Saturday, May 23, 2020

One of the Best Biographies of St. John of Kronstadt Was Written by a Contemporary of His Who Was an Occultist

The following was written by someone named Nadejda, whom I believe was Madame Nadejda Fadeef, the aunt of Madam H.P. Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society. It was published in the Theosophical magazine she founded called Lucifer in volume 11, September 1892 - February 1893. The author was clearly acquainted with Father John of Kronstadt, and it is known that Madam Blavatsky herself admired Father John and seemed to want to show people that they approved of each other. Nonetheless, this is one of the best biographies written about Father John, and he was still alive at the time when it was published. In 1902, the same magazine published a retrospective of this article and updated information about him, which can be read here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Singing Toy Bear

The following is the testimony of Panagiotis Betses from the village of Kypseli in Zakynthos:

"On Christmas Eve in 1998, I was working late at my bakery. I went home very tired and lay down to sleep. My wife told me to get dressed so we could go to church, because it was the holy day of Christmas. I refused, due to my exhaustion. My wife was upset and she decided also not to go to church.

Suddenly at that moment, a little toy bear from the other room began singing on its own, without there being a clock to set. It shocked us both. We then both immediately got dressed and went to church.

Later when I asked a spiritual father at Mount Athos about this, he told me that the devil was happy that he achieved in preventing us from going to church on such a day, and he demonstrated this happiness by starting the song from the toy bear without anyone having touched it."

Source: From the book Ascetics in the World, vol. 1. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Of the Death of the Old Man Heron, Who Was Deluded by the Devil

By St. John Cassian

(Conferences, 2.5)

And so by the judgment of the blessed Anthony as well as of all others it has been laid down that it is discernment which leads a fearless monk by fixed stages to God, and preserves the virtues mentioned above continually intact, by means of which one may ascend with less weariness to the extreme summit of perfection, and without which even those who toil most willingly cannot reach the heights of perfection. For discernment is the mother of all virtues, as well as their guardian and regulator.

And to support this judgment delivered of old by the blessed Anthony and the other fathers by a modern instance, as we promised to do, remember what you lately saw happen before your very eyes, I mean, how the old man Heron, only a very few days ago was cast down by an illusion of the devil from the heights to the depths, a man whom we remember to have lived for fifty years in this desert and to have preserved a strict continence with special severity, and who aimed at the secrecy of solitude with marvelous fervor beyond all those who dwell here. By what device then or by what method was he deluded by the deceiver after so many labors, and falling by a most grievous downfall struck with profound grief all those who live in this desert? Was it not because, having too little of the virtue of discernment he preferred to be guided by his own judgment rather than to obey the counsels and conference of the brethren and the regulations of the elders?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Holy Martyr Athanasios Who Was a Sorcerer, Converted by Saint George

St. Athanasios the Martyr (Feast Day - April 23)


Athanasios the sorcerer was beheaded,
The ailing soul found a strange medicine.

During the trials of the Holy Great Martyr George, Dadianus the governor wrote a letter in which he thus said, "I write to the whole world, greetings. Let any sorcerer or magician who can put an end to the magic of this Christian come here to me, and I will give him much wealth and any territory that he shall ask for, and he shall be second in the kingdom."Saint George had miraculously emerged unharmed from his tortures by divine grace, and because of his miracles the stubborn pagans believed he was a magician, and only another magician could defeat him.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Saints Raphael, Nicholas and Irene and the Exorcism of Theodora in the Year 2000

By Athena Peglidou
Department of History, Archaeology, and Social Anthropology, 
University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

During the winter of 2000, Theodora, thirty-eight, a housewife and mother of a thirteen year-old daughter, having undergone psychiatric observation for four years, and been diagnosed as suffering from depression, finally decided to have herself exorcized. It was her confessor, whom she had consulted for five years, who suggested it. During her treatment — it was a difficult case — the priest contacted the abbess of the Saint Raphaël convent on Mytilene, an important center of pilgrimage, in order to ask her to pray for Theodora. The abbess soon came to the conclusion that the convent’s three saints (Saint Raphael, Saint Nicholas, and Saint Irene) could help to cure her soul. The personal diary kept by Theodora, to which she gave me access, was a particularly interesting document as far as following the conflict between the different treatments as she experienced them was concerned. Her husband, Giorgos, always accompanied her to the Mytilene convent.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Power of the Cross Against Demons and Magic (St. Athanasius the Great)

By St. Athanasius the Great

(Excerpts from On the Incarnation)

- "Since the Savior has come among us, idolatry not only has no longer increased, but what there was is diminishing and gradually coming to an end: and not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer advance, but what there is is now fading away: and demons, so far from cheating any more by illusions and prophecies and magic arts, if they so much as dare to make the attempt, are put to shame by the sign of the Cross."

Friday, March 20, 2020

A Warning to Those Who Abstain from Holy Communion for Five Weeks in a Row

St. Makarios the Great of Egypt (Feast Day - January 19)

By Palladius, Bishop of Helenopolis

(Lausiac History, Ch. 17 - Makarios of Egypt)

A certain Egyptian, enamored of a lady married to a husband, and being unable to seduce her, consulted a magician, saying: "Lead her to love me, or contrive that her husband reject her." And the magician having received a sufficient sum, used magic spells and arranged for her to take the form of a horse. The husband having come in and seen her was surprised that a horse lay on his bed. He wept and lamented; he talked to the animal, but received no reply. He called in the priests of the village. He brought them in, showed her to them, but they did not discover what happened.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

How Saint Paul the Simple Overcame a Most Powerful Demon

By Palladius of Helenopolis

(Lausiac History, Ch. 28)

So a year after Paul the Most Simple came to live with him [Anthony the Great] he was highly experienced in a disciplined way of life and was found worthy to battle against the demons and against all kinds of diseases.

One day there was brought to Anthony a young man vexed beyond measure by one of the most powerful and savage demons who railed against heaven itself with curses and blasphemies.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Holy Martyr Theokletos the Sorcerer

St. Theokletos the Martyr (Feast Day - February 26)


Theokletos was called towards divine knowledge,
He glorifies that he is called to be an athlete.
Known prior as Lampadios, he was a servant of magic,
As a martyr of Christ, receive Your Theokletos.
On the twenty-sixth the neck of Theokletos was cut by the bronze.

Commemoration of the Holy Martyr Theokletos on February 26th is mentioned in the Parisian Codex 1578. This seems to refer to the sorcerer Lampadios who tried to poison Saint Photini, and being unsuccessful he was in turn baptized with the name Theokletos. Archimandrite John Demetriados of Katounakia composed a Divine Office in his honor (here).

Monday, February 17, 2020

Saint Auxibios and the Forty Demon Possessed Men

After the death of Saint Auxibios (Feb. 17), Bishop of Soli in Cyprus, many miracles began to take place at his grave. Word of these extraordinary events reached Paphos, southwest of Soli. Forty men gathered together from Paphos. All forty of these men were troubled and possessed by unclean spirits. As a group they traveled to Soli in search of being cured.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Saint Ioannikios as a 19th Century Russian Exorcist

The feeling of compassion for the sick and the suffering was especially strong in Father Ioannikios (+ 1882, Feb. 10), Father Confessor of the Dormition Holy Mountain Hermitage in the Kharkhov Province. Very many pilgrims came to Holy Mountain Monastery from everywhere in the summertime. People from all walks of life, from peasants to those who were educated; and many of these were afflicted or possessed, and were brought to the monastery by relatives in the hope of a cure from the wonderworking icon of Saint Nicholas. He saw the suffering of these unfortunates, who often screamed loudly with tumultuous voices, or went into convulsions, especially in church during the Divine Liturgy. Knowing that prayers of exorcism are to be read in such cases, Saint Ioannikios was motivated by faith, and he began to pray in this manner over the possessed, anointing them with holy oil in the name of the Lord.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Saint Nikita the Solitary, Who Had Been Seduced By the Devil and Thereby Became Famous as a Prophet

St. Nikita of the Kiev Caves, Bishop of Novgorod (Feast Day - January 31)

(Paterikon of the Kiev Caves Lavra, 25)

While the venerable Nikon was superior [of the Kiev Caves Lavra], there was a brother named Nikita. He wished to be honored by men and conceived a great deed, but not for God’s sake: he began to ask the superior to allow him to withdraw into solitude. The superior forbade him to do so, saying, “My son, it is not profitable for you to sit idle, since you are young. It is better for you to stay among the brethren and work for them. You will not risk losing your reward. You yourself have seen how our brother the holy Isaac the Cave-Dweller was seduced by demons. Had he not been saved by God’s grace, through the prayers of the venerable fathers Anthony and Theodosius, who to this day work many miracles, he would have been lost.” Nikita said, “I will certainly not be seduced by such a trick. I will ask the Lord God to grant me the gift of working miracles.” Nikon answered, “What you are asking is beyond your powers. Take care, brother, lest you exalt yourself and then have a fall. Our humility orders you to serve the holy brotherhood, for whose sake you will be crowned as a reward for your obedience.” Nikita remained unmoved by the superior’s words and did exactly what he wanted: he shut the door behind him and remained in the cave without going out.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Tale of Saint Natalis and the Ossory Werewolves

Saint Natalis of Ulster (also called Naile) died in 564 A.D. He was a monk, abbot of monasteries in northern Ireland and disciple of Saint Columba. According to legend, Saint Natalis placed a curse on a clan which transformed their members into werewolves. Here is the tale:

The Tale

An unnamed priest was traveling from Ulster to Meath on an important mission with his assistant, a young boy. The two stopped for the night near woods at the edge of the See of Ossory. As they lay down to sleep, the priest hears a human voice calling from the nearby forest. He gets up and looking out into the darkness he sees a giant wolf draw near. The priest and boy draw back in horror, but the wolf speaks in a human voice and tells them not to be afraid.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Testimony of How a Demon Possessed Monk Was Healed at the Tomb of St. Euthymios the Great

Life of Euthymios

Ch. 50

By Cyril of Scythopolis

In this same period a monk called Paul, who came from the village of Tomessus in the first province of Cilicia, and who was grievously troubled by an impure spirit, was brought along from the monastery of Abba Martyrius and placed in the burial vault by the tomb of our holy father Euthymios. After a few days Euthymios appeared to him in the middle of the night and expelled the impure spirit. Going to the church at the hour of the night office, Paul made confession to God in the presence of all, announcing the miracle that had happened to him. Hearing of his cure, the members of his own cenobium came to fetch him; he, however, did not consent, but with eagerness joined in the labors of the cenobium. Once, when we were outside in the desert to collect faggots, we asked Paul about the nature and cause of his complaint and how he had been cured. Deriving confidence from his frank love for us, he gave us the following account:

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Church of Saint Anthony the Great in Melnik, Bulgaria - Popularly Known as the Church of Miracles

They call it the Church of Miracles because it helps those who have lost hope find healing. The church was built in memory of St. Anthony the Great in the small Bulgarian town of Melnik, more famous for its natural surroundings and fine wine than its churches. Yet thousands of pilgrims flock here every year from all over the world, the sick and the healthy, to visit the famed Church of Miracles.

Реорlе ѕееkіng ѕаlvаtіоn frоm еvіl dеmоnѕ аnd vаrіоuѕ аddісtіоnѕ, ѕuсh аѕ аlсоhоl аnd drug аddісtіоn, vіѕіt Меlnіk tо ѕееk hеаlіng from Ѕt. Аnthоnу thе Grеаt.

Тhе еldеrlу оf Меlnіk саn tеll аt lеаѕt а fеw ѕtоrіеѕ оf реорlе whо hаvе lеft healed аftеr hаvіng ѕlерt іn the сhurсh оr рrауеd fеrvеntlу fоr Ѕt. Аnthоnу tо gіvе thеm hеаlth аnd hеаlіng. He especially helps those who suffer from mental illness and demon possession. In the church is a column with heavy chains attached, which is where the unruly possessed would be tied overnight to receive healing, usually attained by morning.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Holy Water and the Magical Potion

By Manolis Melinos

A priest in Russia, after the Sanctification of the Waters on Theophany, was filling bottles of Holy Water for his parishioners. A middle-aged lady approached him and gave him a beautiful bottle. However, as soon as he put Holy Water in it, the bottle shattered!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Why Orthodox Churches Sanctify Water at the Beginning of Each Month

It is a tradition mostly in Greek Orthodox churches to begin the month with the Lesser Sanctification of the Waters ceremony on the first of the month. This Holy Water is then taken by the priest and the people to be consumed and to bless the homes of the faithful. It is believed the origin of this practice can be traced to Canon 65 of the Synod in Trullo which took place in 692 in Constantinople. Canon 65 reads:

Monday, January 6, 2020

Two Early Christian Testimonies of the Use of Holy Water in an Exorcism

The first recorded testimony of the use of Holy Water in an exorcism can be found in the Panarion of Saint Epiphanios of Salamis, in his chapter on the Ebionites, where he writes about a Jewish man named Josephus in Tiberias, whom the Lord was calling through visions to be a Christian, but who at the same time was reluctant to convert due to doubts. At one point he encounters a possessed madman, and this is what Epiphanios writes: