Our parish is dedicated to Saint Michael the Archangel. The name Michael means, ‘Who is like to God’.
There is a long tradition in this area of dedicating churches to Saint Michael, perhaps reflecting his patronage of seafarers.
The Strathleven area of Dumbarton used to be called Kirkmichael because there was a chapel to Saint Michael there in medieval times. Kirkmichael is also an area in nearby Helensburgh where the Episcopalian church is dedicated to Saint Michael and the Angels. Going a little further west, at Faslane, the cemetery has the ruins of a church dedicated to Saint Michael. Nearby, in Glen Luss there are the remains of a pre-Reformation church of Saint Michael.
Devotion to Saint Michael goes back to the very beginning of the Church and beyond. He is mentioned in the Book of Daniel in his role as an angel who protects people from harm and as a captain or commander of the angels. And then in the Book of Revelation (12: 7-9) we read of Michael as the leader of the angels in the great war against Satan, where Satan and his followers are driven out of heaven.
Especially since the 7th century, when the Lombards defeated the Saracens, Michael has been seen as the great protector from plague, pestilence and all sorts of harm.
Our parish feast day is 29 September when the Church honours the Archangels – Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. For centuries in Scotland the date has been referred to as Michaelmas, reflecting the significance of St Michael in the country’s religious tradition and culture.
Prayer to St Michael
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. Restrain him, O God, we humbly pray; and do you, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin and destruction of souls. Amen.