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Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Devil Fears the Prayer Rope


In the Skete of Saint Anna, Monk Prokopios had a great desire to learn music in order to praise God with his brothers.

Since his singing was a little out-of-tune, the Holy Fathers avoided to teach him a music lesson.

Brother Prokopios had a divine gift to repeat incessantly the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” while always keeping the prayer rope in his left hand.

One day, he was very sad, unable to find anyone to teach him music. He felt great sorrow thinking about it, and he stopped saying the prayer.

Friday, March 29, 2019

On Seeking Manifestations from the Spirit World


By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Spiritists of our day accept every manifestation from the spiritual world as though sent by God, and immediately they boast that God has been "revealed" to them. I knew an eighty year old monk whom everyone respected as a great spiritual director. To my question: "Have you ever in your life seen anything from the spiritual world?", the monk answered me, "No, never, praise be to God's Mercy." Seeing that I was astonished at this, he said, "I have constantly prayed to God that nothing appear to me, so that, by chance, I would not succumb to pride and receive a fallen devil as an angel. Thus far, God has heard my prayers." This recorded example shows how humble and cautious the elders were. The devil, clothed in the light of an angel, appeared to a certain monk and said to him: "I am the Archangel Gabriel and I am sent to you." To that, the brother responded, "Think! Were you not sent to someone else, for I am not worthy to see an angel?" The devil instantly became invisible and vanished.

From Prologue, March 29.



Tuesday, March 19, 2019

"This Kind Does Not Go Out Except Through Prayer and Fasting" (St. Theophan the Recluse)


By St. Theophan the Recluse

“This kind does not go out except through prayer and fasting.” [Matt. 17:14-23]

If this kind goes out by the prayer and fasting of another person, then it is even less able to enter one who fasts and prays.

What protection!

Although there are a slew of demons and all the air is packed with them, they cannot do anything to one who is protected by prayer and fasting.

Fasting is universal temperance, prayer is universal communication with God; the former defends from the outside, whereas the latter from within directs a fiery weapon against the enemies. The demons can sense a faster and man of prayer from a distance, and they run far away from him so as to avoid a painful blow.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Demoniac Who Journeyed to the Kiev Caves Lavra


Kiev Caves Patericon

Discourse 26

Laurence the Recluse
(Jan. 29)

Some time later another brother named Laurence wished to retire into solitude, but the holy fathers absolutely forbade him to do so. Laurence went to the Monastery of St. Demetrios, founded by Prince Izjaslav, and lived as a recluse there. Because of his austere life, the Lord granted him the gift of healing.

A certain man was brought to him from Kiev, who was possessed by a demon which the solitary was unable to cast out. It was a ferocious demon, like wood, which ten men could scarcely carry, and yet this monk single-handedly took hold of him and bound him. He remained there unhealed a long time, and the solitary ordered him to be taken to the Caves Monastery. Then the demoniac began to cry out, “To whom are you sending me? I dare not approach the cave because of the holy ones buried there. There are only thirty in the monastery whom I fear. I'll fight with the others.” Those who were dragging him along knew that he had never been in the Caves Monastery and knew no one there. They asked him, “Who are those whom you fear?” The demoniac gave the names of all of them. “These thirty,” he said, “will drive me out by a single word.” There were then 180 monks in all. They said to the demoniac, “We are going to shut you in the cave.” The demoniac said, "What is the use of me fighting with dead men? For they can now approach God more boldly on behalf of their monks and pray for those who come to them. But if you want to see me fight, take me to the monastery.” Then he began to speak in Hebrew and Latin and also in Greek, in short in languages which he had never heard, so that those tak­ing him were terrified by his change of languages and diversity of tongues.

Monday, January 28, 2019

A Beneficial Reminder When Touring Boston


In Boston at the Granary Burying Ground outside the nearly 200 year old Park Street Church, one can find the tombstones for Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere and the victims of the Boston Massacre. Some of the graves even date as far back as the 1600s.

The fashion of the day was to decorate gravestones with grisly images of winged skulls, reflecting the Puritan consciousness that life was short and fleeting.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Death of Christ in the Air Cleansed the Atmosphere of Demons (St. Athanasius the Great)


By St. Athanasius the Great

And once more, if the devil, the enemy of our race, having fallen from heaven, wanders about our lower atmosphere, and there bearing rule over his fellow spirits, as his peers in disobedience, not only works illusions by their means in them that are deceived, but tries to hinder them that are going up (and about this the Apostle says: "According to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience" [Eph. 2:2]); while the Lord came to cast down the devil, and clear the air and prepare the way for us up into heaven, as said the Apostle: "Through the veil, that is to say, His flesh" [Heb. 10:20] — and this must needs be by death — well, by what other kind of death could this have come to pass, than by one which took place in the air, I mean the cross? For only he that meets his end on the cross dies in the air. Whence it was quite fitting that the Lord suffered this death. For thus being lifted up He cleared the air of the malignity both of the devil and of demons of all kinds, as He says: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" [Lk. 10:18]; and made a new opening of the way up into heaven as He says once more: "Lift up your gates, O you princes, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors" [Ps. 24:9]. For it was not the Word Himself that needed an opening of the gates, being Lord of all; nor were any of His works closed to their Maker; but we it was that needed it, whom He carried up by His own body. For as He offered it to death on behalf of all, so by it He once more made ready the way up into the heavens.

From On the Incarnation.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Documentary Review: "The Devil and Father Amorth"


In a year of excellent documentaries, 2018 saw the release of one of my personal favorites, The Devil and Father Amorth. It is a simple documentary directed by William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist (1973), showing the ninth exorcism of an Italian woman in the village of Venafro in Italy referred to as "Cristina", performed by renowned Italian exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth.

It is divided into four parts. First, William Friedkin introduces us to himself and how he came to direct The Exorcist, as well as introducing the two main characters of the film: Father Amorth and Cristina. Second, with small camera in hand, Friedkin offers us an uninterrupted glimpse into the real exorcism of Cristina performed by Father Amorth. Third, Friedkin interviews various neurologists and psychiatrists to get their opinion on what he filmed. Lastly, it concludes with the aftermath of the event, such as the death of Father Amorth and the current state of Cristina.

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