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The Michael Chapel | Iona

The Minister of Iona Parish is to be given the privilege of conducting the service of re-dedication. This may well prove the most significant and important act in his whole career and no doubt he is already preparing himself to undertake it.

May it be suggested that the Collect of St. Michael as given on page 22 of ‘Michael: Prince of Heaven’ be used on this occasion?

More valuable still would be the use of ‘De Sancto Michaele’ as given on page 27 of the same booklet.

This Call or Invocation to Michael and his two companions, Gabriel and Raphael, is of great antiquity and has been in use for at least 1,500 years past.

The combination of certain sounds in word form can prove very potent, and the Latin tongue lends itself well to the expression of rhythms, similar in kind to those known in the East as ‘Mantras’. The Latin Ode intoned musically in careful sequence is capable of attracting beneficent and unseen influences, enriching the Service of Dedication in a very special way and leaving behind it a valuable and permanent effect.

The Roman Church recognises the value of the use of Latin in this respect. Such ‘Calls’ create a harmonising effect, a kind of spiritual incense, and the Western Churches have lost much since the Reformation in this respect; through fear of ‘Idolatry’.

The Call should be followed by the reading of a good translation into English. Doubtless the Minister is a better Latin scholar than I am, and will be able to produce a more accurate translation than the one I prepared and which appears on page 40 of ‘Michael: Prince of Heaven’.


Written on 9.2.1961 to David Russell to pass on to the Minister concerned and to George Macleod, founder of The Iona Community.

The Michael Chapel on Iona was restored in the early 1960’s by the gifts of churchmen in South Africa. The roof timbers and stalls are made of wood from Ghana.

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