The story of the first apparition blends with legend.
It was in 490 during the pontificate of Gelasio I the Bishop of
Siponto under whose jurisdiction Monte San' Angel lies was the Greek,
Laurence Maiorano, who was later canonized.
"One day Elvio Emanuele, a nobleman of the area,
lost the best bull of his herd. After days of searching, he found
it, kneeling in an inaccessible cave. Not being able to get near
it he shot an arrow but the arrow turned around and struck him.
Surprised by the novelty of the happening he went straight to the
Bishop who ordered three days of prayer and fasting.
"Three days later, the Archangel appeared to
the Bishop and said: "I am Michael The Archangel and am always
in the presence of God. I chose the cave which is sacred to me.
There will be no more shedding of bull's blood (a reference to the
fact that among the mountain pagan cult was still thriving. Where
the rocks open widely the sins of man may be pardoned. What is asked
here in prayer will be granted. Therefore, go up to the mountain
cave and dedicate it to the Christian cult!" The Bishop, undecided,
deferred the execution of the angelic order