Elisha (or Elisseus) succeeded Elijah, and throughout his life performed similar wonders and miracles. After he watched Elijah’s being accepted into Heaven, Elisha went on to provide wholesome land, food, and water for cities stricken with famine and drought, give God’s aid to Israel in times of war, and relieve the poverty of people in need. He also restored a widow’s son to life and cured a man of leprosy (4 Kgd. 2-8). Many of these miracles opened peoples’ eyes to the true God, and gave them strong faith in Him.
Elisha’s last words foretold of Israel’s victory against Syria, and his body, in its tomb, raised another dead man to life. Altogether, just like Elijah’s, Elisha’s life acted in itself as a prophecy of Jesus’ time on earth.
The icon of Elisha in the dome shows him clothed in a purple-blue robe. This suggests that he has been graced with God’s power and majesty, and is sanctioned to perform God’s miraculous work. Elisha holds his fingers in the same blessing that Elijah gives, which in turn Jesus gives in the Pantocrator icon. He is visually connected to the prophet whose work he took up and the Savior that this work foretold.
Written on Elisha’s scroll are his words of faithfulness to Elijah as the older prophet prepared to enter Heaven: “As the Lord lives and my soul lives I shall not leave thee” (4 Kgd. 2:4). Elisha’s remaining by Elijah as he left the earth expresses the devotion asked of the followers of Christ.
The Prophet Elisha is commemorated on June 14. This icon was painted by Fr. Theodore Koufos.
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