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The Holy Prophet Elijah - one of the greatest prophets and the first virgin of the Old Testament - was born in Fesvia Gilead, in the tribe of Levi, 900 years before the Incarnation of the God of the Word.
St. Epiphany of Cyprus reports the birth of the prophet Elijah: "When Elijah was born, his father, Sobach saw in a vision that the good men greeted him, swaddled him with fire and nourished him with a fiery flame." Given the baby, the name Elijah (the "fortress of the Lord") determined his entire life. From a young age he devoted himself to the One God, settled in the desert and spent his life in strict fasting, Bogomysliya and prayer. Called to prophetic ministry under the Israeli king Ahab, the prophet became a fiery adherent of true faith and piety. At that time the people of Israel fell away from the faith of their fathers, left the One God and worshiped pagan idols, the veneration of which was introduced by the wicked King Jeroboam. Especially supported by the idolatry of the wife of King Ahab, the pagan Jezebel. The worship of the idol of Baal led the Israelites to complete moral decay. Seeing the death of his people, the prophet Elijah began to convict King Ahab of wickedness, persuading him to repent and turn to the True God.
The king did not listen to him. Then the prophet Elijah declared to him that for a period of three years there would be no rain or dew on earth, and the drought would cease only by his prayer. And indeed, according to the prayer of the prophet the heaven was concluded, there was a drought and famine all over the earth. The people suffered from unbearable heat and hunger. The Lord, in His mercy seeing the suffering of people, was ready to spare all and send rain to the ground, but did not want to break the words of the prophet Elijah, who was burning with the desire to turn the hearts of the Israelites to repentance and return them to true worship. Keeping the prophet Elijah at the hands of Jezebel, the Lord sent him into a secret place at the time of the flood of Horah during the calamity.
When the stream of Choraf dried, the Lord sent the prophet Elijah to Zarephatha of Sidon to the poor widow, who suffered with the children in anticipation of starvation. At the request of the prophet, she prepared for him a freshly ground desal from the last handful of flour and the rest of the oil. Then, according to the prayer of the prophet Elijah, the flour and oil has not been exhausted in the widow's house since the famine. Through the power of his prayer the great prophet created another miracle - he resurrected the dead son of this widow.
After three years of drought, the Merciful Lord sent a prophet to King Ahab to end the disaster. The prophet Elijah ordered all Israel and the priests of Baal to be gathered to Mount Carmel. When the people gathered, the prophet Elijah proposed to build two altars: one from the priests of Baal, the other from the prophet Elijah to serve the True God. "To which of them the fire from heaven will fall, that will be the indication, whose God is true," said the prophet Elijah, "and all will have to worship Him, and those who do not acknowledge Him will be put to death." The prophets of Baal began the sacrifice first: they cried to the idol from morning till night, but in vain - the sky was silent. In the evening the holy prophet Elijah erected his altar of 12 stones, according to the number of the tribes of Israel, placed the sacrifice on wood, ordered a ditch around the altar, and ordered the water and the victim to be watered. When the ditch was filled with water, a fiery prophet addressed God with a burning prayer and petition that the Lord sent down fire from heaven to bring up the mistaken and hardened Israeli people and turn their hearts to Himself. According to the prophet's prayer, fire came down from heaven and fell victim, wood, stones and even water. The people fell to the ground, crying: "Truly the Lord is, God is One and there is no other God but He!" Then the prophet Elijah killed all the priests of Baal and prayed for the rain. By his prayer, the sky opened, and a heavy rain fell, watering the thirsty earth.
For his fervent zeal for the Glory of God, the prophet Elijah was taken to Heaven alive in a chariot of fire. The prophet Elisha witnessed the ascent of the prophet Elijah to heaven in a fiery chariot and received with the fallen mantle (cloak) the gift of the prophetic spirit twice as great as the prophet Elijah had.
According to the legend of the Holy Church, the prophet Elijah will be the Forerunner of the Dreadful Second Coming of Christ to earth, and during the preaching he will accept bodily death.
Since the day of the fiery ascension of the prophet Elijah to Heaven, his veneration in the Church of Christ has never been interrupted. The Russian Orthodox Church piously honors the prophet Elijah. The first church, built in Kiev under Prince Igor, was in the name of the prophet Elijah. After the Epiphany, the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Princess Olga (commemorated on July 11) built the temple of the prophet Elijah in her native land, in the village of Vybuty.
In the people it is also called a "thunderer". It is believed that on this day must necessarily rain with thunder. But another belief is repeated from year to year. People say: "Peter and Paul - one hour later, Ilya the Prophet - two fired." The day gets shorter and the night is longer.