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Saint Michael, the Patron Saint of Law Enforcement

Saint Michael is an important archangel in jewish and christian writings. He appears in the scripture a number of times as an archangel of protection. In the New Testament, he provides protection of the Kingdom of God from the evil revolt led by archangel Lucifer, also known as Satan. One of 7 archangels and among 3 mentioned in the bible, Michael led the faithful angels in prevailing over Lucifer in this great battle. Greek Theologians and others place him over all the angels - as Prince of the Seraphim and among the chief princes.

In John (12:7 to 9): “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon... And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Satan and the rebel angels were forever cast to hell, never to return to heaven. This heavenly victory placed Saint Michael in Catholic tradition and liturgy as protector of the church. After low mass, he is invoked in prayers to be “our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil” and is referred to as “captain of the Heavenly Host”.

Saint Michael is honored as a protector of the Israelites as well. In the Old Testament Book of Daniel (chapter xii), Michael is called “the great prince who standeth for the children of Thy people,” in which Michael is represented as Israel’s champion during the seventy years of Babylonian captivity.

Father William Saunders, dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College and pastor of Queen of Apostles Parish, both in Alexandria, states in the Sept. 16, 1999 Arlington Catholic Herald: “St. Michael has four duties: (1) To continue to wage battle against Satan and the other fallen angels; (2) to save the souls of the faithful from the power of Satan especially at the hour of death; (3) to protect the People of God, both the Jews of the Old Covenant and the Christians of the New Covenant; and (4) finally to lead the souls of the departed from this life and present them to our Lord for the particular judgment, and at the end of time, for the final judgment.”

Michaelmas Day, the main feast day for Saint Michael, is on September 29 th.

As protector and defender against evil, Saint Michael is the patron saint for law enforcement, and among the most common of the icons used on police coins. He is usually depicted as a winged knight-warrior, wearing battle armor. He wields a sword and holds scales of justice, while standing triumphantly over a fallen Lucifer.

As a powerful symbol for law enforcement, Saint Michael’s likeness is used in a stock die developed by Northwest Territorial Mint, available for use without a die charge on any custom minted police coin.

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