ELIAS OF SAMHUD, SAINT

a sixth-century (?) monk whose birth was foretold by an angel (feastday: 13 ). His Christian parents, who lived in the , held a monthly agape (meal) for the poor as well as widows and , and were reportedly visited by the prophets Elijah (Elias) and Elisha. Despite their , his parents remained a long time without children. At last, God sent the archangel MICHAEL to them, in the semblance of a monk, to announce to them the birth of a son, whom they were to call Elias and in whom the spirit of the prophet Elias would dwell. Shortly afterward his mother conceived, and after nine months gave birth to a boy. When he grew up, the child was the target of jealousy from his fellow pupils because of his success. Some of his fellows stole a gold necklet from one of the children and hid it under Elias’ bed. When accused, he protested his innocence in vain. After class, one of the pupils was bitten by a serpent and died, but Elias restored him to life, which caused his holiness to shine forth in the eyes of his teacher and the other pupils.

Later he desired to become a monk, and joined a who enjoined him to go into the monastery of Saint . He went to , where he received the monastic habit. After dissensions arose there he left for (west bank at Luxor), where he stayed for two years, then lived at Banhadab (west bank opposite ) for some time. Finally, he went to (), where an angel commanded him to go to , north of .

The text of the recension of the , which is the sole source, has unfortunately lost its ending, and consequently the rest of his life remains unknown; but since the beginning of the notice indicates that he died “in the mountain of Samhud,” it is probable that he settled in that region. , like J. (1943, p. 226, n. 3), did not see that the continuation of the text after the lacuna is part of the life of the Syrian saints Banham and Sara, and that the “monastery of the vault” mentioned there is not in Egypt but in Iraq, in the neighborhood of Mosul (Coquin, 1978, p. 360).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Coquin, R.-G. “Le synaxaire des Coptes.” 96 (1978):351-65.
  • Doresse, J. “Elie de Samhud.” Dictionnaire d’histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, Vol. 15, cols. 196-97.
  • Muyser, J. “Ermite Pérégrinant et Pèlerin infatigable.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 9 (1943):159-236.

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