Monday, July 20, 2009

20 July -- St Elias the Prophet

Elias the Prophet is at least the inspiration of the Carmelite Order and in the stories popular in the middle ages he was well and truly the founder, the Dux et Pater of the Order. And today is his feast in the Carmelite calendar. He is also honoured today in many of the calendars of the Eastern Church. You can find him in several places in the Old Testament, principally the books of Kings.

Here is an English version of the hymn for first vespers:

The lofty peaks of Carmel
With tuneful praises ring,
The anthems of Elias
'Tis our delight to sing.

The glory of our Order,
Our leader, prop, and stay,
From east to west his offspring
Increaseth day by day.

When sorely pressed with famine,
A raven served him bread,
With meal and cruse unfailing,
The widowed hearth was fed.

The boy from death delivered
Is to his home restored,
And light so much desired,
In radiant flood is poured.

Behold the Heaven closeth,
To open at his voice,
And copious welcome showers
The thirsty lands rejoice.

To Father, Son, and Spirit,
Be equal power and praise,
All glory and dominion
Henceforth for endless days.

His collect:

Almighty God, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who believe that the Blessed Elias, Thy Prophet and our Father, hath been, in a wonderful manner, taken up in a fiery chariot, may, through his mediation, be borne upwards to Heaven, and that we may rejoice in the companionship of Thy saints. Through our Lord. Amen.

[from "The Saints of Carmel" (1896)]