Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Saint Athanasios the Athonite and the Demon Possessed Monk

A certain monk, a worker of bronze, named Matthew, was possessed by a very fierce demon. Nonetheless, Saint Athanasios welcomed Matthew at the Great Lavra, as though he were his own child. The holy man then commanded one of the brethren to take Matthew into his cell and to minister unto him diligently. The appointed brother received Matthew with joy; but, afterwards, he shrank away from him on account of the savagery of the demon. Thus, he returned Matthew to the elder. This happened with two other monks also.

Now the name of the third monk that received Matthew into his cell was Ambrose. He too cowered before the cruelty of the demon working in Matthew. When Ambrose went to Athanasios to disclose the matter, the holy man advised him: "If you will endure this hardship, that is, to minister unto the demonized one, I will give you security that you will inherit the Kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, take him in; and, if at any time you are fearful when that evil creature agitates him, inform me of it."

Whereupon, Ambrose received Matthew into his cell. When that sick man was troubled by the demon, Ambrose, taking Matthew, ran and reported it to the Saint, who said unto him: "Go, benighted one, and be quiet." This is what the Saint uttered whenever the unwell one abused another. Ambrose went his way and, at length, Matthew was restored and in his right mind.