The Holy Prophet Elisha lived in the ninth century before the Birth of Christ, and was a native of the village of Abelmaum, near Jordan. By the command of the Lord he was called to prophetic service by the holy Prophet Elijah.
When it became time for the Prophet Elijah to be taken up to heaven, he said to Elisha, “Ask what shall I do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha boldly asked for a double portion of the grace of God, “Let there be a double portion of your spirit upon me.” The Prophet Elijah said, “You have asked a hard thing; if you see me when I am taken from you, then so shall it be for you; but if you do not see me, it will not be so” (4 Kings 2:10).
As they went along the way talking, there appeared a fiery chariot and horses and separated them both. Elisha cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” (4 Kings 2:12). Picking up the mantle of his teacher which fell from the sky, Elisha received the power and prophetic gift of Elijah. He spent more than 65 years in prophetic service, under six Israelite kings (from Ahab to Joash). While Elisha lived, he did not tremble before any prince, and no word could overcome him.
The holy prophet worked numerous miracles. He divided the waters of the Jordan, having struck it with the mantle of the Prophet Elijah. He made the waters of a Jericho spring fit for drinking. He saved the armies of the kings of Israel and Judah that stood in an arid wilderness by bringing forth abundant water by his prayer. He delivered a poor widow from death by starvation through a miraculous increase of oil in a vessel. This Shunamite woman showing hospitality to the prophet was gladdened by the birth of a son through his prayer, and when the child died, he was raised back to life by the prophet. The Syrian military-commander Namaan was healed from leprosy but the prophet’s servant Gehazi was afflicted since he disobeyed the prophet and took money from Namaan.
Elisha predicted to the Israelite king Joash the victory over his enemies, and by the power of his prayer he worked many other miracles. The holy Prophet Elisha died in old age at Samaria. A year after his death, a corpse was thrown into the prophet’s grave. As soon as the dead man touched Elisha’s bones, he came to life and stood up (4 Kings 13:20-21). The Prophet Elisha and his teacher, the Prophet Elijah, left no books behind them, since their prophetic preaching was oral.
John of Damascus composed a canon in honor of the Prophet Elisha, and at Constantinople a church was built in his honor.
Roman emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) gave orders to burn the relics of the Prophet Elisha, Obadiah, and John the Forerunner, but the holy relics were preserved by believers, and part of them were transferred to Alexandria.
An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets,
the second forerunner of the coming of Christ,
glorious Elijah sent grace from on high to Elisha,
to dispel diseases and to cleanse lepers.
Therefore, he pours out healings on those who honor him.
You were revealed as a Prophet of God,
when you received from Elijah a double portion of the grace which you deserved.
You were his contemporary, O blessed Elisha,
and together with him you unceasingly pray to Christ God for us all.