Michael stated,
“In this place all sickness and weakness will be driven away, all poison and enchantment and energy of the wicked one. Those who are bound will be loosened together with those harassed by unclean spirits. Those who are ill will be healed and everyone who takes refuge in this place in faith and fear, calling upon the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and Michael the Archangel, by the name of God and mine, will not leave this place in grief. The grace of God and my power will shade this place in the name of the Trinity. Our enemies who stand and look at us will become petrified while the waters surround my shrine.”
The split course of the rivers remains unchanged to this day for all the world to witness. Colossae was among the great cathedrals of the empire for many centuries; however, it was destroyed in the 12th century by the invading Turks and Arabs. The Feast Day for celebrating this miracle and the St. Michael healing spring at Colossae is September 6th.
St. Michael the Archangel Ora Pro Nobis!