Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Demoniac Who Journeyed to the Kiev Caves Lavra

Kiev Caves Patericon

Discourse 26

Laurence the Recluse
(Jan. 29)

Some time later another brother named Laurence wished to retire into solitude, but the holy fathers absolutely forbade him to do so. Laurence went to the Monastery of St. Demetrios, founded by Prince Izjaslav, and lived as a recluse there. Because of his austere life, the Lord granted him the gift of healing.

A certain man was brought to him from Kiev, who was possessed by a demon which the solitary was unable to cast out. It was a ferocious demon, like wood, which ten men could scarcely carry, and yet this monk single-handedly took hold of him and bound him. He remained there unhealed a long time, and the solitary ordered him to be taken to the Caves Monastery. Then the demoniac began to cry out, “To whom are you sending me? I dare not approach the cave because of the holy ones buried there. There are only thirty in the monastery whom I fear. I'll fight with the others.” Those who were dragging him along knew that he had never been in the Caves Monastery and knew no one there. They asked him, “Who are those whom you fear?” The demoniac gave the names of all of them. “These thirty,” he said, “will drive me out by a single word.” There were then 180 monks in all. They said to the demoniac, “We are going to shut you in the cave.” The demoniac said, "What is the use of me fighting with dead men? For they can now approach God more boldly on behalf of their monks and pray for those who come to them. But if you want to see me fight, take me to the monastery.” Then he began to speak in Hebrew and Latin and also in Greek, in short in languages which he had never heard, so that those tak­ing him were terrified by his change of languages and diversity of tongues.

Before he arrived at the monastery he recovered and began to think clearly. The superior and the brethren came to see him, but after his recovery he did not know a single one of the thirty people whom he had mentioned while possessed. Those who had brought him asked, “Who cured you?” He looked at the miracle-working icon of the Theotokos and said, “Thirty holy fathers (whom he mentioned by name) came with her to meet me, and I was healed.” He knew all their names, but not a single one of these elders personally. So together they all rendered glory to God, His most holy Mother, and His blessed servants.

I have written this down for you, my lord Akindin, in order not to conceal in darkness or hide from view the wonderful miracles, signs, and virtuous deeds of our blessed and venerable fathers, and in order that oth­ers may learn about the holy life of our brotherhood— how on one occa­sion there were as many as thirty monks with the power to cast out demons by a single word: demoniacs dared not approach the cave, because the holy fathers Anthony and Theodosius and the other holy monks whose names are written in the Book of Life were buried there. Blessed is he who has been considered worthy of being buried with them, and blessed and saved is he who has been considered worthy of having his name inscribed along with theirs. May the Lord in His mercy consider me also worthy of being with them in the Day of Judgment, thanks to your prayers. Amen.