The Prophet Elijah is one of the Old Testament prophets who lived in the first half of the 1X century B.C.The events of the Prophet’s life are described in the Third and Fourth Books of the Kings. (3 Book 17:1-19; 18; 21: 17-28; 4 Book 1: 3-17; 2: 1-18).The name of the prophet is translated as “God is My Lord”, which expresses the main idea of Elijah’s mission, who was zealously advocating the worship of the one God and proving His power with his deeds.
Elijah was born in Fesva city of Transjordan (Fesva city dweller of the people of Galaad), wore horsehair clothes with a leather belt.His prophetic service was in the Kingdom of Israel at the time of the rule of the Kings Ahab (874-853) and Ahaziah (853-852) who belonged to the Omri dynasty when in the northern kingdom the cult of Baal was spreading widely.
The end of the Terrestrial Life of the prophet was his fiery ascent in a chariot (4King. 2: 1-11). Together with Elisha he went to the Jordan which they crossed after Elijah had struck the water with his clothes and made the river give way.Elisha.as the other “prophets’ sons”, knew in advance that Elijah would be taken to the Heaven (4King. 2: 3).He asked Elijah to endow him with his prophetic power and even double power. Elijah gave the promise on condition that he witnessed his ascent.Elisha saw the fiery chariot take away his teacher,picked up his fallen clothes and inherited his prophetic power. (4King. 2: 12-15).
The earliest depiction of the prophet Elijah in the Christian art is given in the iconography “The Ascent of the Prophet Elijah or the Fiery Ascent” which is in the chapel of St.Akuilino of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore in Milan (about 370). Due to poor condition of the composition there were different opinions as to its identity.The figure of the prophet is not preserved.E.S.Smirnova suggested that the numerous icons with the scene “the Fiery Ascent” should be divided into two categories: frontal, when the horses are depicted on both sides of the chariot, and profile- when the chariot is turned sideways and the horses are depicted on one side.Elijah holds the reins with one hand and with the other hand he throws out his mantle, a blessing hand is seen from the heaven segment. Among the earlier icons of the first type are the Sinai icon “The Ascent of the prophet Elijah” and the Novgorod icon (the second half of the XШ century, collection of the bank “Intesa”,Italy.), and the icons of the second type are –the icon of the Cyprus church Panagia in the village Ayos-Theodoros-Agru (the first half of the XШ century, the Byzantine museum of the Cultural Centre named after Archbishop Macarius Ш, Nicosia).
The church honours the memory of the prophet Elijah on the 2ND August (20th July, old style)