MONZA-S. Michele (scomparsa)

According to tradition, after the foundation of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist by Theodelinda, a second church, dedicated to Saint Michael, was built in Monza. It was unfortunately demolished in 1922 to make way for the widening of the road (via Crispi).

The hypothetical date of foundation of the historic church is 628: if this were proved, it would confirm - compared to the existing documented records - an earlier diffusion of the veneration of the Archangel among the Longobards. The actual diffusion of the cult is considered to have originated in the period between 671 and 687, that is in the time of the Duke of Benevento, Romuald I. He is credited with the first substantial intervention to encourage the cult of St. Michael, with the building of a small church dedicated to St. Peter next to the Holy Grotto on Gargano, already venerated since classical times, according to legends and to pagan dedications.

From the strictly historical point of view, a document dated 903 records the existence of the church of San Michele in Monza.

Linked to the affairs of the Cathedral, the history of the church also had an important role with reference to the Iron Crown: Conrad III of Swabia was crowned King of Italy in the church of San Michele.

At the beginning of the 14th century, the church, run by the Order of the Humiliati, was decorated with frescoes, one of which - entitled “Mass of Saint Michael” and detached before the religious building was demolished - is kept today in the Museum and Treasury of the Cathedral. The painting is interpreted as a rare example of a "missa aurea" or Golden Mass (Mass on the Wednesday of the Advent Ember Days) and as a celebration of the consecration of the Sanctuary of Saint Michael on Gargano.

Near the area where the church stood (Piazza San Paolo), on 29 September 2004 - date of the celebrations in honour of Saint Michael - a statue depicting the Archangel was erected, work of the sculptor Benedetto Pietrogrande, along with a commemorative plaque.

It is important to point out that in the statue the Archangel is represented holding a lily and not the traditional sword. A similar representation is to be seen in the fresco of the "Mass of Saint Michael", which probably inspired the sculptor's work.

The image - a detail of the fresco of the Mass of Saint Michael, detached from the church of the same name and now to be seen in the Museum and Treasury of the Cathedral - shows on the left the Archangel Michael and on the right Queen Theodelinda.

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  •   Monza
  • Lat 45.585502317422325, Long 9.273800134658813