Tuesday, September 27, 2016

When St. John the Theologian Faced the Magician Kynops on the Island of Patmos

There was on the island of Patmos, where the Holy Apostle John was exiled to, a certain magician by the name of Kynops, who lived in the wilderness and for many years held converse with unclean spirits. On account of the predictions uttered by him, all the inhabitants of the island considered him a god. The priests of Apollo, who were enraged at John for having destroyed the temple of Apollo and because he had made all the people followers of Jesus Christ, went to Kynops and complained to him of Christ’s apostle, beseeching him to take revenge for the dishonor shown their gods. Kynops, however, did not wish to go to the city himself, since he had lived for many years in that place without leaving. But the citizens all the more often came to him with their request. Then he promised to send a wicked spirit to the house of Myron to seize the soul of John and deliver it to eternal judgment. In the morning he sent to John one of the princes of the evil spirits, commanding him to bring John’s soul to him. Arriving at the house of Myron, the demon stood in the place where John was. But John, perceiving the demon, said unto him: “In the name of Christ I command you not to leave this place until you tell me for what cause you have come here to me.”

Bound by John’s word, the demon was held fast and said to John: “The priests of Apollo came to Kynops and besought him to go to the city and bring down death upon you, but he did not wish to go, saying: ‘I have lived in this place for many years, not going forth. Why should I trouble myself now over a worthless, paltry man? Go your way, and in the morning I shall send my spirit, and he shall take his soul and bring it to me, and I shall give it over to eternal judgement.’” John said to the demon: “Has he sent you at any other time to seize a human soul and bring it to him?” The demon replied: “All the power of Satan is in him, and he has a covenant with our princes, and we with him — Kynops obeys us, and we him.” Then John said: “I, an apostle of Jesus Christ, do command you, evil spirit, neither enter into the dwellings of men, nor return to Kynops, but go forth from this island into torment.” Straightway the demon left the island. Kynops, seeing that the spirit did not return, sent another; but that demon suffered the same fate. And yet two more princes of the dark powers did he send: one he commanded to go in unto John, but the other to stand guard to bring him back word. The demon that went in unto John suffered the same as those that came earlier; but the demon that stood guard, seeing the misfortune of his fellow demon, fled back to Kynops and related to him what had happened. Kynops was filled with wrath and, taking with him all the great multitude of demons, went to the city. The whole city rejoiced, seeing Kynops, and, approaching him, all bowed down in homage. Finding John among the people, Kynops was greatly incensed and said to the crowd: “O you blind men that have wandered from the true path, hearken unto me! If John is righteous, and all that he says is true, let him converse with me and perform such wonders as I do; and you shall see which of us is greater: John or I. If he seems more powerful than I, then even I shall believe his words and deeds.”

Kynops said to a certain youth: “Young man, is your father alive?” He answered saying: “He is dead.” And Kynops said: “How did he die?” The youth replied: “He was a sailor, and when his ship capsized, he drowned in the sea.” Kynops said to John: “Now show your power, John, that we may believe your words: produce this boy’s father alive.” John answered: “Christ has not sent me to bring forth the dead from the sea, but to teach deluded people.” Kynops said to all the people: “Now will you believe me, that John is a liar who deceives you. Take him and hold him fast while I bring forth the boy’s father alive.”

They took John, and Kynops extended his hands and struck the water with them. When a splash was heard on the sea, all were frightened; and Kynops became invisible. All cried out: “You are great, O Kynops!” And all of a sudden Kynops came forth from the sea, holding, as it were, the boy’s father. All were astounded. Kynops said: “Is this your father?” “Yes, sir,” the youth replied. Then the people fell at Kynops’ feet and desired to kill John. But Kynops forbade them, saying: “When you see greater than this you may slay him.” Then, summoning another man, he said: “Did you not have a son?” And he answered: “Yes, sir, I had, but someone slew him out of envy.” Kynops cried out aloud, calling by name both the murderer and the slain, and both stood before him. Kynops said to John: “Are you not astounded, O John?” St. John replied: “No, I am not amazed by this.” Kynops said: “You shall see more, and then shall you marvel; and you shall not die until I frighten you with signs.” John answered Kynops, saying: “Your signs shall soon come to nothing.” Hearing such words, the people fell upon John and beat him until they thought him dead. When Kynops spake unto the people, saying: “Leave him without burial; let the birds rend him to pieces!”

Leaving that place, they rejoiced with Kynops. Soon, however, they heard that John was teaching in the place where they stoned criminals. Kynops summoned a demon with whose help he wrought sorcery, and coming to that place said to John: “I plan to do to you yet greater disgrace and shame, for which cause I have left you alive; come to the sandy shore of the sea. There you shall behold my glory and be put to shame.” Three demons accompanied him, those that the people considered men that Kynops had raised from the dead. Clapping his hands together with great might, Kynops plunged into the sea and was lost to sight. “You are great, O Kynops!” shouted the crowd, “and there is none greater than you!”

John commanded the demons who were standing there in human form, not to leave. He prayed to the Lord that Kynops not be alive, and it was so; for the sea suddenly was troubled and boiled with waves, and Kynops did not leave the sea but remained in the depths, like wretched Pharaoh of old. To the demons, whom the crowd considered men raised from the dead, John said: “In the name of Jesus Christ, Who was crucified and rose again on the third day, depart from this island.” And they straightway vanished.

The people sat on the sand, waiting for Kynops for three days and three nights; from hunger, thirst, and the burning sun many of them grew faint and lay in silence. Three of their children died. Taking pity on the people, John prayed for their salvation, and speaking much with them concerning the faith, he raised up their children and healed the sick. All of them with one soul turned to the Lord, were baptized and returned to their homes, glorifying Christ. John went back to the house of Myron and, going often to the people, taught them to believe in Jesus Christ.