Even saints can be forgotten by their own fellow citizens. This happened just in Enna, the birthplace of Saint Elijah of Enna, also called Saint Elijah the Younger, to distinguish him from the prophet Elijah. He was born in Enna around 823 when the city was a Byzantine fortress. His baptismal name was Giovanni. When the Arabs occupied Sicily, they took Giovanni prisoner and sold him as a slave in Africa. After Giovanni had been set free, he started preaching the Gospel and arrived in Palestine where he became a monk and received the new name of Elijah. He was a great traveler and a wise man. He traveled to Egypt, Persia, Rome, Greece, Sinai peninsula, and so on to spread the Gospel. He founded a monastery in Seminara, Calabria, an Italian region near Sicily, where his body now rests. The fame of Saint Elijah’s wisdom and holiness spread throughout the world, so much so that the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire Leo the philosopher invited him to stay in his court. Saint Elijah set off for Byzantium but died on the journey.
This saint is revered by both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, for the Eastern Schism had not begun at the time of Saint Elijah the Younger. At the time, there was only one universal church of Jesus Christ. The feast in honor of Saint Elijah of Enna is celebrate every year on August 17.
Strangely, this great saint is unknown in his hometown. No one in Enna had never heard of Saint Elijah the Younger until a historian wrote a book about him. I, too learned about him after attending a lecture on the Middle Ages at the Ennaion library in Enna.
Ettore Grillo author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind