Sacra_San_Michele_207aThe Pirchiriano mount, on the slope of which is Sacra it di san Michele, dominates with 962m, and is drawn up in the valley of Suse, not far from Turin. The valley was formed in the time of the ice ages and was planed by the power of the ices, as the hard stone cupolas and the polished surface of the escarpments prove it. Thus was formed the “Chiusa”, the cluse, of Latin confined, bolt in a narrow throat.

Sacra_San_Michele_002aThe old name of Pirchiriano seems to be the elegant form of the modest porcarianus, the mount of the pigs, by analogy with its neighbors, the caprasio, the mount of the goat, and Musiné, the mount of the asses. These names have a bond with the religion of the Celts, and there we find our druids, whose emblem was the wild boar. It is not astonishing if this mountain accepted a sanctuary.

Sacra_San_Michele_004aThe first known inhabitants were the Neolithic stockbreeders of Vaie and Villarforchiardo, then the inhabitants of the villages near the lake of Trana and Avigliana.

Sacra_di_San_Michele_020aStrengthened as the time of the Ligurians, then by the Celts, the mount became the stronghold of two kings Cozius, of which the first was a friend of César Auguste. On arrival of the Romans, in 63, those placed the place under the protection of an alpine divinity which we finds the traces on fragments of marble stele.
In 461, the inhabitants were invaded by Burgondes, then in 477 the valley passes under the bizantine authority. 

Sacra_San_Michele_007aLombards invaded it from 569 to 773, them which, the first, build fortifications. Charlemagne imposes its domination then. The Carolingians Buckwheats succeed, towards 888. They remained little of time. In 933, the valley is joined together with the kingdom of Burgundy, and in 942, the king of Italy, Hugues of Provence, indicates Arduin Glabrion as count of Turin. This one had received in reward the Walk of the valley of Suse to have demolishes Buckwheats.

Sacra_San_Michele_159aOne day, passes a noble lord of Auvergne, Hugues de Paillers-Montboissier says Unstitched, who goes to Rome to expiate his faults; whereas it assembles the steps of the Saint-Pierre basilica, it feels stopped, retained behind. The pope commits it to see a divine sign there and gives him the order to build a monastery to erase its sins.

Sacra_San_Michele_016aReturning in Gaule by the valley of Suse, Hugues made there halt by friends, who, put at the current of his intention, speak to him about the oratory of the Michaelmas. A visit in the place, accompanied by a new miracle, decides our Auvergnat man to concretize on Pirchiriano its penitence. He wzent to see, in Avigliana, the marquis Arduin d' Ivrée and buy to him the place, in order to make its foundation completely independent of the local temporal power; he obtains also a privilege of the bishop of Turin for the future monks. It is certain Advert, abbot of Lézat, party of its monastery where the indiscipline reigned, which becomes the first chief of the monastic community of the Cluse. Some time later, Hugues, who was turned over to Auvergne (or his son), returns to Piedmont to complete his foundation and to request the confirmative diplomas to the pope (Sylvestre II) and from the emperor (Otton the Young).

Sacra_San_Michele_005In second half of Xth century, a certain Jean “Vincent”, ex-bishop of the area of Ravenne, wanting to turn over to the solitary life, leaves its episcopal quotes and fixes himself on Assembles Caprasio, with the collar of That, face has the antique place of worship of Assembles Pirchiriano. One night, holy Michel appears to him and orders to him to rebuild an oratory on Pirchiriano. Jean achieves the wish of the archangel, not without to have been made help miraculously by doves devoted to the task. The oratory where the hermit elects from now on residence, on its request, is devoted by the bishop of Turin, after a second miracle to convince this one. It becomes a attended place of pilgrimage.

In XIIIth century, the abbey counted more than 100 Benedictines and directed 140 monasteries. In XIVth century, it had many grounds and begin a period of great power. Then the decline came, with its last two abbots and the setting under commende.

Since 1836, the Rosminiens fathers, called by the family of Savoy, maintain a spiritual life  at the top of the mount and accomodate the faithful ones come to request the Archangel.

If you want another version of the history, more… funny, go on
It is said that Umberto Eco took as a starting point this site for his famous novel “the name of the pink”.

The worship of
Saint Michael

MichelDiffused quickly in Italy since the East, especially in the high and solitary places, the worship was established in Vth and VIth centuries by exiled Persans monks of their fatherland, sent by Rome  to évangelize the North of Italy. The presence of these monks is still attested today by the dedication of a small vault with Saint Abacus, one  of their, by the Musiné Mount.
The Byzantines developed the worship. Lombards celebrated it, them which had like guards Saint Michael, Saint Pierre and Saint Ambroise.
Lenient Rebora, one of the best representatives of the Religious Poetry of Xth century, defines the Abbey of
Saint Michel  like a “vertiginously sacred top”.

michel2The Abbey is closely related to the figure of Saint Michael , considered as the prince of the celestial militia and as the right arm of the divinity. The chronicler of the Abbey proposed already this particular description of Saint Michael when he wrote, in the half of the eleventh century, the following worms: “Thanks to several documents of the Holy Scriptures, we know now that not only the Happy Michael has, thanks to the will of God, the supremacy of the celestial militia, but it also has, so to speak, a principality on the ground, which is, more exactly, in the Western regions.

st_michel3the Archangel chose himself between all three particular places in these Western areas of the world, to visit them, and to flood them his light: the first with the Gargan mount, already very known of the whole world; the second close to the ocean, which one calls " the danger of the sea”; the third placed very exactly halfway, it is the Pirchirianus mount, in the middle of the high mountains, where it is possible to contemplate the divine majesty more closely”.