Institutt for arkeologi, historie, kultur- og religionsvitenskap


The persona and cult of the Archangel Michael

On the 20th and 21st of March 2018, a conference on “The persona and cult of the Archangel Michael,” organized by Alexandros Tsakos, Marta Camilla Wright, and Ingvild Sælid Gilhus, is due to take place in Bergen.


The Archangel Michael and the Three Youths in the Fiery Furnace (10th century), from the Cathedral at Faras, Lower Nubia; today in the Sudan National Museum.

The conference, supported by a SPIRE-grant, brings together fifteen scholars from different backgrounds in order to discuss, in a multi-disciplinary context, aspects of this most important figure of the Abrahamic religions. For the first time, disciplines traditionally involved in the study of religion, like philology and papyrology, art and iconography, anthropology and religion, history and psychology, are combined with methodologies deriving from memory studies, graphic design, and art education and semiotics.

This innovative venue aspires to become the first of a series of such conferences and workshops aiming at creating a network of “Michaelological” studies. Therefore, the focus on the cult and persona of Michael in Christianity is only the beginning of a larger scope of understanding the Archangel’s role, not only in Christianity but also in Judaism and Islam. A conference in South Africa is already being planned as a continuation of the collaboration in the SPIRE framework. In the meantime, you are welcome to follow the proceedings of the conference in Bergen at Seminarrom D, Dragefjellet skole.

Day 1, March 20:

10:00-10:15 Tsakos Alexandros (UiB), Welcome and scope of the conference


10:15-10:35 Gilhus Sælid Ingvild (UiB), On Angels

10:35-11:00 Discussion


11:00-11:20 Human Delene (University of Pretoria), The Resurrection Myth Archetype Manifested Through the Journey of a Hero – Archangel Michael

11:20-11:45 Discussion


11:45-12:45 Lunch break


12:45-13:05 Zielińska Dobrochna (University of Warsaw) & Tsakos Alexandros (University of Bergen), Following the footsteps of an archangel. The representations of the Archangel Michael in the framework of the project “Corpus of wall paintings from Medieval Nubia”.

13:05-13:30 Discussion


13:30-13:50 Łaptaś Magda (Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw), The position of the Archangel Michael in the celestial hierarchy. Some aspects of the manifestation of his cult in Nubian painting

13:50-14:15 Discussion


14:15-14:30 Break


14:30-14:50 D’Agostino Pietro (University of Paris), Saint Michael, the River Nile and the Egyptian nature: is the Archangel the heir of the god Thot?

14:50-15:15 Discussion


15:15-15:35 Innemée Karel (University of Amsterdam), The Archangel Michael as psychopomp.

15:35-16:00 Discussion


16:00-16:15 Coffee/tea break


16:15-16:35 Lundhaug Hugo (University of Oslo), Textual Fluidity and Exegetical Creativity in the Investiture of Michael the Archangel

16:35-17:00 Discussion


17:00-17:20 Tibet David (Independent Researcher), The IFAO foglia with a Sahidic version of Liber Institutionis Michaelis

17:20-17:45 Discussion


Day 2, March 21:

09:00-09:20 Wright Camilla (UiB), The archangel Michael in Ethiopian Orthodox Christian healing practices in contemporary Addis Ababa.

09:20-09:45 Discussion


09:45-10:05 Malara Diego (University of Edinburgh), Making the Angel Visible: Witnessing, Kinship and Hierarchy in Ethiopian Orthodox Exorcism 

10:05-10:30 Discussion


10:30-10:45 Coffee/tea break


10:45-11:05 Levene Dan (University of Southampton), 'Magical Michael'. Incantation traditions.

11:05-11:30 Discussion


11:30-11:50 Steyn Raita (University of Pretoria), Archangel Michael in the midst of The New Jerusalem - an African sacred space for pilgrims

11:50-12:15 Discussion


12:15-13:30 Lunch break


13:30-13:50 Kriel Lize (University of Pretoria), St Michael as ‘elsewhere’: myths of misplacement in the changing visual landscapes of South Africa’s Capital Cities

13:50-14:15 Discussion


14:15-14:35 Kapalo James (University College Cork), “And thus we obtain the Archangel Michael” – The Representation and Embodiment of the Archangel Michael on Twentieth Century Moldova

14:35-15:00 Discussion


15:00-15:15 Break


15:15-16:00 General discussion