|Location:||Sant'Angelo in Grotte, Via San Michele. Santa Maria del Molise, Province of Isernia.|
This is a catholic church, so it is open daily. Please respect worshipers and services, behave properly.
|Classification:||Karst cave. Cave Church|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1100||first written mention.|
The Grotta di San Michele is a cave church located in the town Sant'Angelo in Grotte, which belongs to Santa Maria del Molise. According to local legend, the was the place archangel Michael liked most, but the lord told him to appear at Monte Sant'Angelo on the Gargano in Puglia. So he left his cave here to appear there.
According to this legend the cave was known as a place of an apparition of St. Michael since the 5th century. At this time the former Roman empire was ruled by Langobards, who were finally christianized. The believe in Arcangel Michael and his various apparitions was important for this process. Symbols of St. Michael soon became part of flags, like the portrait of St. Michael on the flag of Lombardia. However, the first accounts on a local St. Michael cult and the creation of a church are from the 12th century. At first the place was called S. Angelo di Badianosa, later St. Angelo in Criptulis.
The church is entered through thick bronze doors with bas reliefs. It is built into a cave with a front wall closing the cave to the weather. The cave has some speleothems and a small spring which is thought to be holy. There is a statue of San Michele with a metal breastplate and sword. On his shield is written Quis Ut Deus (who is like God?), which means that only God is strong.