Thursday, November 16, 2017

How A Certain Monk Was Restored From Excommunication After His Death


By John Moschos

(The Spiritual Meadow, Ch. 192)

The Story of a Certain Monk of the Monastery of the Divine Pope Gregory (590-604), How He Was Restored From Excommunication After His Death.

A holy presbyter from Rome called Peter told us a story about the most blessed Gregory, Bishop of that city. During his time of being Pontifex Maximus, he greatly edified a monastery of men by giving them a rule that they should not possess any money, not even a single obolus. Now, one of the brothers of the monastery made a request to his brother living in the world.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Case of Vampirism in the Lives of the Saints?


By John Sanidopoulos

The English author and clergyman Montague Summers published a heavily researched book on vampires in 1928 titled The Vampire, His Kith and Kin. In the second chapter he goes into some detail about the history of excommunication, and the belief of many, especially among simple-minded Orthodox Christians, how this contributes to a curse especially seen after death that results in the folkloric belief in vampirism, where the body of the excommunicated deceased may show signs of foul incorruption and an undead state. The activities of these vampire-like beings, known among the Greeks as vrykolakas, are said to nearly always be harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and "roaming about", through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis) — as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Case of Vampirism in the Lives of the Saints?


By John Sanidopoulos

The English author and clergyman Montague Summers published a heavily researched book on vampires in 1928 titled The Vampire, His Kith and Kin. In the second chapter he goes into some detail about the history of excommunication, and the belief of many, especially among simple-minded Orthodox Christians, how this contributes to a curse especially seen after death that results in the folkloric belief in vampirism, where the body of the excommunicated deceased may show signs of foul incorruption and an undead state. The activities of these vampire-like beings, known among the Greeks as vrykolakas, are said to nearly always be harmful, verging from merely leaving their grave and "roaming about", through engaging in poltergeist-like activity, and up to causing epidemics in the community. Among other things, the creature is believed to knock on the doors of houses and call out the name of the residents. If it gets no reply the first time, it will pass without causing any harm. If someone does answer the door, he or she will die a few days later and become another vrykolakas. For this reason, there is a superstition present in certain Greek villages that one should not answer a door until the second knock. Legends also say that the vrykolakas crushes or suffocates the sleeping by sitting on them, much like a mara or incubus (cf. sleep paralysis) — as does a vampire in Bulgarian folklore.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween as a Mockery of the Devil


By John Sanidopoulos

"The devil was bound by the Lord as a sparrow, that we should mock him. And with him are placed his companions the demons, like serpents and scorpions to be trodden underfoot by us Christians."

- St. Anthony the Great

It has often been said by certain Christians that Halloween is a Satanic holiday, a day of homage to the devil. This is a regrettable notion, since Halloween in fact is the exact opposite. But how did such thinking come to be?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Being a Kind and Generous Representative of Your Household on Halloween


By Lori Clanton

I’ve noticed a Halloween trend. Some families and kids are traveling outside their own neighborhoods to go trick-or-treating. This means that some neighborhoods get more than their share of costumed visitors, and other neighborhoods get just a few. While some have grumbled about this pattern, I propose we embrace this opportunity to do something remarkable on Halloween – reach out in an outpouring of hospitality to both our neighbors and strangers.

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