The Stella Maris Church is a stunning building with white marble inside walls that are so dazzling and strategically positioned that some onlookers mistakenly believe the walls are painted. The Maltese Carmelite Luigi Poggi (1924–1928) adorned the dome with scenes from the Bible, with Elijah’s ascent to heaven in a fiery chariot standing out as the most notable.
The local Christians have fervent adoration for the figure of the Virgin Mary that is situated in the middle of the main altar and is supported by a pedestal made from a Lebanon cedar. The cave where Elijah allegedly spent some time may be found beneath the altar, according to the Old Testament.
The stunningly painted ceiling and dome within the church feature images of the Holy Family with the four evangelists below, Elijah and the chariot of fire in which he is claimed to have risen to heaven, King David with his harp, the saints of the order, and the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, and David.
A pyramid with a wrought-iron cross on top stands as a monument commemorating 200 sick and injured French soldiers who were treated here and were killed by the Ottomans after Napoleon came to Paris in 1799 on the route leading to the church door.
The monastery is reachable by bus 115 from Hadar and Haifa-Hof HaCarmel as well as by cable car from Bat Galim’s coastal promenade.
Like the Old Testament prophet Elijah, St. Berthold gathered a band of solitary people to surround him in the Mount Carmel caves. The Hermit Brothers of St. Mary of Mount Carmel were a tiny hermitage that rose to fame. The community received a command from St. Albert of Jerusalem in 1206. Some members relocated to Europe and started new, smaller groups there.
In 1291, the Saracens massacred those who were still in the Holy Land. The Carmelites eventually went back to Mount Carmel in 1631 and started building the Stella Maris Monastery there. It was finished in the 18th century and constructed with thick walls and restricted window openings to deter criminals while it was being built.
Amazing architecture and exquisite Italian marble may be seen within Stella Maris Church. Above the altar is a porcelain figure of Mary, known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the walls are decorated with a picture depicting Elijah’s ascent to heaven in the flaming chariot.
On Mount Carmel, people have lived in caverns for a very long time. It is also said that the prophet Elijah from the Old Testament periodically resided in one of these grottos.