Feast of the Prophet Elijah

The Feast of the Prophet Elijah (C) traditionally marks his ascension to heaven on a chariot of fire, and is celebrated in a cave which is identified as his hideout on Mount Carmel. The feast and pilgrimage to the site begin on the eve of July 19 and last until midnight. On July 20th, four successive masses are celebrated in different liturgical styles in the Stella Maris Church. The cave in the Stella Maris Church is the main venue for candle lighting, but the whole area is fast becoming a focal point for pilgrimages and festive gatherings.

The Stella Maris Church is located on the slopes of Mount Carmel across from the Old Lighthouse with a magnificent view of the sea. It can be reached by cable car or on foot. Pilgrims who enter the church will encounter a beautiful structure with very brightly and vividly patterned Italian marble. The dome itself is decorated with colorful paintings depicting episodes from the Old Testament, with the most central and dramatic scene being that of Elijah swept up in a chariot of fire.

The cave situated below the altar, which pilgrims can enter, is "Elijah's Cave," where the Old Testament prophet is believed to have lived. The cave itself also has a small altar. Pilgrimages and ceremonies are held at this cave many times each year. Many little ritual candles burn on the altar above the cave, inviting pilgrims into an atmosphere of contemplation and reflection, as they join in the feast with the community of Saints around the world. 

 

Stella Maris Church