Twelfth-century Greek theologian frequently confused with Elias, the Metropolitan of Crete, author of scholia on the Homilies of Gregory Nazianzus and John Climacus, and with Elias of Charan. He is probably identical with the hymn writer Elias the monk. Elias Ekdikos is noted for a florilegium, or ascetic collection, called the Didactic Anthologion, written under the influence of the great theologian Simon the Younger (11th and 12th centuries). Elias presents a fully developed Byzantine doctrine of the striving of man toward the attainment of perfection. Employing as a metaphor the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, he postulates three steps leading toward this achievement: the exodus of the Hebrew people from Egypt as the cleansing of the body; the crossing of the Red Sea as the cleansing of the soul; and the crossing of the desert as the final purification of the spirit, through which man finds perfection in the promised land. Elias wrote also spiritual poetry of which one canon has been published.
Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 90:1401–61; 127:1127–76. k. baus, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 3:812. h. g. beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich, 588. v. grumel, Catholicisme 4:16. m. disdier, Échos d'Orient 31 (1932) 17–43, 144–164.