Monday, October 31, 2022

A Critical Examination of One Orthodox Christian Article on Halloween

A few weeks ago the Orthodox website published an article titled "Halloween: The Modern Version of Ancient Celtic Paganism". The article is in Greek (translated in English below; all endnotes numbered in this article are found in the original article) and was published in the ecclesiastical tri-monthly periodical Διάλογος (April-June 2017, issue 88). With the rise in popularity of Halloween in Greece, and all over the world for that matter, the author sought to set the record straight on what exactly Halloween is and what its origins are. Unfortunately, the author did a terrible job and presented a lot of misleading information. This is especially unfortunate that it is published in Orthodox Christian periodicals and is now online on an otherwise very good and beneficial website associated with Vatopaidi Monastery on Mount Athos.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

How Is It That More Than One Demon Can Inhabit a Human Body?

By St. Theophan the Recluse

“My name is Legion, because we are many” (Mark 5:9). Spirits are not corporeal, so they do not fill or occupy places like bodies. This explains the physical possibility of many spirits staying in one person. The possibility of morality on the part of spirits is clear from their immorality or the absence of any moral principles, and from the human side – from the multilateral contact of his spiritual structure to the gloomy realm of impure forces.

But this only explains the possibility; the reality of the possession of demons is subject to conditions that we cannot determine. We can only say that the infestation of spirits is not always visible, it is not always revealed by the known actions of the possessed. There is an infiltration of spirits that is undetectable, hidden; there is also the power of the spirits over the minds, besides the body, when they lead them as they please, through the passions  at work in them; people think that they are all acting on their own, being a laughing stock of evil forces. What to do? Be a true Christian, and no enemy force will defeat you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

On the Monk Who Pretended He Was Demon Possessed (St. Paisios the Athonite)

In the old days there were Fathers who even pretended to be demon possessed, in order to hide their virtue and spoil the good opinion others had of them.

When I was in Philotheou Monastery [1956-1958], which was idiorhythmic at the time, there was a Father who had previously been an ascetic in Vigla.*

He, as soon as he realized that the Fathers there had taken a whiff of his asceticism and his spiritual advancement, left with the blessing of his spiritual father.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Saint Andrew the Fool's Vision of the Demons at Work During Divine Services

When the righteous man had given this advice, they stood up and entered the church. The reading began and Epiphanios sat down on one of the benches, while the blessed man sat down on the floor like one of the poor, his body covered by a cheap rag. When those present noticed him sitting on the floor they wondered, "What happened to this demoniac, since he has come in here?" And some said, "Perhaps for a moment he was relieved from the evil spirit that disturbs his mind." Others said, "He happened to pass by and went in to see as if it were an ordinary house, for how could he know that this is a church? May the Lord punish similarly the one who did this to him!"

Monday, April 18, 2022

Christ the Bridegroom and the Demonic Monster

Metropolitan Athanasios giving confession next to the icon of the Bridegroom

 By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol

I remember something that took place in Cyprus. When I first came to Cyprus from Mount Athos, in the first years, a teacher of transcendental meditation and yoga came to me. As a yoga teacher he was initiated into all these delusions of Satan along with Sophiology and Islam. He was in England, traveled around, and was a student of great gurus and various other delusional teachers of that time.

After a meeting with Elder Sophrony in Essex, his whole being was shaken. He was a Cypriot. He came to Cyprus with his wife and they confessed and laid the foundations of a spiritual life. But he had many demonic energies within him. Satan fought against him hard, with many thoughts and with a hardness of heart. This is because meditation - or "devilization" as Elder Paisios jokingly called it - is based on human egoism, arrogance, selfish ambition. So he cultivated arrogance inside him for years. He was a teacher, he had his own school with hundreds of students where he taught them meditation, esoteric philosophy and more. So there was a battle in his reasoning, in his thoughts and he could not allow his heart to be crushed to repent. He came to the monastery, he confessed, but he was fighting. As I was confessing, I had next to me an icon of the Bridegroom Christ, this modern icon which is the Bridegroom Christ with the red cloak and the rod in his hand. I found the icon in the monastery, would light a candle before it, and people would confess.