The Commemoration of the Appearance of the Bodies of St . John the Baptist and Elisha theProphet

The Commemoration of the Appearance of the Bodies of St . John the Baptist and Elisha theProphet .

On this day, the church celebrates the appearance of the bodies of St . John the Baptist and Elisha theProphet, the disciple of Elijah the Prophet, in the city of Alexandria .Julian the Infidel wished to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem, having been destroyed by EmperorVespasian and his son Titus . He intended with malice to prove the invalidity of the saying of the Lordin the Holy Gospel: "Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left her upon another, that shall notbe thrown down" (Matthew 24:2) . He supplied the Jewish people with money to rebuild it . He putElebius, who asked the Jews to assist him secretly, in charge .Many of the Jews, men, women, old and young, gathered . They started digging the foundation witheagerness, transferring the dirt and rocks away, some with baskets and the others in the tails of theirdresses . St . Kyrillos (Cyril), bishop of Jerusalem, ridiculed what they were doing .When they finished raising the rocks of the old foundation, they started to put down the new one . Asevere earthquake took place, filled the excavation with dirt, dispersed the building material and killedmany of the workers . The Jews were not terrified of that, and returned to the work again . Out of thedepths of the earth, fiery balls came, showering the workers with rocks and hitting them so theystopped building . Many of them believed because of that and especially because they had fulfilled theprophesy of the Lord Christ, with their hands, about the destruction of the building of the temple fromits foundation .St . Gregory the Theologian and St . John Chrysostom had mentioned this incident . The Jewish historianEmian, in the fifth century, had mentioned this account also incidentally in his writings .Nevertheless, the Jews told the Emperor, "The reason for what happened is the presence of the bodiesof Christian leaders in that place . They must be removed from it, otherwise the temple will not be367built ." Julian ordered that the bodies of the saints be removed from the place and burned . When theytook the bodies of St . John the Baptist and Elisha the Prophet to burn them, some believers cameforward to the soldiers, gave them a sum of silver and took the two bodies . They brought them to St .Athanasius, Pope of Alexandria . He was pleased and placed them in a special place until he could builda church for them .One day St . Athanasius was sitting in the garden with his scribe, the one to be Pope Theophilos (23rdPope) who succeeded him on the Chair, and told him, "If God gives me long days, I will build in thisplace a church in the names of St . John the Baptist and Elisha the Prophet, and I will lay their bodies init ."When Pope Theophilos was enthroned on the Chair of the See of St . Mark, he remembered what PopeAthanasius had told him . He built the church and relocated the pure bodies to it . On their way to thechurch carrying the holy bodies, they passed by a house of a pagan woman . This woman was in laborfor the last four days . She had a difficult labor and she was in severe pain . When she heard the singingand the chanting of the people as they passed by, and when she knew what was happening, she vowed,saying, "O John, the saint of God, if you deliver me from this tribulation, I will become a Christian ."Before she had finished what she was saying, she gave birth to a boy, and she called him John . Then,her family and she were baptized . They laid the bodies with great honor in the church . Many miraclesand wonders were manifested through them .As of the end of Julian the infidel was as follows:He decided to declare a war against Sapor, King of Persia .St . Basilius the Great, the author of the liturgy, and some bishops went to meet him . Emperor Julianasked them, "Why have you come ." St . Basilius replied, "We came asking for a shepherd" He mockedthem saying, "Where did you leave the son of the carpenter?" The Saint answered with courage andpride, "We left him making a coffin for you, for you have lost all wisdom and knowledge ." Julian toldhim, "I have read and memorized it ." St . Basilius replied, "But you did not comprehend it ." Julianbecame angry and ordered them seized, to be slain after his return from the war with Sapor . St . Basiliustold him, "You will not come back, for God has spoken by my mouth ." The Emperor ordered themimprisoned .The Emperor went to the war . St . Basilius prayed before the icon of St . Marcurius Abu-saifain, askingfor the chastisement of the Emperor because he insulted his Lord Christ . St . Marcuriusdisappeared from the icon, and when he returned, his sword was dripping blood .During the war, Julian was shot by an arrow in his liver . Thlodoritius said in his history of the church:"When this infidel Emperor was stabbed, he took a handful of the blood that was pouring out of hisside and scattered it toward the heaven, saying, 'You have defeated me O Son of Mary .'" The prophesyof St . Basilius was fulfilled in him and the church was saved from his evil .368When St . Macarius, Bishop of Edko, was martyred, they placed his body with the bodies of St . Johnthe Baptist and Elisha the Prophet .May their prayers be with us . Amen .