Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Arrogant Hieromonk Who Thought He Could Command Demons Like Saint Parthenios

Saint Paisios the Athonite told the following beneficial story:

'A demon-possessed person was taken to a monastery, and the abbot there instructed the fathers to go to the chapel and pray for him with their prayer ropes. In that monastery, they also had as a holy relic the head of Saint Parthenios, Bishop of Lampsakos; this had the demon "cornered" quite a bit. At the same time, the abbot assigned the reading of exorcisms to a certain hieromonk. This monk was pious outwardly, but inside he was secretly arrogant. He was a fighter and a stickler in everything he did. He used to counsel the others, because he was also scholarly. He himself however would not receive help from anyone, because out of respect, they would hesitate to tell him whenever they saw him doing something incorrectly. He had created illusions inside himself that he was the most virtuous one in the monastery, so the evil one grabbed the opportunity that day to harm him. The demon implemented its wickedness and made him think that he was driving it out of the demon-possessed person.

So, as soon as he began to read the exorcisms, the demon began to cry out, "You're burning me! Why are you sending me away, you cruel one?" - which made him believe that the demon was being burnt by his exorcisms - when it was the praying by the other brethren that was pressuring the demon. So, he replied to the demon, "Come to me." These words had been uttered by Saint Parthenios to a demon, but he was a saint: Once, when a demon was crying out "I'm burning, I'm burning, where should I go?" the Saint replied "Come to me." But during that incident, the demon replied to the Saint: "Your name alone burns me, Parthenios!" and immediately departed from the possessed person. Well, that monk attempted to act like Saint Parthenios, but became possessed himself. From that moment on, the demon controlled him for years on end, and he couldn't find rest anywhere. He was constantly on the move - sometimes outside, in the world, and other times on the Holy Mountain. How that poor soul was tormented! That terrible state had caused weariness to his soul, as well as physical fatigue accompanied by tremors. And you know, even though he used to be a good priest, he could no longer minister. See what the devil can do?'