Saint Onuphrius was an Egyptian monk that lived in absolute solitude in the desert for sixty years to purify his soul, feeding on dates and drinking water from a miraculous spring.His skin was parched and sunburned and his very long hair covered his whole body.
Saint Onuphrius is the protector of the city of Palermo. The celebrations in his honor last for one week every year.
The Sicilian girls who want to find a husband and those who have lost something address the following prayer to him:
Santu Nofriu, pilusu-pilusu
Tuttu amabili e amurusu
Pi’ li vostri santi pila
Facitimi sta grazia
Diccà a stasira
Saint Onophrius, hairy, hairy,
Very lovable, and loving.
By your holy hair,
Grant me this favor
By this evening.
Yesterday, I went to Lake Pergusa to do jogging. AfterI finished my workout and was about to open my car, I realized that I had lost the key. It happened while I was doing exercises with the apparatuses by the lakeside. At that moment, I was very worried. Then, I invoked Saint Onuphrius and asked him to make me find my lost key. Miraculously, I found it!
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.