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June 14 Saints of the Day – Elisha the Prophet and Methodius of Constantinople

On this date in 1947, an unidentified flying object (supposedly) crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico. Nobody knows what the (supposed) aliens looked like, but that sure hasn’t stopped the manufacturers of t-shirts and coffee mugs and key ring fobs.

Elisha the ProphetElisha the Prophet (IX-VIII cent. BC(E)) succeeded Elijah, whom he served faithfully until a certain incident with a fiery chariot and a whirlwind. After that he was recognized by the Sons of the Prophets (a fraternal organization with many local chapters) as the number one prophet in Israel. He proclaimed the word of God to those in power, and performed many wonders, most of which helped people, except one with bears which we won’t go into. You can read more about him in the Second (or Fourth, depending on your nihil obstat) Book of Kings. Here are two.

A rich lady in Shunem built a room atop her house for Elisha and his servant Gehazi to stay in when they passed through town. (It had a table and a lamp, but alas, no wifi.) She refused to take anything in return, but when Gehazi mentioned she was barren, Elisha got her pregnant. Or rather, her husband got her pregnant, through Elisha’s prayers. Years later, the boy had a sudden pain in his head (not from listening to Justin Bieber on his iPod; those hadn’t been invented yet), and within hours, he was dead. The Shunammite woman got on her ass (if you’ll excuse the expression) and rode off to seek Elisha. “Did I ask you for a son?” she said in her best Rhoda Morganstern accent. Elisha followed her home. Once there, he warmed the child with his own body, walked once around the house, warmed him some more, and behold! the boy sneezed seven times and sat up. Why seven times? Why did he walk around the house? Your Bible commentary’s guess is as good as mine’s.

When Naaman the Syrian general got leprosy, his Israelite slave girl said, “There’s a prophet in Samaria who can fix that” (she had seen Elisha’s ads in the Daily Cuneiform). Naaman sought Elisha, who told him to go dip in the Jordan seven (!) times. Naaman, clearly not the sharpest sword in the armory, refused, saying, “Bah, this is a stupid river. I’ll go dip in one of ours.” His servant, clearly underpaid, said, “If he’d told you to do something difficult like touch your tongue to the top of your head, you’d have done it. Surely you can swim in his stupid river?” Naaman saw the sense of this, did it, and was healed. He attempted to give Elisha remuneration, but he (perhaps with precedent in mind) refused. In the end he let Naaman take some Israelite dirt back to Syria, to sacrifice to the LORD on it. Thus there is a corner of some Syrian field that is forever Israel.

Methodius of ConstantinopleMethodius of Constantinople (ca. 788 – 847) was born in Syracuse (Sicily, not NY) and moved to Constantinople, hoping to become a government functionary. He got diverted into a monastery, however, and ended up becoming abbot. Somewhere in there, Leo the Armenian became emperor, and started the whole iconoclasm thing going again. When the Patriarch was replaced with an iconoclast, Methodius sailed off to Rome to inform the Pope (the mails were so unreliable you had to hand-deliver anything really important). When Leo was replaced by his murderer Michael II, Methodius sailed back to the capital with a letter from the Pope saying, “Restore the icons.” It didn’t work, and he was tossed in prison for seven years, to be released just as Michael’s son Theophilus ascended the throne. He was a worse iconoclast than his dad, though, and tossed Methodius right back into prison (after a little torture). He escaped, however, and went into hiding. When Theo died, his wife, Theodora the Restora, became regent, and she restored the icons, as commemorated in the Christian East on the first Sunday of Lent, “The Sunday of Orthodoxy.” The iconoclast patriarch was deposed, and replaced with Methodius, who surely deserved it.


Copyright © 2013 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.


Bibliography
June 14 (Wikipedia)
Roswell UFO incident (Wikipedia)
The Bible (There are many fine online Bible resources. My favorite is Bible Gateway) – Main source.
Prophet Elisha (OCA)
Elisha (Wikipedia)
Methodius I (Catholic Encyclopedia) – Main source
Methodios I of Constantinople (Wikipedia)

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About Your Intrepid Blogger

I live in the Tacoma area. When not writing things some people think are funny, I teach technology to 7th and 8th graders at a local middle school.

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