The church of Sant’Elia, together with an adjoining friary of Basilian monks, was originally built in 884 by the monk Elia of Enna, also known as Elia lo Juniore, revered as a saint by both the Catholic and the Orthodox Church. It has been repeatedly destroyed over the centuries by earthquakes and, more recently, by bombings during World War II. Legend has it that once, while Saint Elia sat in solitary meditation in front of the church, a dark-faced man carrying a large sack on his shoulders suddenly appeared. The man, who was actually the devil, opened the sack to show the Saint the coins it contained and suggested they shared the treasure. Saint Elia’s response was to throw the coins down the mountain and the devil, mad with rage, stood up spreading two large black bat wings and flew away, leaving his nail prints on a rock not far from the church.
The church of Sant’Elia is an amazing place, unique in the world, where history, faith and myth have coexisted for centuries with an unparalleled landscape.
Edited by SCOPELLITI 1887