This is a marvelous 13th century icon of the holy Prophet Elias (Elijah) from St. Catherine’s Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai. The Holy Prophet is standing with his arms upraised in prayer and supplication while a raven, sent by God, is flying towards him carrying bread to feed the prophet in the wilderness in a cave in the wadi halfway from Jerusalem to Jericho. This cave is now a chapel in the Monastery of St. George Chozebites, and the hole where the raven flew in is still visible.
The Holy Prophet Elias lived in the ninth century before Christ and had a fiery ministry before the Lord. He was called to correct King Ahab and his pagan wife Jezebel, who had defiled the Kingdom of Israel by the pollution of the worship of the idol Ba’al, and by listening to the false prophets of this false god. The more complete story of the Prophet Elias is found in I Kings, chapters 18 through 22. This icon shows a remarkable dynamic livelihood in the asymmetrical form which is still balanced in the position of the feet, hips, shoulders, hands and head. His eyes are looking inward and Godward. This is truly great Byzantine iconography.