The Holy Prophet Elias

August 2 (July 20 old calendar)

A man who saw God, a wonderworker and a zealot for faith in God, St. Elias was of the tribe of Aaron, from the city of Tishba, whence he was known as 'the Tishbite.' When Elias was born, his father Sabah saw angels of God around the child, swaddling it with fire and feeding it with flames. This was a foreshadowing of Elias' fiery character and his God-given fiery powers. He spent his whole youth in prayer and meditation, withdrawing often to the desert to ponder and pray in tranquility. At that time, the Jewish Kingdom was divided into two unequal parts: the Kingdom of Judah consisted only of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with its capital at Jerusalem, while the Kingdom of Israel consisted of the other ten tribes, with its capital at Samaria. The former kingdom was ruled by the descendants of Solomon, and the latter by the descendants of Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon's. The prophet Elias came into the greatest conflict with the Israelite king, Ahab, and his evil wife Jezebel, for they worshipped idols and turned the people from the service of the one, living God. On top of this, Jezebel, being a Syrian, persuaded her husband to build a temple to the Syrian god, Baal, and appointed many priests to the service of this false god. Elias performed many miracles by the power of God: he closed the heavens, that no rain should fall for three years and six months; called down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice to his God, while the priests of Baal were unable to do this; brought rain from the heavens at his prayers; miraculously multiplied corn and oil in the widow's house at Zarephath, and restored her dead son to life; prophesied to Ahab that the dogs would lick up his blood, and to Jezebel that the dogs would devour her - which came to pass; and performed many other miracles and foretold many events. He talked with God on Horeb, and heard His voice in the calm after the great wind. At the time of his death, he took Elisha and appointed him his heir as a prophet; he parted the Jordan with his mantle and was finally borne to heaven in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses. He appeared together with Moses, to our Lord Jesus Christ on Tabor. At the end of the world, Elias will appear again, to break the power of antichrist (Rev. 11).

Author's note: In the Greek Lives of the Saints, the following miracle of the holy prophet Elias is recorded: a certain Paisius, abbot of the monastery of St. Elias in Jerusalem, went to Constantinople and from Constantinople to Belgrade at the time that Patriarch Paisius was staying there. At that time, there was an Orthodox Christian living in Belgrade, married to a Latin wife. On the feast of St. Elias, the wife planned to make bread, but her husband said to her, "You must not work." His wife replied that the feast had been two days earlier (according to the Roman Calendar). And so a dispute arose between them. The stubborn woman kneaded the dough, but then a marvel! The dough became stone in her hands! At that, the neighbors gathered round, and each of them took a piece of the stone. Paisius took a piece of it, as a witness to God's miracle, and took it with him to Jerusalem. He laid this piece of stone in front of the icon of the holy prophet Elias in his monastery. (This is recorded in Dositheus Book XII, Ch. 11, Para. 2, p. 1192.)


Troparion, Tone 4

Incarnate Angel and summit of the Prophets,/ second forerunner of the coming of Christ,/ glorious Elijah sent down grace from on high to the Prophet Elisha./ He heals diseases and cleanses the leprous./ He pours healings on all who honor him.


Kontakion, Tone 2

O great Prophet Elijah,/ seer of God's mighty works,/ who didst halt the torrential rain by thy word,/ pray for us to the Lover of Mankind. 


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(elias_prophet.doc, 08-15-2000)