THE HOLIDAY of the Council of the Holy Archangel Michael, Arandjelovdan, is one of the most common baptismal feasts among Serbs who cultivate an exceptional cult of “duke of heavenly forces”. The most powerful medieval rulers and nobles erected magnificent endowments in his glory, and on unusual frescoes the archangel gives them the “sword of victory”.
Academician Vojislav J. Đurić deciphered the hidden messages of these endowments and frescoes with the help of “Paleja”, a popular medieval apocryphal book of biblical stories. It describes in detail and vividly the military campaign of Joshua, the Old Testament military leader who introduced the people of Israel to the Promised Land.
Archangel Michael appeared to him, in front of the hitherto invincible Jericho, with a fiery sword, announcing his victory. Academician Đurić revealed that the story from “Paleja” delighted and inspired readers among the noble warriors who protected the “Serbian Promised Land”. The rulers have since been compared to Joshua and represented in the frescoes with an archangel giving them a sword. The source of the archangel cult and the great influence of literature on the Serbian nobility were also discovered.
– The time around the middle of the 14th century is marked by the construction of a monastery in the part of both archangels or only Michael. Among the founders, the largest number is from the ranks of high authorities – noted academician Đurić.
After the great victory over the Ottomans in Asia Minor in 1313, King Milutin built the Archangel Monastery in Jerusalem, at the place where, according to tradition, he also appeared with a sword. Tsar Dusan built the endowment, the magnificent Archangel near Prizren, on the site of the ancient temple of the “Duke of Heavenly Forces”, where he overcame a deadly disease as a young man. Protosevast Hrelja, Ohmućević, Relja Krilatica from folk poetry built a temple for him in Štip, and despot Oliver built it in Lesnovo. Tsar Dušan in Polog and despot Stefan in Ljubostinja and Manasija, were painted with an archangel who gives them a sword.
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