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The Double Church of the Prophets

At some distance below the peak of Sinai, there is a double church. The first church that you enter is dedicated to the Prophet Elisha (Ἐλισσαῖος, Elissaios). From there, you step into the smaller church to the right, dedicated to the Prophet Elijah (Ἠλίας, Elias). At the back of this church is the cave where he hid when he came to Mount Horeb. To the left of the double church, there is a walled enclosure.

There was a church at this site even in the fourth century, as we read in Egeria’s Pilgrim Account:

Having then fulfilled all the desire with which we had hastened to ascend, we began our descent from the summit of the mount of God which we had ascended to another mountain joined to it, which is called Horeb, where there is a church. This is that Horeb where was holy Elijah the prophet, when he fled from the face of Ahab the king, and where God spake to him and said: What doest thou here, Elijah? as it is written in the books of the Kings. The cave where holy Elijah lay hid is shown to this day before the door of the church which is there. A stone altar also is shown which holy Elijah raised to make an offering to God; thus the holy men deigned to show us each place. There, too, we made the oblation, with very earnest prayer, and also read the passage from the book of the Kings; for it was our special custom that, when we had arrived at those places which I had desired to visit, the appropriate passage from the book should always be read.

The Pilgrimage of Etheria, edited and translated by M L McClure and C L Feltoe (London: SPCK, 1919), pp. 6-7.

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