THE HOLY PROPHET ELIJAH
Saint Elijah, one who saw God, a miracle-worker and a zealot for faith in God, was born of the tribe of Aaron from the town Tishba for which he was called the Tishbite. When St. Elijah was born, his father Savah saw an angel of God hovering around the child, wrapping the child in fire and giving him a flame to eat. That was a foreshadowing of Elijah’s fiery character and his God-given fiery power. He spent his entire youth in godly thoughts and prayers withdrawing frequently into the wilderness to contemplate and to pray in solitude.
At that time the Jewish kingdom was divided into two unequal parts: the kingdom of Judah consisting of only two tribes, the tribes of Judah and Benjamin with their capital in Jerusalem and the kingdom of Israel consisting of the remaining ten tribes with their capital in Samaria. The first kingdom was governed by the descendants of Solomon and the second kingdom was governed by the descendants of Jeroboam, the servants of Solomon.
The greatest confrontation that the prophet Elijah had was with the Israelite King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. For they, Ahab and Jezebel, worshipped idols and were turning the people away from serving the One and Living God. Before this, however, Jezebel, a Syrian, persuaded her husband to erect a temple to the Syrian god Baal and ordered many priests to the service of this false god. Through great miracles Elijah displayed
the power and authority of God: he closed up the heavens, so that there was not any rain for three years and six months; he lowered a fire from heaven and burned the sacrifice to his God which the pagan priests of Baal were unable to do; he brought down rain from heaven by his prayer; miraculously multiplied flour and oil in the home of the widow in Zerepath, and resurrected her son; he prophesied to
Ahab that the dogs will lick up his blood and to Jezebel that the dogs will consume her flesh, all of which happened as well as many other miracles did he perform and prophesy.
On Mount Horeb, he spoke with God and heard the voice of God in the calm of a gentle breeze. Before his death he took Elisha and designated him as his successor in the prophetic calling; by his mantle he divided the waters of the Jordan river; finally he was taken up into the heavens in a fiery chariot by flaming horses. He appeared on Mount Tabor to our Lord Jesus Christ together with Moses. Before the end of the world St. Elijah will appear again to put an end to the power of the anti-Christ (Revelation, Chapter 11).
HYMN OF PRAISE
SAINT ELIJAH THE PROPHET
Fiery man, the Prophet Elijah,
With heavenly radiance, glowed on earth
Pleased the Lord with your prayers
You closed the heavens and from heaven brought down fire,
All with the help of God’s All-powerful right hand;
Because of their lukewarm faith, you rebuke men;
For the Living God, you diligently labored
And, as its prophet, the Church celebrates you.
The king did not frighten you and the queen even less,
Your king and your possession, the Lord God is.
Neither about food nor about drink did he worry.
To God’s Providence, you were completely devoted
Without fear of anyone, you were a fear to everyone.
As a powerful lion who is a fear to small mice.
For the Living God you diligently labored
And as its prophet, the Church celebrates you.
As so few, the Lord glorified you
For the Living God you glorified:
To ignite sacrifices, God sent you a fire;
To resurrect the dead, power He gave you.
The entire world, your powerful work amazed,
All your prophecies were fulfilled,
With soul and body, you were alive and whole,
That is why death did not have any part in you.
Both in soul and body, fiery prophet
Glory to you! We exclaim with a joyful soul.
The Prologue of Ochrid, by St. Nikolai Velimirovtch