- ● Orthodox/Catholic Remembrance Day: July 20
● Name means: my God is the Lord (Yahweh) (from Hebrew)
● Attributes: driving to heaven in a fiery chariot, angel or raven with bread
● Patron: the planes and airships, the motorists, against thunderstorms and fire, against
fever and smallpox
● Born around 912 B.C. in Thisbe, today el-Istib, 5 km north of ‘Ajlun, Jordan
● Died after 850 B.C. east of Jericho, Palestine
Elijah, a revered Biblical figure and prophet, played a crucial role in the religious history of
ancient Israel. He emerged as a prominent voice during the reign of King Ahab, the ruler of the
northern kingdom, whose rule was marked by religious syncretism and the worship of Baal, a
Canaanite deity. Elijah’s mission was to restore the exclusive worship of Yahweh, the God of
Israel, and to condemn the idolatrous practices that had infiltrated the land.
The accounts of Elijah’s life and ministry are recorded in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the
Hebrew Bible. According to the narrative, Elijah was initially introduced as a mysterious figure
who prophesied a devastating drought that would afflict the land for years. He was then forced to
flee into the wilderness, where he miraculously survived by being fed by ravens and a destitute
widow in the town of Zarephath, located in modern-day Lebanon.
Despite his initial obscurity, Elijah soon became a symbol of resistance against the corrupt reign
of Ahab and his pagan queen, Jezebel. He challenged the prophets of Baal in a dramatic
showdown on Mount Carmel, where he demonstrated the supremacy of Yahweh by calling down
fire from heaven and consuming the altar sacrifices, while the prophets of Baal failed to manifest
their god’s power. After this decisive victory, Elijah ordered the execution of the Baal prophets,
which further enraged Ahab and Jezebel.
Elijah’s legacy continued even after his death, which was marked by a spectacular ascent to
heaven on a fiery chariot. He was revered as one of Israel’s greatest prophets and was often
compared to Moses, the leader who led Israel out of Egypt. His return was anticipated in Jewish
tradition as a harbinger of the Messianic age, and his name is still invoked during the Passover
and circumcision rituals as an intercessor and an emergency helper.
In summary, Elijah’s profound impact on ancient Israel was due to his unwavering commitment
to monotheism and his prophetic zeal in the face of opposition and persecution. His story inspires
people to remain steadfast in their faith and to stand up for what is right, even in the face of