Over 127,900 Romanians celebrate their patron saint’s day on Saint Ilie

Bucharest Herald

Over 127.944 Romanians are celebrating today their patron Saint Ilie. Out of the total, 113,932 are men and 14,012 are women, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Administration and Interior.

Considered as one of the most important prophets of the Old Testament, Saint Ilie (Elijah) lived in the times of Ahab, king of the Jews, who ruled the land of Samaria, Israel, for 22 years. During his reign, he even fought his king to defend the teachings of God. Elijah overtly confronted Ahab, who had started to pray at idols, influenced by his wife.

Reprimanding Ahab, Elijah told him: “The living God is the God of Israel, whom I serve; all these years, there will be neither dew, nor rain, only when I’ll say so.” After a prayer to God, Elijah retired on the banks of the Cherith River, leaving draught and famine behind him.

After three years and a half, when it grew convinced that only the God of Israel should be honored, the Jewish people admitted its mistake of praying to Baal and said: “The God of Elijah is the only true God!” Then, Elijah prayed and rain came, the land was reborn and the famine ended.

Prophet Elijah did not die. He was taken to Heavens in a chariot of fire. According to the Bible, Saint Elijah will return on Earth at the end of times, before the second coming of Jesus Christ, to fight the Antichrist.

Romanian tradition considers Saint Prophet Ilie as the protector of crops and attributes thunder and lightning to Saint Ilie, who crosses the sky in his fire chariot, to defend us. He is always in the service of good, opposing evil.