June 15, 2018

7 Greek Shrines Dedicated to the Prophet Elisha

1. Chapel of the Prophet Elisha in Monastiraki of Plaka

This chapel was built during the Turkish occupation, probably in the 17th century. It is most famously known for being the chapel in which Saint Nicholas Planas liturgized, and was even ordained on March 2, 1884. There vigils were kept by Saint Nicholas beginning in 1885, chanted by the notable literary figures Alexandros Papadiamantis and Alexandros Moraitides. It was here also that the future Metropolitan Nikodemos of Patras first met Saint Nicholas; Metropolitan Nikodemos was responsible for submitting the request to have Saint Nicholas officially canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Papadiamantis died in 1911, but the vigils continued with Moraitides, who composed a Divine Office in honor of the Holy Prophet Elisha and published it in 1925. People would gather in this chapel not only because the liturgist was Saint Nicholas Planas, but they also wanted to hear the two greatest literary figures of Greece sing hymns to God, Moraitides from the left and Papadiamantis from the right.

Read also: Church of the Prophet Elisha in Monasteraki (Where St. Nicholas Planas Liturgized Daily)

2. Church of the Prophet Elisha in Dorio of Messenia

This church was built in 1995 and consecrated in 2012. It was the result of a vow made by Elias Liakopoulos, who having deep faith in God, often went to the Holy Land, and came to know Abbot Gabriel of the Monastery of the Prophet Elisha in Jericho. Abbot Gabriel expressed to Elias his deep desire to have a church to the Prophet Elisha in Greece. Therefore Elias undertook the task and built it in Gouvalaria of Dorio. Unfortunately, by the time the church was consecrated in 2012, Elias had passed away, but members of his family were present.

3. Chapel of the Prophet Elisha in Kranidi of Argolis

This chapel was built in 1867, and a vigil is kept here annually on the feast of the Prophet Elisha, which is June 14th. Because the Prophet Elisha is noted in Scripture as being a healer of leprosy, many lepers would gather here on the feast of the Prophet around 100 years ago seeking to be healed.

It was also believed by the locals that if you worked on the feast of the Prophet, God would punish you and your animals with rabies. This is because in Greek, the name Elisha is Elissaios, which Greeks thought came from the word lyssa, which means rabies. If you got rabies from an animal on the feast of the Saint for working, only the Prophet could heal you.

In Kranidi it was also believed that the Prophet protected you from smallpox. In the olden days, if you had smallpox you were shut in your house and no one was allowed to see you. You were given food through the window of your house. Then you were taken to the Chapel of the Prophet Elisha and locked inside for a short time, being taken care of by relatives. The sick person would then emerge from the church healed.

Many people in the village are named Elisha or some derivative, whom they consider a small saint but with great glory.

4. Church of the Prophet Elisha in Chania of Crete

The Church of the Prophet Elias near the Graves of Venizeli, at Akrotiri, is located in Froudia and is just two kilometers from the city of Chania. Initially, during the Venetian period here was built the shrine of the Prophet Elisha. The smaller south aisle of the church was built, dedicated to the Prophet Elisha. During the 16th century, the larger church of Prophet Elias was added after the construction of an arched opening on the original north wall.

The Church of the Prophet Elias was destroyed in the bombing of the hill in 1897 by the Great Powers and restored at the expense of the Tsar of Russia, who considered that the explosion of a cannon on the Russian flagship was the punishment of the Prophet Elias for the destruction of the temple. At later times, the church was renovated, thereby altering its original form.

5. Church of the Prophet Elisha in Kamenitsa (Alissos) of Achaea

This church was built over an older Post-Byzantine church. Today it celebrates annually on the feast of the Prophet. The village in which it is located is called Profitis Ellissaios, after the Prophet.

6. Church of the Prophet Elisha in Upper Karveli of Kalamata

From Upper Karveli you can climb the summit of Mount Profitis Ellissaios at the Taygetus mountains (there is also a summit here called Mount Profitis Elias), where you will find a church dedicated to the Prophet Elisha, 1,000 meters high. This church dates back to around the 12th century, when a plague struck Messenia causing many deaths. This church was built to protect Kalamata from the plague traveling over the mountains to the surrounding villages, for they believed the Prophet Elisha could thwart away the plague. Here they would come annually, and still do, on Bright Thursday after Easter to celebrate, for this is the day they believe that back in the 12th century they came and prayed for release from the plague, and the plague miraculously vanished. On this day lambs are slaughtered and eaten to celebrate.

7. Chapel of the Prophet Elisha in Evia

This chapel was built by Metropolitan Panteleimon Papageorgiou of Thessaloniki in 1936, when he was the Bishop of Talantiou, and it is located in Evia which is under the Metropolis of Karystia and Skyros. The Prophet Elisha was the patron saint of Metropolitan Panteleimon.