Juan de Villanueva
The Prophet Elijah

Cathedral of St. Savior, Oviedo, Spain

This statue is at the summit of the retable of Teresa of Ávila, in the south transept of the cathedral. The central register of the retable features the three most notable Carmelite saints – Peter of Alcantará, John of the Cross, and Teresa herself. (See below.) The Carmelites had a tradition that their order began when Elijah, who had spent part of his life on Mount Carmel, ordained his successor Elisha by "cast[ing] his mantle upon him" (1 Kings 19;19-21).

The fiery sword in Elijah's hand refers to the episode in 1 Kings 18: He proves God's superiority to Baal by challenging the priests of that god to build a sacrificial pyre with a bullock on top and beg Baal to set it on fire. They fail, of course. Then Elijah prepares his own pyre, has it doused with twelve pails of water, and asks God to set it afire. Of course, he does.

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Photographed at the cathedral by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.