July 21, 2023

Homily Two on the Glorious Prophet Elijah (Archimandrite George Kapsanis)

 By Archimandrite George Kapsanis  
(Delivered in 1988)
Many holy men before Christ were adorned with various gifts of the Holy Spirit, as was the Prophet Elijah whom we celebrate today, who, apart from the common characteristics he had with the other holy men of God, also had this special feature: that he was a man who for the ordinances of God, for the commandments of God, for the faith in the true God, made great and heroic struggles. He risked many times in his life and did not rest unless he saw the will of God, the justice and commandments of God and faith in the true God prevail.

The Israelite nation in those years - about five hundred years before Christ - faced a situation similar to the situation we face today.

There was a great influence of foreign peoples, who were idolaters, and the people were being led astray. They abandoned the tradition of their fathers, faith in the true God, for whom they had so many proofs and had seen so many miracles, and from a spirit of pseudo-modernization and modernism, so to speak, they followed the religions and ideologies that came to Israel from the neighboring states.

The Israelites did this, led astray by their rulers. Their rulers, King Ahab and the other officials of the kingdom, wanted to get along with the foreigners, to make alliances with them, to ensure the territorial integrity of the Israelite state. And that's why Ahab didn't take an Israelite wife, but he took a pagan wife, Jezebel. And she was a wicked woman, as seen in the Holy Bible, faithful to idolatry. And when she came to Israel, she came with a plan to use her position, her office, to impose idolatry on the Israelite people and shake them from the faith of the fathers.

Under such conditions the people were led astray and began to build pagan temples, began to forget the God of their fathers. And this the Prophet saw with pain. He watched them anxiously. He saw that if the people turn away from the true God, they will not be blessed. Many troubles await them. And for this reason he rebuked the king, the governors and the people, and demanded the return of all to the God of their fathers.

But they did not listen and the Prophet became more rebuking, more fiery and more threatening. And the Prophet was persecuted. From time to time he fled to the deserts, to save himself from the fury of the rulers. But again the zeal of God made him fearless and undaunted and he would turn back again to rebuke them.

Again they pursued him. Again the Prophet's life was in danger. And the whole life of the Prophet was a persecution and a chase, but also a boldness of the Prophet to rebuke and to want to bring the people back to the God of the fathers.

The first thing in the Prophet's consciousness was God, the Truth, who gave him a very powerful gift of miracles. We have no other man in the Old Testament whose prayer has so much grace with God and works such awesome miracles.

It seems that, because the Prophet was so faithful to God and did not want a compromised religious life, but demanded from himself and his fellow men the perfect religious life, perfection, complete devotion to the true God, that is why God gave him the gift of wonderworking and that is why the prophet of God did such awesome signs.

In the age we live in, the figure of the Prophet Elijah is particularly useful to all of us. We are also in danger today of being carried away by similar currents, like those that the Israelites of that time were carried away.

Let us each try to be uncompromising in our circle, as the Prophet was uncompromising. Unreconciled with sin, unreconciled in faith, and we will have a lot of God's blessing, just as the Prophet Elijah had. And God proved that he was pleased with the struggle of the Prophet Elijah in many ways.

Because even when he was alive He visited him on Mount Horeb, in the cave where the Prophet was in despair, in the form of a gentle breeze, and cooled him, and this was the presence of the living God. But, as you know, he is also the only man and prophet of the Old Testament who was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot.

And he is also one of the two great men of the Old Testament – the other being the Prophet Moses – who appeared at the Transfiguration of the Lord and conversed with Christ during that holy moment of the life of Christ the Savior.

That is why our pious people honor the Prophet Elijah so much. And everywhere there are churches of the Prophet Elijah, and indeed on the tops of the mountains, because the Prophet fled to the inaccessible mountain tops, to be saved from the fury of the persecutors, and there he prayed and there God revealed Himself to him.

With the prayers of the Prophet Elijah, may all of us Orthodox Christians become faithful to the God of our fathers, uncompromising for our faith and for the Christian life and devoted to God until death.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *