historical preview of Saint Elias


Elias (or prophet Elia) is considered as one of the greatest prophets and most important characters of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is defined as the period of time that lies between Abraham Al-Khalil, the father of the fathers, and St John Baptist, who marked the beginning of the new testament when he baptized Jesus Christ and proclaimed him the first time "Son of God".
We submit to our visitors in this rush a brief about that prophet which includes a small biography and a summarized presentation of his works and sayings.
* The official name of Saint Elias in Hebrew is "Eliaho", which means: God is my Lord. The name Elias that we commonly use is, on the other hand, issued from the Greek language, and has been shortened in the holy Bible to "Elia".
* The holy Bible sometimes refers to Saint Elias as the "Tachbian", due to the fact that Tachban, a small town located near Jaloun in the actual north of Jordan, is his birthplace.

*We don't exactly know the year of birth of Saint Elias, but only the period of time he lived in, and that is the first half of the 9th century BC, under the reign of King Eyhab and Queen Isabelle, who we will come to mention later on.






* We also don't know a lot about prophet Elia's childhood, nor about his parents and his family. The holy bible only mentions that he was leading a monk's life in the mountains and the woods, so that all of his time will be completely devoted to God.
* Saint Elias was called "the messenger of God" for he carried a very dangerous message: He was sent by God to restore monotheism in the Hebrew Kingdom and to give back to it's people the faith in the only God that they had replaced with pagonist statues throughout the generations.
* King Ayhab ruled over the Samarian's lands for a period of 22 years between 858 and 835 BC. And the holy Bible mentions that, in the eye of God, this king was the most evil of all for he had married a bohemian woman and instaured a polytheist religion in his Kingdom, forcing his people to worship Baal.
* As for queen Isabelle, she was the daughter of Abtal, the King of Saydoun and a priest for the goddess Ashtarout. At this time, Baal and Ashtarout were the gods of fertility in the Phoenician civilization. And when she married King Ayhab not only did she replace Allah with Baal and Ashatrout as the official Gods but she also began to persecute those who wouldn't prosternate to her statues.
* And here a virile man full of courage and wisdom, Elia, appeared on the scene of events , for God has sent him to warn Ayhab and Isabelle that he will instaure a horrible punishment upon them if they don't return to worshiping the one true God. But instead of listening, the King and Queen started spreading even more evil around.
* So prophet Elia went to see Ayhab and told him: "In the name of the Lord who I stand behind, rain shall no longer fall from the skies unless I command so". Hence the kingdom of Eyhab did not see one single drop of rain for three years and six month, and a great hunger stroke its inhabitants.
* When the hunger spread through the lands God sent St Elias to the city of Sarfant where a poor widow received him. And because this generous woman barely had enough food to eat, Elia said to her: "In the name of the Lord that I stand behind, you shall never run out of food until the day where rain falls again on the surface of the earth."
* This widow had a boy who got severely ill than died. So the agonizing mother begged Saint Elias, who took the boy to the attic and implored God thrice saying: “May the soul of this boy return to his body." And so it was. When the boy opened his eyes the woman looked at Elia and said with tears in her eyes: "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the words of our Lord are in your mouth."
* One day God turned to St Elias and said: " Go and show yourself to Ayhab and i shall bring rain to the earth". And when Ayhab saw Elia he asked him: “Are you Elia the one who disturbed the peace of this kingdom?". So Elia answered: "It is not I who has disturbed the peace, but you and your father by abandoning the commandments of God and walking behind Baal". Than he traveled to the peak of Karmala Mount and prayed for God seven times. Suddenly a small cloud appeared from the horizon and began covering the sky until it began raining.
* And to prove to the people that only God is the true Lord, St Elia assembled all the priests of Baal and Ashtarout with a big crowd of people and placed this challenge: Each one of the two parties will submit an offering for his God. And the God who sends fire from the sky on the altar is the one true Lord creator of this universe.
The priests of Baal kept praying for their god from dawn to fall, but nothing happened. So Elia started making fun of them screaming: “pray in a louder voice maybe he's busy or asleep or maybe even traveling".
Than his turn came so he raised his hand to the sky saying: "Oh Lord let those people know that you are their one true God and that I, your slave and your messenger, accomplished those things". So the flame of God immediately fell from the skies and not only burnt the altar and the wood but also the stone under them.
And when the people saw this miracle they screamed together admitting: "God is our lord! God is our lord!"
* Afterwards Elia talked to the crowd gathered in front of him saying: "Seize all of Baal's prophets, not a single one of them must escape!”. Than he took his prisoners to the Kaychoun River where he slaughtered them all.
* When Isabelle was informed of what Elia has done to her priests she swore in the name of her gods saying: "Tomorrow at this same hour I shall make Elia's breathe disappear like theirs did". So St Elias ran heading south to the Nakeb desert.
* As soon as he arrived there he sat under a wild tree and slept. And here comes the angel of God who wakes him up him saying: "Stand up and eat for you have a long road ahead of you". So Elia stood and ate and walked for forty days and nights, without ever feeling hungry, towards the mountain of God where Moisis received the Ten Commandments.
* Elia entered the cave where Moisis was hiding in the past. And one day violent winds stroke the mountains but God wasn't in the storm. And after the wind an earthquake shook the earth, but God wasn't in the earthquake. After that, fire ate the woods, but God wasn't in the fire. And finally after the fire, came a soft breeze, and with it a voice emerged from nowhere saying: "Why are you here, Elia?”. He answered: "I gave my Lord his revenge on those people who abandoned the one true God and killed all of his prophets, so now I'm by myself, and they want my death."
* So God said to Elia: "Go and return to the lands of Damascus". So he did what God told him to, and on his way there he met Alisha Bin Youshafat who left the cows he was guarding and joined Saint Elias whom slave he became.
* Ayhab had a castle in Yesrael. There, a citizen named Naput owned a vineyard next to the castle. In order to expand his property, Ayhab wished to buy this vineyard, but Naput refused to sell his family's heritage. So Ayhab sunk in deep sorrow. And when Isabelle found out the reason of her husband's grief she accused Naput of cursing the Gods and the kings and assigned fake witnesses so that the poor man was trialed and stoned to death. Than the queen went to Ayhab and told him: "Go and take possession of Naput's land". And when Ayhab went to the vineyard God sent Saint Elias to warn him and announce to him God's horrible punishment because of his merciless actions. He said: “You killed and inherited your victim’s property. Therefore in the exact place where the dogs have licked Naput's blood your blood shall be also licked. As for Isabelle the dogs will eat her flesh at the gates of the city".



* Sometime later, there was a war between Ayhab and the Armenians. Ayhab was hit with an arrow while he was in his carriage so his blood covered the carriage's floor. And when it was washed the dogs licked the blood of the wood.
* Waiting for her husband was Isabelle who was standing on the balcony of the castle. Once they spotted her, the soldiers who killed Ayhab took her and threw her on the floor right outside the city's gates where the horses ran over her killing her and leaving her flesh for the dogs to eat.
* One day Elia took his faithful servant Alisha and walked towards the Jordan’s river. He hit the water with his coat which caused the river to open a free passage for the two men to cross safely. And while they were walking and talking a flaming carriage led by flaming horses separated them, for Elia arose to the skies while his servant was looking at him from the ground. And when St Elias was out of sight Alisha picked the coat of his master and became his successor.


The Above information are the courtesy of Father Alam Elias Alam from his booklet printed on the 29th of April 1994

Translated by Mr. Anthony Paul Khoury





page created and designed by Pierre Antoun Khoury

00961 3 870336

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page created and designed by Pierre Antoun Khoury

00961 3 870336