The Significance of the Prophet Elijah Icons

The Prophet Elijah is indeed one of the most beloved and venerated saints in the Christian tradition. The Prophet is known for his righteous life and various miracles and deeds he performed to reveal God’s power and will. The scenes from the Old Testament, dominated by the figure of the saint, are depicted in many religious icons enriched by a range of symbols that have an essential meaning in the religious world.

The Prophet Elijah in the Wilderness

The Prophet Elijah lived and preached at King Ahab’s royal court when the cult of the Phoenician gods — the thunderer Baal and the love goddess Astarte — was spreading. Queen Jezebel gathered court priesthood, and Elijah was threatened with punishment for his sermons and desire to open people’s eyes. Eventually, the saint had to flee the city and settle in a cave at Mount Horeb. According to the legend, the Prophet managed to survive thanks to the crow that brought him food.

Throughout his life, the Prophet Elijah demonstrated the power of faith, overcoming the persecution of the whole kingdom. The Lord helped him perform amazing miracles that forced the lost folk to believe in the true God. According to the legend, Elijah ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire.

A man with long hair, thick beard, woolen cloak on shoulders, and sometimes with a hat on his head and a scroll in his hand, is a common image used in the old days to depict all the Old Testament prophets, including the Prophet Elijah. In the religious icons that show him alone, the Prophet is wearing a long cloak that is considered an attribute of a traveler. Elijah may also hold a scroll that is a sign of his sermon.

The two most popular icons depicting the biblical scenes are the Prophet Elijah in the Wilderness and the Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah.

The Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah

All icons of the Prophet Elijah not only allow learning about the life of the Prophet but also encourage the believers to strengthen and reveal the power of faith, as it was done by Elijah himself.

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