Saint of the Day – 11 September – Saint Elijah Speleota OSBM (863-960) Basilian Monk and Hermit, Spiritual adviser. Born as Elia Bozzetta in 863 in Reggio Calabria, Italy and died on 11 September 960 at the Aulon Monastery in Calabria, Italy of natural causes. Also known as – Elijah Bozzetta, Elijah Espeleota, Elia…
The Roman Martyrology states of him today “In the Monastery of Aulinas in Calabria, Saint Elia, known as the Speleota, a distinguished scholar of the hermit and cenobitic life.”
Elijah was born to the wealthy nobility, the son of Peitro Bozzetta and Leonzia de Leontini. At age 18, to avoid an arranged marriage and answer a call to religious life, Elijah left home to become a pilgrim to Rome.
He became a Basilian Monk at Grottaferrata outside Rome. He returned briefly to Reggio Calabria, whereater he and a fellow Monk named Arsenio, travelled to Patras, Greece for further study.
When Elijah returned to Italy, he withdrew from populated areas to live as a Hermit in a cave near Melicuccà, Italy with two fellow Monks, Cosma and Vitale – the word Speleota is Greek for “inhabitant of caves.”
Word of their wisdom and holiness soon spread and pilgrims regularly visited the caves for spiritual direction and advice.
On 11 September 960, when he was already 97 years old, Elijah died. He was buried in the tomb that he had dug in the cave with his own hands. There, his body remained buried until 2 August 1747 when his bones were discovered., as attested by the public deed drawn up by the notary Fantoni Carmelo. On 12 August of that year, Antonio Germanò, a seriously ill young man from Melicuccà, was instantly cured at the mere sight of the bones of Saint Elijah.