Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Authority of Saint Tryphon Over Demons

Saint Tryphon was from Lampsakos in Phrygia, and lived during the reigns of emperors Gordian (238-244), Philip (‎244–249) and Decius (249-251). He was most poor in his young age, and was a keeper of geese to earn a living. Although he occupied himself with his humble occupation, at the same time he studied Holy Scripture, and with much zeal performed his religious duties.

Holy Scripture says: "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (Jam. 4:6). Indeed, the humble Tryphon with his pious curiosity slowly became capable not only of knowing much himself, but he also taught. He also received divine grace to heal the sick and the demon possessed. The daughter of Emperor Gordian had long been possessed by a furious demon, which defied being expelled by the pagan magicians. One day it shouted: "Only Tryphon has the power to drive me out!" Gordian sought throughout the Empire for this Tryphon, and he was eventually found to be a seventeen year old boy peacefully tending his flock of geese.

When Saint Tryphon was yet three days journey from Rome, the loathsome demon began to torment the girl, bewailing what awaited him, saying: "Woe is me! Tryphon will no longer permit me to dwell in this habitation; for he comes to cast me forth from here. Three days yet remain till Tryphon arrives. He has the authority to trample us underfoot." Upon uttering these words, he convulsed the maiden and departed from her, for he deemed it too unbearable to meet the holy Tryphon face to face.

When Tryphon finally arrived at the palace of Rome, Gordian said to him: "I beseech you to make manifest this demon before our eyes, so that you might question that creature as to why he entered into my daughter, and there are other things I would like to know." Tryphon agreed to help. He therefore kept a fast for six days and remained in ceaseless prayer. On the seventh day Tryphon beheld a marvelous vision, in which Christ empowered Tryphon with abundant authority and power over the demons, more so than before.

At dawn the inhabitants of Rome assembled in the theater, among whom were the emperor and his entourage. In the presence of all, Saint Tryphon then summoned the demon that he discerned with the eyes of his soul, saying: "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to appear here before all, that each one here may before your ugliness and your weakness." The demon then appeared before all as a hideous black dog, the head of which was bowed to the ground, not daring to look the Saint in the eyes.

The Saint then said: "Tell us, accursed one, why you entered into the maiden? How you dared to do so? In what manner were you able to achieve this? How did you come to dishonor the honored creation of God?" With difficulty the demon responded: "My father, who is called Satan, who is always the cause of all evil, dispatched me to torment her." The Saint then continued: "And you demons, authors and inventors of evil, what authority have you over the creatures of God?" The demon then, still in the appearance of a dog, though a liar, was compelled to tell the truth, and spoke the following:

"We do not have any power or authority to tyrannize the Christians; that is, those who believe in the almighty God and His Son, the Christ, Whom Peter and Paul, here in this splendid city, preached. Much rather, when we see Christians, we take ourselves far from them.We prefer to draw ear to those who love our deeds and works. Over such persons, we do have authority to torment them, that is, the idolaters, blasphemers, adulterers, murderers, and users of drugs, potions, poisons and spells. Indeed, we would lord it over those who are envious, jealous, proud, arrogant and scornful, and others like these. Such persons separate and alienate themselves from God with transgressions and lawless conduct of this kind. They come to us with the same disposition and inclination as we. Only such persons do we tempt, since they are doing what we like, that is, disdaining the divine commandments."

All those present heard these words and marveled, and filled the crowd with fear. Many among them came to believe in Christ, and those already believers became more steadfast. The demon had been forced to testify to the truth regarding demonic activities. The Saint then rebuked the demon, and that vile creature vanished. Astonished by this, the emperor honored Tryphon by showering him with gifts, and Tryphon returned to his homeland.